The 2010 San Francisco Giants won the World Series, but the 2011 Giants failed to make the playoffs. The major problem for the Giants was run production, ranking 29th out of 30 teams in total runs scored, even less than the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros.
They ranked in the bottom third of every major bating category, ranging from RBI to total bases to slugging percentage, but this does not mean they are a lackluster team.
Although the Giants have had trouble scoring runs, the production of the pitching staff has kept the team afloat. With aces Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, the Giants have been able to keep near the top of the division in the NL West.
This bubble may burst this season, but with acquisitions in Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, as well as the health of catcher Buster Posey, the Giants may have a shot to win the NL West and regain postseason status in 2012.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers have not finished better than third in the West since 2009, a season in which they won 95 games. Hopefully, they can return to glory in 2012, but they will have to overcome the Giants to win the West.
The following slides will detail why the Giants have a better shot at winning the West in 2012, but will by no means portray the Giants as a better franchise.
For the record, I'm not a huge fan of the Giants. In fact, this is the hardest article that I've ever written.
Both rotations have some questions, but the Giants have four former All-Stars and three potential aces with their Top Three. A rotation like that will last well in the postseason, but the Dodgers have too many questions involving their Top Three.
The Dodgers match up better for the regular season, having five guys that could potentially throw 200 innings. I'll have to give this one to the Giants, though, but if the injury bug strikes, the Giants could possibly be destroyed.
This isn't a fair fight. A potato could have managed a better team than Frank McCourt did. I am by no means saying that Brian Sabean is a poor general manger, but he isn't truly fighting against anyone.
From Sabean to Bruce Bochy (manager) to Dave Righetti (pitching coach), the Giants are clearly better than the Dodgers.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn't have the experience last season and made a few mistakes, but clearly is not the manager that Bochy is to the Giants.
Does Mattingly have a future under the new owner? Probably. Nothing is guaranteed for the Dodgers this season and may end up trading some players at the deadline, but they may have a future under some new ownership.
The Dodgers' situation will hopefully be resolved by the end of May, and when that happens, they will become a team that will be reckoned with. Until that moment, the Giants have the advantage in this department.
Kenley's devastating slider
Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen could both have great seasons in 2012, but they are inexperienced in comparison to Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt.
Both Wilson and Affeldt have won a World Series, with the former striking out Nelson Cruz to win the fifth game of the Series.
Simply put, the Dodgers bullpen is not proven, but does have upside. Jansen set a record last season with a 16.1 K/9 and has the opportunity to be a very good closer, but until he wins that job, he is only a good setup man.
The Giants have the proven closer that a postseason team needs, and therefore have the advantage in this department.
Simply put, the Giants have two corner infielders that are above average. On the other hand, the Dodgers don't have any. While Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are in the upper echelon of MLB players, the rest of the Dodgers squad is lackluster.
Neither team is in the top third for total offense, but the Giants have made some acquisitions this offseason that may prove to be very smart. Neither Melky Cabrera nor Angel Pagan should be All-Stars based on their past performances, but profile very well in AT&T Park.
Pagan is a speedy center fielder, while the "Melk Man" should handle left capably. Brandon Belt has upside on the Giants squad with a sweet, left-handed swing that could bring pop back into the Giants lineup.
The lovable, Barry Zito
According to ESPN, the Giants have a higher payroll than the Dodgers do for the 2012 season, but not by much (roughly $14 million).
The Dodgers look to sign a new television contract after the new owners are hired, so the Giants have the edge this season, but the Dodgers look to have the brighter future.
At least Manny Ramirez is almost off the payroll for the Dodgers.
Javier Lopez was crucial down the stretch for the Giants. He posted a 2.72 ERA with lefties batting .160 off him. To put that in perspective, Jonny Venters, the setup man for the Atlanta Braves, had lefties bat .122 off him.
If the Giants can have another year of Lopez, they have a better LOOGY (left-handed, one-out guy) than the Dodgers do in Scott Elbert. (Opposing left-handed hitters had a .191 BA against him.)
In fact, the Giants have five men that could throw in relief that are left-handed, whereas the Dodgers only have Elbert. If he goes down, the Dodgers bullpen could be messy this season.
Although Keith Law of ESPN ranked the Dodgers above the Giants in terms of minor league systems, the Giants could project to have better position players. Gary Brown and Joe Panik look to be regulars for the Giants in the near future, but the Dodgers only have two position players rated in their Top 10.
Alfredo Silverio and Joc Pederson could get regular playing time in a few seasons, but the Dodgers have a history of shopping their top level talent (Josh Bell and Carlos Santana). The Dodgers have a strong core of minor league pitchers, but only so many of them can make the starting rotation.
Believe it or not, the Giants have won the same amount of World Series that the Dodgers have. Both have won six World Series and 21 NL pennants.
This one goes to the Giants, only for the fact that they have the most recent win (2010).
The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since they won it in 1988.
According to Dante's "Inferno," I'm at the ninth layer of Hell by now.
But, unfortunately, the Giants do project to do better than the Dodgers this season.
They might have a poor offense, but their pitching, from starting rotation to bullpen, is one of the best in the league.
The Dodgers have many question marks and position battles for the upcoming season, and this is normally the downfall for most teams.
We will soon see how the Dodgers fair in 2012, but I personally hope that they overcome their ownership struggles and win the West.
Only time will tell.
This article is pure blasphemy.
Although this article seems to be completely biased towards the Giants, I just want it to be known that I am a diehard Dodger fan, and the Dodger Blue is running through my veins as I write this.
It was hard to write this article, but the Giants do project better than the Dodgers this season.
Once the Dodgers get new ownership, though, watch out Giants, there will be a new king in the NL West.
Maybe we could even steal Matt Cain away from those folks up North...