In 2010, a team with Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell in the middle of the order won the World Series.
Now, in 2012, that same team has Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence in the middle of the order. Oh, and they've got some pretty good pitching too.
San Francisco managed to win the World Series in 2010 despite a lack of offense and experience. Edgar Renteria hit a three-run home run in Game 5 of the World Series to power the Giants to their first championship since moving to San Francisco.
And now, that same team is trying to do it again.
During the first half of the season, the Giants had lots of trouble on offense, especially bringing home runners in scoring position. However, after the All-Star break, San Francisco leads the league in batting average with runners in scoring position.
And, thanks to Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and others, the Giants are in the top half of the league in runs scored.
Ryan Vogelsong has been struggling, as his ERA has shot up by more than a run in just five starts (from 2.27 to 3.29). Madison Bumgarner's last two starts have been poor, and Tim Lincecum has a 5.21 ERA. Oh, and Barry Zito hasn't been too sharp lately.
However, the Giants still have a great pitching staff. Madison Bumgarner has kept his ERA around 3.00 for the whole season, and Matt Cain has a sub-3.00 ERA and a perfect game. Lincecum has an ERA around 3.00 and a winning record since the All-Star break, and Barry Zito has great stats for a No. 5 pitcher.
Which Giants Team is Better?
Zito may not be earning a $126 million contract, but he's been pitching well. Zito has a 10-8 record and a 4.51 ERA, and San Francisco is 16-11 when he pitches (although Zito has benefited from some run support).
Vogelsong got a good amount of luck early in the year, as he had great stats despite his inability to get a lot of swinging strikes. However, he is in a funk now, and he's allowing a lot of home runs and throwing a lot of pitches. Also, he hasn't been able to slam the door with runners on base.
Even though the Giants have received some poor outings from starters, they've still won 11 of their last 14 games. Timely hitting, unexpected contributions and good management from Bruce Bochy has aided the first-place Giants, who lead the Dodgers by 4.5 games in the NL West.
Marco Scutaro, who was acquired in a midseason trade with the Rockies, is hitting .288 and has been a great on-base guy and run-scorer. He had a walk-off hit Monday against the D-Backs and has had 24 RBI since joining the Giants.
Angel Pagan has also been great in the top of the order, and he and Scutaro have formed a formidable 1-2 punch. Pagan's batting average climbed above .290, and while it is back under .290 now, he's still been hitting very well.
Posey has hit about .400 since the All-Star break, driving in key runs left and right. He has been key to San Francisco's success, as his WAR (wins above replacement) is higher than 5. Posey has knocked in a lot of runs and made some nice plays on defense, as well.
Overall, the Giants have a great team. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain and others are better than they were in 2010. Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro were great pickups, and Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias have been great too. San Francisco has lots of offensive and pitching talent, and they've been using that to their advantage.
And, while the road to a championship will be harder than it was in 2010, this Giants team is better than the 2010 team.
What does that mean?
It means the Giants can most definitely win the World Series this year.