San Francisco Giants Offense Getting It Done Without Any Help from the Long Ball
Since 2009, the San Francisco Giants have enjoyed quite a little turnaround, featuring four consecutive seasons of solid records, exciting baseball, playoff races and a home atmosphere that rivals none. Their success in this four year span has been defined by top of the line run prevention that has ranked first in game over that time period.
Indeed, for most of that span, the biggest problem for the Giants has been an offense that has for the most part dwelled only in the cellar of the offensive leaderboards, down in the same territory usually occupied by teams without so much as a glimmer of hope for playoff contention.
Somehow, despite this offensive ineptitude, the Giants have consistently remained in contention over that entire period, yet their only playoff berth and truly "successful" season was in 2010. In the World Series-winning season, the usually pitiful Giants offense actually came together to put up pretty solid offensive numbers, especially when considering the cavernous dimensions, brutal wind conditions and thick, fog-filled air of San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Well here we are in 2012; like 2010, the usually scarce offense is actually playing pretty good ball, ranking in the middle of the pack offensively. Unsurprisingly, this has kept the team not only in contention, but squarely in first place in their division, holding a 4.5 game lead over the under-new-ownership Dodgers.
Still, what is surprising is the way they're scoring runs, as the strategy and method has changed greatly from 2010's success. In 2010, the Giants offense was built to capitalize on home runs, as their season total of 162 ranked sixth in the National League, despite their home ballpark.
The 2010 Giants offense was built for the three-run home run, with consistent power threats like Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and even the left infield combination of Pablo Sandoval and Edgar Renteria. Hell, even AndresTorres and Freddy Sanchez, the table setters at the top of the order, combined for over twenty jacks on the year.
The 2012 Giants, on the other hand, have only managed to hit half of 2010's total with less than a month remaining in the season, a total which ranks dead last in the game. Normal middle of the order power threats like Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Belt have combined for only 14 home runs for San Francisco this year.
Instead, 2012's success has been riding on playing to their home run-killing park; they have avoided hitting fly balls like the plague, coming in dead last in fly ball percentage. Instead, they have focused on just getting base hits and getting on base, as they rank third in the National League in both batting average and on-base percentage, behind only the offensive juggernauts of the Cardinals and Rockies.
Of course, it would be impossible to talk about the offense without mentioning the MVP-caliber season Buster Posey is putting up, as his 154 wRC+ ranks third in the NL. Still, the production has only started with Posey, as players up and down the lineup and even the bench have contributed and have made the Giants offense a legitimate threat any time they're up to bat.
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