SF Giants: 5 Under-the-Radar Explanations for Giants' Fall (Updated)

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SF Giants:  5 Under-the-Radar Explanations for Giants' Fall (Updated)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Beltran's stay in San Francisco may be brief and unfruitful

With its youthful, brilliant pitching staff under contractual control, most analysts rubber-stamped the San Francisco Giants as a legitimate threat to defend their 2010 World Series title.

Some World Series winners implode; the 1997 and 2003 Florida Marlins rosters were gutted by management to conserve cash.

Other champions perennially contend; the Phillies are gunning this fall for a third WS appearance in four years.

Friday's loss in Phoenix eliminated the Giants last-gasp hopes of repeating as NL West champs. Their flickering wild-card hopes will die with one more Atlanta win or SF loss. 

A host of uncertainties—including the possible effects of organizational leadership turmoil on team operations—will linger into 2012. 

Beyond the obvious—devastating injuries, a chronic run shortage and gaping holes at several positions (leadoff, shortstop, center field)—several simmering issues plagued this team.

Here are five (one of which, the Beltran Factor, is updated). 

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