San Francisco Giants: The 10 Biggest Challenges to a World Series Repeat
Is there such thing as a World Series hangover? Do the Giants need to add talent in order to bolster their chances at a repeat? Is Pablo Sandoval the guy that might make all the difference?
These questions and many others will eventually define the season for the Giants in 2011, similar to almost every other team's quest for the trophy.
San Francisco will just have to wait until all the pieces fall into place before an accurate judgment can be made. Until then, lets look at some pitfalls that may be a deterrent in the Patriots-like repeat journey that is the upcoming 2011 baseball campaign.
With all the extra innings expected from the ace staff, one has to think of the ramifications. All the arms in SF are extremely young, and some more experienced than others. Lincecum at one point early in 2010 seemed as if he might be figured out, but down the stretch that was hardly the case.
As in the playoffs, the unexpected dominance portrayed by Bumgarner and Sanchez has to become a habit. I see no reason why that wouldn’t be the case.
With Willie Mays touring New York attempting to spread the word to the next generation about how fun of a squad the Giants are to watch, the pressure only builds from here until October.
The World Series Trophy has made a rock star-like road trip, travelling virtually everywhere in California, even my hometown of Santa Rosa. Fans have waited a long time for this, and on one hand it’s a relief. For other reasons, it’s more of a target.
The Giants will have to deal with this pressure, especially if this rumored reality show hits the tube. SF features very likeable players such as Brian Wilson, but if he lets up in the closer role, the Giants might have to rely on those strong arms to carry them through more complete games.
The Giants have arguably the best pitching staff in the league. That argument takes place in consideration of Cliff Lee rejoining the Phillies. If that offseason move hadn’t taken place, the Giants would be hands-down owners of the best rotation and bullpen in baseball.
With that said, it’s inferred that they will have a similar year to last season. For example, Matt Cain slips up, Bumgarner has to carry the weight. If it’s Lincecum who slips, more pressure will accumulate.
I don’t think that will happen, but it certainly adds to the expectations of making the playoffs.
World Series Hangover
The World Series has only been won in consecutive years twice since 1979. The Blue Jays won back-to-back titles in 1992 and ’93, and the Yanks took the trophy home in 1998 and ’99. For the Yanks, they actually won three in a row, a big reason why people think of the Yankees as always winning the World Series, when actually they’ve been dormant over the past decade.
These are just stats Giants fans, don’t worry. It’s just an ESPN-like take on how difficult repeating a championship is.
Let’s hope that 2011 marks the third repeat performance in 30 years.
Goes without being said. The Giants have a huge target on their back, and with the Rangers adding depth in Adrian Beltre and the Phillies doing work on their staff, it’s obvious that they expect to run into the pitching monster that is SF.
It has been said so many times over the past two seasons that it bears little explaining. Sandoval is a great talent, and that’s why so many fans are interested in his off-season preparations.
If he can come back to form, the Giants will be a force on offense.
Playing devil's advocate, if he doesn’t, the Giants will have a hole to fill, which could hamper their production numbers.
How amazing is this kid?
It’s almost as if he was destined to be the catalyst in SF. I don’t want to make this too much about individual players, but Buster is a huge reason why the Giants' pitching staff looks so comfortable.
His play behind the plate is like a field general, something not new to catchers. In this case, he is the young leader that many other players seem to want to follow.
If he starts to struggle, a chain reaction could take place. I really hope he keeps on doing his thing, but more so then others his effectiveness on offense and defense is of upmost importance.
With all the off-season hype, the Giants could have a feeling of entitlement in 2011. They are such a fun bunch to watch, but if it gets to be too much, it could become a distraction and take away from the task at hand.
Similar to the bull’s-eye idea, the NL West is budding with talent as well. The Dodgers shocked a lot of us last year by not living up to their potential, but this year could be different.
I don’t see much in San Diego getting better. Last year was the closest they will come for a couple of years. It’s no secret that they are in rebuilding mode.
The Rockies are the most intriguing of the bunch. With Tulo and Ubaldo headlining the crew of virtually unsung heroes, the Rockies are my early pick to win the NL West. No offense, it’s just my opinion.
With that being said, the NL West could be the foremost reason why the Giants have a hard time making it into the postseason.
I know this is taboo, and I apologize ahead of time, but injuries should always be considered when considering repeating a title run. It happens in every sport to the best of players, and can hamper a season full of dreams.
I don’t want to go to far into this, but it’s something that we have to watch for.
Can Brandon Belt come up and fill in if Huff goes down? Can Zack Wheeler make an appearance if a pitcher has arm issues?
Those are the types of issues that we have to keep in mind for 2011.