In the National League West, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Yu Darvish are some of the All-Stars featured on the San Diego Padres, while stars such as Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Clayton Kershaw, and Cody Bellinger play for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, both Los Angeles and San Diego have played second and third fiddle in the division, being outplayed by the San Francisco Giants, led by C Buster Posey, SS Brandon Crawford, and SP Kevin Gausman.
So how do the Giants stay competitive against both the reigning World Series Champions and a team nicknamed “Slam Diego”?
Looking at the Giants’ roster, they seem to have a solid mixture of veterans and youth, with players like Crawford and Posey being longtime household names in the Bay Area, while others like outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Steven Duggar blooming at the right time. Pitchers such as veterans Johnny Cueto and Jake McGee are featured on the mound, while other breakout stars such as Gausman and submarine closing pitcher Tyler Rogers providing highlight-reel moments against opposing teams.
The depth of San Francisco’s farm system provides the NL West leaders with enough injury help, if necessary. Some injury scares have occurred throughout the first half of the season, with players such as Evan Longoria and various outfielders needing rehab in the lower levels of the system. The front office has set the team up for success by providing them with the necessary pieces to maintain their winning ways. With the moves GM Scott Harris has made involving younger players, it has built a solid safety net for the team in the present and a building block to add to in the future.
The Giants’ offense is much improved from years past, as their +102 point differential ranks second in the National League (Dodgers, +115). The last time San Francisco cracked anything over a +2 differential was in 2016, a year in which they earned a wild card spot. Not only did the team recently dispose of some rather stationery defensive players, but they also made sure their additions were beneficial to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Along with the improved offense, the pitching has seemed to be lights out for the Giants. The pitching staff has kept the opposition’s scoring under double digits in all but three games. Just as the starters have been consistent, the bullpen has been reliable in finishing off opponents so the team is always in a position to succeed. Whether the team relies on its starters or turns to the bullpen to pick up a bulk of the innings, it seems like the pitching side of San Francisco is very comfortable with picking up their end of the bargain.
Whether it is the consistent pitching or the deep offensive talent in San Francisco, the Bay Area baseball club seems to be a National League playoff contender both now and in the future. Although the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres are strong contenders in their own rights, San Francisco seems more complete than their California foes. Even if they don’t win a championship during this period, they will be a tough out come playoff time.
As for this year, the Dodgers and Padres don’t seem to be dying down anytime soon, so it is up to the Giants to keep their miraculous season rolling along following the All-Star Break.