Take a good hard look at the following San Francisco Giants lineup cards, from Game 5 (the deciding game) of the 2010 World Series and from San Francisco’s most recent game on Sunday, Aug. 21.
The stark differences between these lineups are why I’m not concerned that the Giants have lost 13 of their last 20 games and are a game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the N.L. West.
In fact, even a trip back to the playoffs would be enough to make 2011 a successful season, considering the injures the Giants have suffered.
The Giants of 2011 are a completely different team from the Giants of 2010, and it’s time that San Francisco fans recognize this.
Last year’s mediocre hitters are downright putrid this season and accepting this will be a major breakthrough for tortured Giants fans.
Two of the club’s three best hitters, catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, sustained season-ending leg and shoulder injuries early in the year. Their best hitter in 2011, Pablo Sandoval, has spent time on the DL with a broken right wrist. Andres Torres supplied power and speed to the leadoff position last year, but is on the DL for the second time this season and is only hitting .228/.314/.343. Cody Ross (.235/.318) and Aubrey Huff (.248/.304), who both had very productive seasons in 2010, have been awful. Pat Burrell was put on the DL in July, Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria aren’t on the team anymore and Aaron Rowand is, well, he’s Aaron Rowand.
To recap, only two starters from last year’s World Series team started Sunday’s game: Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff, and they are having terrible seasons.
The new team (not including Ross and Huff):
Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart at catcher (very bad).
Jeff Keppinger at second base (solid).
Mike Fontenot, Miguel Tejada or Orlando Cabrera at shortstop (midget, old and in a retirement home).
Pablo Sandoval at third base (putting the team on his back).
Nate Schierholtz in right field (the definition of average).
Brandon Belt in left field (promising).
New corner outfielder Carlos Beltran was activated for tonight’s game against the San Diego Padres after a wrist injury had him on the DL, but isn’t in the starting lineup. Beltran’s health and how he performs could determine whether San Francisco plays in October.
It’s hard for Giants fans to face the possibility of missing the playoffs the year after winning the World Series, but frankly, the Giants got pretty lucky and the players are really banged up this season. It will take a lot just to overcome the Diamondbacks and get back to October baseball.
Just keep your fingers crossed that Tim Lincecum doesn’t get injured, too.
SFGiants.com: Brian Wilson put on DL
ESPN: Giants injury report
SFGiants.com: Giants’ schedule
ESPN: Wild Card Standings
Extra Baggs: Postgame Notes