Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why the Giants failed in 2011

The Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 at AT&T Park on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.

It was an amazing day for baseball on Wednesday as four simultaneous elimination games determined the final wild card participants in the playoffs.

At San Francisco’s AT&T Park, however, it was a bittersweet day as the Giants officially relinquished their status as defending World Champions. It was a disappointing finish for the hometown fans, as the visiting Colorado Rockies won, 6-3.

The game was in some senses a microcosm for the G-Mens’ year. They fell behind early, made a spirited charge, missed scoring chances, then ran out of gas.

The residual buzz of 2010’s World Championship brought a franchise-record 3,387,303 people through the turnstiles in 2011, but the Giants could never get on track this season.

The main culprit was undoubtedly the horrendous injury suffered in May by 2010 Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, which cost San Francisco an MVP candidate and a big bat. Other injuries to All Stars Freddie Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval, when coupled with a mid-season cold streak and a late-season Arizona hot streak, made the loss of Posey difficult to overcome. Essentially, the rest of the Giants couldn’t mount any offense.

As it turns out, the Giants needed less of this:

Pat Burrell striking out in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game.

And more of this:

Rookie Brett Pill doubles in the sixth inning Wednesday, during a three-run Giants rally.

Wednesday's game also likely marked the final appearances in a Giants uniform for 2010 standout Pat Burrell, who is likely to retire, and Mark DeRosa, the oft-injured utilityman who never got a chance to shine with the Giants (although he had two RBI during the game).

Next year the Giants will likely be back in contention. While it’s almost certain to lose free agent slugger Carlos Beltran, the team will feature a healed Posey, possibly a healed Sanchez, a Brandon Belt who’s a year older and wiser, and the returning core of its rich pitching rotation.

San Francisco will again fill AT&T Park to the brim, and young fans like the one below (my son), who never lost faith, will lead the charge.

Ian Baker is no bandwagon fan.

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