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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

2010: The Year of the Giants

56 years. It has been 56 years since the San Francisco Giants were the World Champions of Major League Baseball. It has only been eight years since they last went to the World Series, when former manager Dusty Baker’s poor handling of the pitching staff ended the team’s chances of winning it all for the first time since 1954. The point is, it has been a long time since the Giants won the World Series. But if there is any year that they are going to do it, it is going to be 2010.

In 1954, Dwight Eisenhower was president, the novel “Lord of the Flies” was published (yes, that “Lord of the Flies” from sophomore year) and the Giants were actually good? Yes, the Giants were actually good. Those were the days of Hoyt Wilhelm, Monte Irvin and the legendary Willie Mays. Well, now the year is 2010, Barack Obama is president, Team USA won the Winter Olympics and the Giants are a legitimate threat to challenge for a title. These are the days of Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval and the amazing Tim Lincecum.

It has been so long since the Giants have done anything positive that the words Giants and winning sound awkward in the same sentence. But this year, that is going to change. With arguably the best pitching staff in the majors, led by two-time Cy Young Award winner Lincecum, the Giants are in prime position to win the N.L. West. Sure, their offense is only mediocre at best. But the additions of Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff will bring a veteran presence to their lineup that has been absent since, well, Barry Lamar Bonds.

This year the Giants will only need two or three runs per game at the most thanks to their tremendous pitching. Even for the Giants, two or three runs may be a stretch for a team that has ranked in the bottom five in runs scored for five years in a row, but I’m expecting a .315 avg/27 home run/90 RBI season from Pablo Sandoval, which could potentially account for 25 percent of the Giants slow offense. With the addition of other RBI men such as DeRosa (87 RBI in 08′) and Huff (108 RBI in 08′) to the team, there is actually reason to watch the Giants offense this season.

Many sports analysts may say that the N.L. West is up for grabs, but if the Giants’ offense can produce or at least support their stellar pitching, it’s theirs for the taking. The Dodgers and Rockies are the Giants’ main competition and, even though they both have strong offenses (especially the Dodgers), each of their respective pitching rotations is not strong enough to throw a lights out game every night. The Giants rotation is strong through the first four (Lincecum, Barry Zito, Cain, and Jonathan “No-Hit” Sanchez), but sorry [No. 5 starter] Todd Wellemeyer, your 0-3 record and 8.16 ERA hasn’t gained anyone’s respect yet. Even if Wellemeyer continues to fail on the mound, there are still a line of starters in Triple-A Fresno—Madison Bumgarner, Kevin Pucetas, Joe Martinez, and Henry Sosa—waiting to take his place.

Remember in 2008 when the Tampa Bay Rays, after losing every season since joining the league as an expansion team, went to the World Series and battled the Philadelphia Philles for the series title? Well, nobody believed in them before the 2008 season. This year, it’s the Giants’ turn to be the underdog and they have the team to accomplish that. In China, 2010 is the year of the tiger, the orange and black predator, and in the world of baseball, it’s the year of an orange and black team, the Giants.

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