I was just sitting around minding my own business, thinking about knocking off work a few hours early and laying out my clothes for the weekend, when forgot myself for a moment and glanced at the Twitter machine.
And that's when this one gobsmacked me hard:
#SFGiants have third best record in majors, and their 3-4-5 tonight are Pagan, H. Sanchez and Pill.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) June 8, 2012
Leaving aside (for a moment) those 3-4-5 hitters ... the San Francisco Giants sport the third-best record in the majors?
Yeah, they do.
Now, this isn't quite as impressive as it might seem. Entering Friday's action, the Giants were eight games over .500; four teams were seven games over .500. So it wouldn't take a great number of common incidents for the Giants to end the weekend with the seventh- or eighth-best record in the majors.
Still, it's impressive. Especially when you consider Pagan, H. Sanchez and Pill. Especially when you consider their closer's been out for most of the season. Especially when you consider their presumptive ace starting pitcher currently owns two victories and a 5.83 ERA.
So what in tarnation's going on here?
The Giants have been lucky this season. They're 14-10 in one-run games, with the run differential of a 30-28 team, and 30-28 would be the 15th-best record in the majors.
Fundamentally, the Giants are a perfectly middle-of-the-road team.
But middle-of-the-road should be considered a moral victory, considering how many things have gone wrong for the Giants. Obviously, a lot of things must have gone right. Most notably:
- Even without Brian Wilson, the bullpen's been fantastic, led by new closer Santiago Casilla;
- Ryan Vogelson's proving that last season, when he should have been named Comeback Player of the Year, wasn't a fluke; and most of all,
- Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco.
Here are those three outfielders, with career and 2012 lines:
Career: 275/331/398 - 93 OPS+
2012: 364/403/531 - 164 OPS+
Career: 279/331/418 - 101 OPS+
2012: 321/358/473 - 135 OPS+
Career: 258/358/324 - 85 OPS+
2012: 288/390/468 - 144 OPS+
The outfield's only weak link has been Nate Schierholtz, but he's lost nearly all of his playing time to Blanco, who has discovered the glories of power while maintaining his on-base skills.
To get Cabrera, the Giants gave up Jonathan Sanchez, who's been terrible this season.
To get Pagan, the Giants gave up Andres Torres, who's been terrible this season.
To get Blanco, the Giants gave Blanco $516,000; presumably the $516,000 will do well this season.
It's a funny thing. Last winter, Giants fans were upset with management for doing nothing to improve the club's hitting. But management did some things, nearly all of which worked well. Wildly well. Now, if only one of the first basemen would start hitting ...