By Chad King
I consider myself a die-hard Giants fan in every sense of the term, except perhaps I don’t spend quite as much time watching every game that I can due to necessary maintenance of my offspring and the fact that they usurp control of the remote control to my gorgeous HD television for such quality programming usually revolving around some mythical blue dog or dancing robot. Tangent aside, no matter how much I thought I knew about the “historical” lack of offense this year, I really had no idea how truly historical it, in fact, is.
Baseball-reference.com elucidated any uncertainties I had about this historical run drought. The Giants franchise has been around since 1883, 2011 being their 129th season. This year marks the second-lowest production in franchise history of runs per game at 3.38 per. Although 1902 was lower (2.87), may I remind you that this was during the height of the dead-ball era. The Giants hit 6 homeruns that year. You read that right, 6 homeruns by the team…in 140 games.
All I heard last year, especially during the playoffs, is how dreadful the Giants’ offense was. Although I concur, I think all Giants fans would take last year’s production over this year, which was a whopping 27% higher (4.3 runs per game), ranking a mediocre 43rd lowest in Giants franchise history. We had no idea how good we had it.
Unprecedented doesn’t even begin to coin the term for offensive futility. Other metrics go hand in hand with lack of run production, of course. The Giants are hitting .238 this year, third lowest in franchise, dangerously close to the .237 clip produced in the dreadful 100 loss season of 1985 that I care not to recall from my childhood.
Something I also learned in my research for this post. Baseball has had remarkably stable rules since 1900, and statistics are somewhat comparable to those of the modern era (a few skew aside, of course), and is coined the “modern era.” Did you know that the four-ball walk wasn’t even instituted until 1889? Clearly walks inflate .OBP, so when one throws out pre-1900 OBP, the 2011 Giants clip of .300 is fourth-lowest in franchise history.
With the Giants all but mathematically eliminated from the postseason, I wonder what Brian Sabean is thinking at this point? Is he lamenting the disabled list that reads like an obituary, populated with some of the better bats (Posey, F. Sanchez, Sandoval, etc.), chalking this year’s inadequacies to bad luck? Is he regretting the Zito albatross of a contract? Will he potentially gift wrap one of our premier pitchers for two or more above-average bats for 2012? Or, is he satisfied with last season, frustrated with what he couldn’t control in 2011, and ready to wipe the slate clean and start over with effectively the same team (sans Beltran) in 2012?
An interesting offseason it will be.