The Giants lost Thursday night to the Dodgers by a score of 9-6. Their bullpen blew a miraculous comeback. This seems par for the 2022 Giants.
This iteration of the San Francisco Giants are on a pace to win 84 games. That would put them at 84-82 for the 2022 season. Two games over .500 would be a pretty good season for many teams. However, it is not a good season for a team that won 107 games the year before. Where has the Giants' season gone wrong so far?
The 2021 Giants won 107 games. Their Pythagorean win/loss had them winning only 103 games. They had a little luck go their way. It's worth noting that the Dodgers 2021 Pythagorean win/loss had them winning 109 games, but I digress. The Giants aren't having that same 2021 luck. The 2021 Giants' best hitter (by OPS+) was Brandon Belt. Belt hit 29 home runs while putting together a slash line .274/.378/.597 to boot. Belt's 2022 slash line is .241/.341/.420 with 8 home runs in 53 games.
2021 Brandon Crawford drove in 90 runs with 24 home runs while slashing .298/.373/.522. Guess what? You guessed it. In 2022, Crawford has 5 home runs while slashing .215/.297/.322 so far.
Per bWAR, the two best players on the 2021 Giants were Crawford and Kevin Gausman. Crawford has run out of whatever secret sauce he used to grace him with a 2021 All-Star season. Gausman is gone. The 2022 Giants' best hitter has been Joc Pederson. The rest of the Giants lineup has hit okay, but the power has slipped a bit.
The 2022 Giants also don't have nearly as good a pitching staff as they did in 2021. Their 3.24 ERA was 2nd in the major last season behind the Dodgers. In 2022 Giants are 11th in the league with a 3.80 ERA. That alone is not entirely how you lose a division, but it explains a lot. Gausman's absence hurts the most, as he led the 2021 Giants starting staff as their best pitcher. They were able to pick up Carlos Rodon who has been brilliant, but the rest of their starters have struggled. They have multiple pitchers with an ERA above 4.
Tyler Rogers' ERA is up by almost two entire runs since last season, from 2.22 to 4.64. Jake McGee anchored the 2021 Giants bullpen with 31 saves and a 2.72 ERA, whereas in 2022 he was so bad that the Giants have already released him.
So many things that the Giants did well in 2021 that seemed impossible or quixotic have come back to earth in 2022. What else has changed?
Giants legend and fan favorite Buster Posey retired after the 2021 season. He had a restorative 2021 season, posting a 139 OPS+ with 18 home runs. He was their team leader, their fan hero, and a franchise icon. In his absence, the Giants have not hit as well and they've certainly not pitched as well. Joey Bart is...not Buster Posey. Neither is Curt Casali.
With the Giants in third place and 13.5 games back in the division, it is not out of the realm of realistic strategy for them to sell at the deadline and go after a big free agent in the offseason. That may be extreme, but the 2022 Giants season does do one thing I suppose.
It pads the idea that Posey is a hall of famer. The Giants miss him.