Now the mystical every-other-year trend is behind us, the San Francisco Giants will try and earn their first odd-year playoff berth since 2003.
In what many believe to the a two-team race in the NL West, the Dodgers seem to have the upper-hand, but San Francisco was the best team in baseball in the first half last year, even better than the Cubs, before the bullpen—and their bats—let them down in the second half. With Mark Melancon added to stabilize the pen and better health, at least to start the year, for position players, the Giants could easily push for the division’s top spot.
2016 Record: 87-75
2016 Moneyline Record: -7.54 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 75-82-5
Current World Series Odds: +1276
Current Odds To Win NL: +642
Current Odds To Win NL West: +227
Regular Season Win Total: 88.5
The Giants were a tale of two teams last year. In the first half, it seems like everything was going right: Brandon Belt was breaking out, the rotation was gelling together well and the bullpen managed to close the door. Then, in the second half: Buster Posey’s power disappeared, the bullpen fell apart and confidence eroded.
To fix this team in the offseason, Bobby Evans first addressed the back end of the bullpen, bringing in Melancon. He’s a proven, veteran closer who will allow Bruce Bochy to end the rotating door in the ninth.
There are still some concerns about the rest of the bullpen, particularly with Will Smith dealing with elbow soreness and possible Tommy John surgery. He is a proven set up man and really the only clear cut option leading to Melancon. Sure, Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Ty Blach all have big arms and some abbreviated Major League success, but while the ninth inning is fixed, the seventh and eighth will be left to the same crop of players, minus Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla, with hopes that the young arms can take a collective step forward.
In the rotation, the Giants have one of the deepest rotations in the sport, one through four. It’s the fifth spot that’s a question. The team hopes that Matt Cain can nail down that spot and be a respectable back-end starter, but he’s been hit-or-miss this spring and is a few years removed from being even an effective back-end starter.
Still, whether its Cain, Blach or Albert Suarez who gets the most starts as the No. 5 man, the rotation will be a strength given Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore in the first four spots. All four had at least a dozen wins last year and they are all expected to deliver sub-4 ERAs with Bumgarner and Cueto the dueling aces with ERAs in the 2s.
Pitching wins championships, but you have to be able to hit and field the ball, too, and this team can do both.
They don’t have enormous power and nobody on the team even had 20 home runs last year, but Posey, Belt, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford all have enough pop to hit 20.
A healthy Denard Span should make a world of difference to this lineup, setting the table at the top. Pence makes this offense go when he’s in there, too. He only played 106 games last year and will be counted on for at least 140 in 2017.
Really, this team doesn’t have a positional hole on the team outside of left-field where they feel confident with some combination of Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson. Ultimately, we could see a midseason trade to improve that spot.
In 2016, the Giants offense scored the ninth most runs in the NL. That puts them a bit below average, but they were the third best offense in the first half and the third worst in the second half. The first half shows the potential and the second half shows the downside.
With a healthy Pence and healthy Span, this team could be a good offensive club. It’s never going to out homer you, but one through eight, the lineup has a professional hitter capable of putting the ball in play and getting on base.
April 2-6: at Diamondbacks
April 7-9: at Padres
April 10-12: vs. Diamondbacks
April 13-16: vs. Rockies
April 18-19: at Royals
April 21-23: at Rockies
April 24-27: vs. Dodgers
April 28-30: vs. Padres
The Giants’ offense will get to ease back into the regular season against a Diamondbacks team with the worst team ERA in the NL last year, but that is a bit deceptive given the Arizona rotation, headed by Zack Greinke, actually has some quality and depth—though the bullpen is still lacking.
The Giants have one of the easiest April schedules in baseball according to last year’s standings. They don’t play a team that was over-.500 in 2016 until taking on the Dodgers—at home—on April 24. Then, after that, they host the Padres again.
The Dodgers-Giants series should be a fun one and a preview of one of the better division races we will see down the stretch as the year progresses. Other than that, this is a schedule that should allow San Francisco to have a not start. They’ll just need to be able to sustain in this year. They’ve got a better closer at the back of the pen to help them do just that.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
|Major League Baseball Schedules By Month|
|MLB Betting Schedule||April||May||June||July||August||September||October|
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