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30 in 30

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants have won 3 of the last 9 World Series. This year they could get their 4th.

AT&T Park by Tatsuhiko Miyagawa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The San Francisco Giants

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

2018: Record: 73 – 89

2018 Finish: 4th in the NL West, 12th in the National League

Surprises in 2018

Derek Holland

If there was a list of things I was certain were going to happen in 2018 it was the demise of Derek Holland.

After not having a decent season since 2013, Holland’s three year-deal with the Giants seemed like another bad signing, but this one being made in plain sight. I mean spending $130 million over 6 years on a guy is one thing, but $7 million dollars for one year of Derek Holland? I didn’t trust it.

Guess what? I’m an idiot.

Derek Holland showed up in 2018 to the tune of a 7-9 record, a 3.57 ERA and a 1.290 WHIP. The Derek Holland that showed so much promise in 2013 and in the 2011 World Series was back.

The second half was good to Holland who dropped his ERA down 1.26 runs from the first half effort. Opposing hitters also saw their numbers drop against Holland from .251 in the first half of play, to .225 post All-Star Break.

Was Holland a revelation in San Francisco? No, but it’s nice to have a signing work out that well after the spell of bad luck the Giants have seen.

Dereck Rodriguez

When your father is a Hall of Fame catcher, it’s only obvious that you’ll be a great pitcher right? I mean, when you’re named after him, the pressure’s kinda already on you. Ivan Dereck Rodriguez had that kind of pressure, the one that comes with having a Hall of Fame Dad, all season long and showed us he’s got the stuff.

After a tough stint within the Twins Minor league system, Rodriguez signed with the Giants, making their Triple-A roster. While playing for the Sacramento Giants in the Pacific Coast League, Rodriguez posted a 4-1 record, a 3.40 ERA and a 1.192 WHIP before being called up to San Francisco.

The Giants team that Rodriguez joined was in disarray. Injuries had seriously hampered their start to the season and they were slipping. So it’s no surprise that D-Rod was put to work immediately, as his first start in the MLB came against the Philadelphia Phillies and Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.

6.1 innings of work, one earned run on five hits, with six strikeouts in his debut, out pitching Arrieta in his debut. Not a bad way to start your career.

In his 19 starts for the Giants, Rodriguez posted a 2.97 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP. For a team who has been burned by big signings in recent years, it’s nice to see a young player get his moment in the sun and capitalize. Look for more from D-Rod. I have a feeling he’s nowhere close to being done.

Disappointments in 2018

At some point, the tide has to turn for the Giants. After shelling out over $75 million dollars for a surefire starting rotation, you expect to get what you paid for.

That hasn’t been the case.

In 2018, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto made 19 starts combined while making over $40 million. That’s essentially $2 million for each start from Jeff and Johnny. That’s not good. Yes, injuries happen. But even when they were healthy, these two weren’t performing anywhere near their contractual value.

Jeff Samardzija hasn’t been right for a long time. We all know it. The guy just hasn’t been the pitcher we think he is. Since being traded from the Cubs in 2014, this awful version of Sharky has shown up. It’s like that time when you updated your iPhone and there was a U2 album on it. You see it and think “I didn’t put this here. I hate this. Bono sucks.” It’s like that, except it’s Jeff Samardzija and he’s on the Giants.

With two years and just under $40 million left on his contract, my boy Jeff is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. That’s a problem.

Cueto went 3-2 in his 9 starts in 2018, posting a 3.23 ERA and a 1.113 WHIP. All of that looks great, right? Sure, if Cueto played a full season, those are solid numbers. When you pitch only 50 innings, this starts to look like a small sample size.

The Giants need Cueto to return to form in 2019. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long three years until his contract is up.

Looking Ahead to 2019

As I said before, there is little else that can go as poorly for the Giants than the 2018 season. You lose Bumgarner, Melancon, Cueto, Crawford, Lou Seal tears his groin, a guy with an oversized glove falls into McCovey Cove, the Warriors are moving next door, the A’s are good again, etc.

So much is going wrong.

With all of that in mind, I once again think the Giants are going to surprise people in 2019. The skeleton crew they limped towards the finish line with was difficult to watch for sure. Now imagine the full Giants roster healthy and operational. It’s still a good team. They just need to stay healthy.

And they just singed Drew “Alex Cora Doesn’t Trust Me At All That’s Why Nathan Eovaldi’s Tossing Insane Innings of Relief” Pomeranz, so things are already looking up.

The Giants also have one of the best managers in the game calling the shots from the dugout. Bruce Bochy is underrated as a manager. I’ll say it again.

Bruce Bochy is underrated.

Bochy plays a style of ball that is gritty and smart, a perfect mix of small ball and hard ball. The other amazing thing about Bochy’s management style is his ability to find a player’s strength and exploit it. Lest we forget, this is the man who made Marco Scutaro the 2012 NLCS MVP. Bochy is the Belichick of Baseball. He has to to turn things around.

The 2018 Giants on paper were a solid team with postseason written all over them. The 2019 Giants are no different.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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