Posted by beaston26 on November 1st, 2011
Winning the World Series in 2010 brought high hopes for the 2011 San Francisco Giants. The Giants returned almost everyone from their championship team and most thought they would be primed to return to the fall classic. A huge rash of injuries, including a season-ending ankle injury to budding star catcher Buster Posey in late May, were too much for the offensively-challenged Giants to overcome. Not even the mid-season acquisition of Carlos Beltran was enough as they became the first World Series Champion to miss the playoffs the following year since the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007. The pitching was fantastic for most of the season, but the offense was the exact opposite. Tim Lincecum finished with a record under .500 (13-14) despite almost dropping his ERA a full run from the year before (3.43 to 2.74). Journeyman Ryan Vogelsong filled in magnificently for the injured Barry Zito. Pitching in the majors for the first time in 5 years, Vogelsong went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA and made the NL All Star team. The pitching staff set the tone for San Francisco as they finished second in the ML in runs allowed. After struggling mightily with his weight last year, slugger Pablo Sandoval showed up this season in fabulous shape. He carried that over into the regular season where he had a very strong campaign and also made the All Star team. Despite Sandoval’s efforts, San Francisco finished dead last in runs scored in the NL.
There is a lot of uncertainty moving forward for the Giants. They have huge question marks to answer at first base, shortstop, second base, centerfield, and one of the corner outfield positions. Aubrey Huff was absolutely dreadful, but has alternated great years with awful years throughout his career and is a good candidate to bounce back (not to mention he’s in the final year of his contract at $10 million). He will be competing with some youngster who got valuable playing time this year in Brandon Belt and Brett Pill. The Giants hope Freddy Sanchez can return strongly from his shoulder injury that forced him out of action for the season in June. It is unknown where the players for the remaining positions will come from, but free agency is a strong possibility.
All in all it was a disappointing season by the bay, but with a little better luck on the injury front, the season could have been a lot different. With their extremely talented pitching staff, a little help offensively could go a long way and a return to the postseason is very possible.
Bright Spots: Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo, Nate Schierholtz
Disappointments: Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross, Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito, Brian Wilson