Can the San Francisco Giants’ Odd Year Curse Be Defeated?


In full-swing of an end-of-August trip to Hell, the San Francisco Giants have started where they probably weren’t anticipating, 1-3.

Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team currently being chased in the wildcard, skunked Bruce Bochy‘s depleted lineup by a score of 4-0. Charlie Morton baffled the San Francisco lineup and hitters missed out on key opportunities to drive in precious runs.

We are in the year 2015, and most if not all of Giants’ fans and the Major League audience know, this is not how the Giants are destined. With three championships in five years, the boys in Orange and Black have not managed to make the playoffs in consecutive years — which is fascinating for a team who is suffering from World Series hangovers or some other supernatural explanation.

The goal of all 30 major league teams each season is to bring home that trophy, earned through hard work put in from Spring Training until the first to four wins in October. The last team to successfully win back-to-back championships is baseball’s empire, the New York Yankees.

Joe Torre managed both of those titles, and it has since then not been matched by any organization.

Looking at 2010, 2012, and last season, it makes you wonder if odd numbers are not in the Giants’ favor.

Lets look at the star players from the past few seasons for example:

Hunter Pence – #8

Madison Bumgarner – #40

Buster Posey – #28

Sergio Romo – #54

Joe Panik – #12

Something about those even numbers… Okay, jersey numbers don’t count. Just having a little fun. But for some reason, Bochy’s squad hates those odd years after winning a title. Do they simply just need a year to refocus?

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They are avoiding it like the plague, despite efforts to fight it: Carlos Beltran in 2011, recently acquired Marlon Byrd and Mike Leake. Disregard 2013, as it is was atrocious and everything went wrong that could have gone wrong that season.

After Thursday’s loss, the Giants still sit rather comfortably at 65-56, set aside from the poor run support as of late. Only 2.5 games back of the division rival, Los Angeles Dodgers, and 4 games back of those Cubbies, Giants are very much alive in this race with 41 games remaining on their regular season schedule.

August has been a gloomy month in terms of dry and hot weather, plus injuries to Nori Aoki, Panik, Leake, and Pence, but through the repulse, there is light in the tunnel.

2015 reminds me much like that of 2012… Yes a championship year.

Aug 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) is congratulated for hitting a 2 RBI home run by right fielder Hunter Pence (8) during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The past few weeks, Bumgarner has got to be wondering if he will get the help in the rotation he needs, as he has been dealing straight dimes while the rest of the staff is drowning in high pitch counts and the fifth inning.

August 17-20, the rotation rose to the surface as Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Matt Cain all fought hard and showed a pulse as they all reached for the dock — the sixth inning.

With Vogelsong highlighting, Cain and Peavy did not receive the same results. But what to get out of those three starts, they all fought and gave the bullpen a bit of a breather.

Being 1-3 against two of the league’s best and being shorthanded, how can fans look at 2012 and apply it to 2015?

Melky Cabrera‘s suspension is equivalent to Pence’s oblique strain.

In 2012, I personally attended the game when the news of Cabrera’s suspension was released, and around the ballpark and on the streets, the reactions were incredible as profanities were yelled. For a team who already looked destined to make the playoffs in an MVP-like tainted season for Cabrera, his selfishness brought back memories of a similar face who was linked to performance-enhancers, Barry Bonds.

In 2007, the Giants got their chance to forget the negative publicity of the BALCO investigation and dark era for Major League Baseball as Bonds retired from baseball. It only took five years for the PED dormancy to break.

Fans reactions went from being gleeful to signs of morose. Then at the non-waiver deadline, Brian Sabean and company lured in Marco Scutaro and Pence, which resulted in reaching the playoffs and winning the World Series. The two reignited the pre-suspension energy to jettison the Giants’ ball club into familiar territory from the 2010 campaign.

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Fast-forward to 2015, Pence’s oblique strain in St. Louis sealed the deal for a morose fan base once again.

With Panik on the shelf for an undetermined time and a deadline continually pushed back for Leake, it makes orange hearts crumble not seeing the energy and play in the lineup.

The disabled list has been an ever expanding home for the Giants as the list has included: Jean Machi (now a Boston Red Sox member), Jeremy Affeldt, Pence and Aoki (both on multiple occasions), Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Andrew Susac, Cain, Peavy, Angel Pagan, and Panik.

In one of Bochy’s most challenging seasons with a bad bill of health for his club, as shocking as it may seem, there may be an epiphany in the works. Players are regaining form and returning from injury.

Being nursed back to good health, Affeldt appears to show glimpses of his middle relief brilliance of recent years. Susac returned on Tuesday and Aoki returned from the seven-day disabled list on Thursday, for a lineup fighting for reserves. Pagan’s knee tendinitis should be cleared soon, as a return of him to the outfield rotation is imminent. Hudson and Lincecum news comes around the circle at a slow pace, but could be 40-man roster options to add depth to the bullpen.

After Leake threw in his anticipated first start, he has quickly turned into an anticipated returnee, as Bochy may be ready to activate him soon and slot into the rotation.

Panik and Pence’s recovery times will be held by crossed fingers, as they hope to be pivotal in the push to haul McCovey Cove and AT&T Park back into October, and not have to miss out.

In response to the Pence injury, the Giants needed a source of hitting in the lineup at a comfortable price and quickly, and they got that in Marlon Byrd on Thursday for a Double A prospect, Stephen Johnson. The 37-going-on-38-year-old has already posted 19 home runs this season, which ties Brandon Crawford for the team lead. While those totals were accrued in a Cincinnati Reds’ uniform, Byrd will fill in nicely for a cheap source of power in Pence’s absence. And we all know that “Byrd” is the word.

Bochy’s admiration for veterans gains a member in Byrd, to an already  abundance of voices in the clubhouse for the youngsters, most notably Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson.

The Giants have endured so much in this long, 162-game season, but for the wrong to happen, it couldn’t have come at a more imperfect time. The Giants adore imperfection.

With a road trip that includes your enemies, as they envision locking one of the two wild cards, or the lagging Dodgers flirting with holding the top of the division, year-after-year, we see this ball club feed off the negativity and do the unthinkable.

All three championships were not supposed to happen for the Giants in the eyes of the media, except they played a reverse role, being David as they took on the Giant, and coming up successful each and every time.

Age and injuries have taken a big bite of the 2015 Giants roster this season, and this August has become one of the most significant months in many years that this organization has witnessed.

Do the Giants have what it takes to defeat the odd-year curse?

All signs point to the curse not being lifted, but there is one last punch in this club that has yet to be activated. I would hate to be that team that guides them to the button.

Next: Bumgarner Pinch-Hitting Highlights Giants' Need for Depth