Learn about the Washington Naitonals opposition with yet another guest prognosticator Q&A! This time, it’s the San Francisco Giants and my friend David, another Northern Virginia native turned San Franciscan telling us about his adopted team.
WFY: The NL West hype was all Dodgers and Padres yet the Giants have been atop the division. How surprising is this development? It’s been a few years in the wilderness after the every other year World Series title run.
DS: I find this season very surprising and I welcome it. Admittedly, I intentionally pay no attention during the off-season and pre-season. The season is too long to care about off-season activities. And I like to ease into a team and get to know them.
WFY: Are the Giants winning with hitting, pitching, luck, etc.?
DS: The starting pitching has been outstanding and the most important feature. The bulllpen is the weak spot as is so often the case. The team’s offense however has been remarkable. Brandon Crawford is having a tremendous season and Buster Posey’s decision to not play last year paid dividends. He hasn’t hit this well for many seasons.
WFY: How are fans reacting to the Giants return to contention? Was there some complacency for lack of a better term following the end of the last run?
DS: Given the state of my life and the world, I don’t spend much time reading blogs or following the team outside of the games themselves. So, it is hard to tell. The exception to that is the other night there I saw the announcement that Duane Kuiper, the team’s play-by-play announcer–is undergoing chemotherapy. That terrible news sent me down a doom scroll on team news.
WFY: I can’t think of a team that has had such a good run of managers as the Giants. Three of the last four won a pennant and ther outlier, Felipe Alou, won the division. Heck, the last San Francisco manager to not make the postseason was fired over three decades ago. Given all of that, I was scratching my head about Gabe Kapler hiring after his unimpressive stint in Philly, but he seems to be doing well.
DS: My expectations for the team really dropped with the exit of Bochy. I didn’t like the hire of Gabe Kapler. I didn’t see any wisdom in hiring a coach from a middling team that notably underperformed expectations. That has made this season’s success all the more fun.
WFY: Have you been to a Giants game yet this season? If not, when would you feel comfortable returning?
DS: I haven’t. I’m not in a rush to either. That’s entirely about my feelings about public spaces rather than the team. That said, I appreciate the Giants’ caution. I saw that Wrigley was at 100% capacity today and maskless. That seems like a terrible idea to me. The Giants have vaccinated-only sections and limited capacity, which is the right approach in my opinion.
WFY: As a native Washingtonian who left about the same time baseball returned, how closely did you follow the Nationals World Series run? Were you cheering for them?
DS: I watched it closely. My family have become Nationals fans and they were engrossed by their run. My mother visited us during the playoffs, so we watched all the games today. I also had a friend since childhood who attended all the playoff games in person. Getting updates from him made the run infectious. Defeating the Dodgers in spectacular fashion was a treat too.
WFY: Any buzz for the Nats first trip since they won the World Series? Is there ever any buzz in the regular season for the Nats?
DS: As noted above, I’m not the one to answer this. But my ill-informed view is there isn’t any buzz around the Nats out here. In past there was interest manufactured around that nitwit Hunter Strickland–which he of course delivered on in 8th grade fashion. But that was a long time ago at this point and all the relevant players in that are gone. [Incidentally, I was really proud of Posey for standing on home plate and not lifting a finger to defend that imbecile Strickland.]
The interest level is always highest for the Dodgers and the A’s. National League West games mean more.
WFY: Names on the back of home uniforms – yay or nay?
DS: Evan Longoria injured himself on a bad play last week and that makes the team weaker. Longoria is a microcosm of how I’ve felt about the team. When they signed him it seemed like a classic Giants move to sign an over-the-hill expensive free agent and last year he did not impress as expected. This year however his productivity and power has been much better and those upticks in performance factor into this team scoring runs. The past few years there were so many nights when they were scoring between 0-2 runs a night–largely because no one was hitting home runs. This year they are putting up 4 or 6 runs: the kind of production that allows you to come back in late innings.
WFY: How do you see this series going?
DS: I see the Giants winning the series, but their bullpen will blow one game.