The surging San Francisco Giants boast the best record in baseball through 50 games, registering a 32-18 mark to put a stranglehold on first place in the ultra-competitive NL West. While the Giants have noticeably struggled at times, they continuously chalk tallies in the win column. The Giants have emerged as a legitimate contender to win their third championship in five seasons, largely because of the brilliance of manager Bruce Bochy.
The Giants are one of the best all-around teams in baseball. They’ve been forced to overcome several crucial injuries in early action, although key personnel losses haven’t derailed the Giants’ ability to win. Bochy deserves a lion’s share of the credit for San Francisco’s success. His trust in his everyday players, combined with his prowess to effectively employ his bullpen, makes him a worthy of Manager of the Year candidate.
Slugging first baseman Brandon Belt remains on the disabled list with a broken thumb and isn’t expected to resume baseball activity for weeks ahead. Former staff ace Matt Cain has battled inconsistency on the mound and has also been snake bit by injury. Cain missed two starts earlier in the season with a gash on the thumb of his throwing hand. He’s now expected to miss at least one more start with a strained right hamstring. Setup man Santiago Casilla has also been placed on the shelf with a more severe right hamstring strain.
The list of San Francisco’s blistering injuries doesn’t end with relative thumb and hamstring ailments. Second baseman Marco Scutaro remains unable to perform baseball activity due to a lower back problem that has hindered his mobility since Spring Training. 2012 MVP Buster Posey has fought through lower back irritation, effectively propelling Giants’ pitchers toward success despite struggling to some degree at the plate. Lead-off hitter Angel Pagan has also been forced to play through a tweaked shoulder joint but remains a vital component of the Giants’ ability to score runs.
At this juncture of the season, nagging injuries are commonplace. As the seasons officially change from spring to summer, concrete contenders separate themselves from the pack. No team has begun to separate itself from division hopefuls like the Giants, who own the best run differential in the National League (plus-42). The Giants have excelled despite glaring injury setbacks.
San Francisco’s pitching staff ranks third in baseball with a 3.05 ERA. Their offense has been equally impressive, ranking seventh in the league with a collective .411 slugging percentage. For whatever reason, Bochy always seems to make the right moves. His team is surging in spite of being shorthanded. It’s a defining characteristic for a team that has serious World Series aspirations.