Heading into their weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals on May 13, the Giants were sitting in third in the National League West with a 19-12 record.
That sort of win-loss showing would put them atop the American League Central or in second place in the other divisions in the National League.
But the National League West is looking like the toughest division in baseball, as every team is over .500 so far. As the Giants look to keep pace with and hopefully eventually pass the Padres and challenge the Dodgers, we check in on some statistical trends that should be spotlighted.
San Francisco Giants: Diving Into The Database
With their 7-1 win over Colorado on Wednesday, the Giants won five of their seven games on their most recent homestand. They split their four-game set with the Cardinals and have won five consecutive games after losing five in a row.
Consistency will be needed if San Francisco wants to vault out of third place and have a realistic chance of being the top team to contend with the Dodgers in the division.
Beat Who You Are Supposed to Beat
Winning teams beat who they are supposed to beat. The Giants have done what they have needed to in that regard against Colorado. San Francisco won their 10th consecutive game against the Rockies on Wednesday.
In all of those 10 victories, they had 10 hits, a feat they had last accomplished from the 1933 to 1934 seasons against the Reds, according to Stats Perform.
Mike Yastrzemski appears to be rounding into form. In his first 10 games of the season, he had only five hits, with just one extra-base hit.
In his next 11 games, he had a slash line of .366/.400/.537. In his last 12 games, he has two home runs and five RBIs.
The Giants bullpen has been stellar over the last two seasons. As of May 12, four Giants relievers were in the top 10 in relief ERA in MLB (minimum 45 games pitched) since June 1 of 2021.
Dominic Leone and Jarlin Garcia had identical 1.72 ERAs. Jose Alvarez was at 1.77, and Tyler Rogers was at 2.45 during that span.
Keeping the Opponent HR Numbers Down
San Francisco continues to do a good job of keeping their opponents from driving the ball out of the park. Their 0.57 home runs per nine innings allowed through May 12 was the best rate in the Majors. Their 17 homers allowed were tied for the least surrendered in MLB. Preventing the long ball has been a key to victories.
The Giants have won 12 of 17 games in which they have not allowed a homer so far this season.
Alvarez has been a shining example of each of the two previously mentioned highlights. He has not allowed a home run in his last 56.2 innings pitched, dating back to June 1, 2021. That is the longest active streak in MLB. He stranded 33 of 41 baserunners inherited over the past two seasons.
Camilo Doval appears to be getting more comfortable as a closer. He has converted five of his first six save opportunities this season. He has been especially tough against right-handed batters, as they have just two hits in 28 at-bats against him.
The slider has been Doval’s best pitch, as he has registered 17 of his 18 strikeouts on the pitch. Doval has allowed one earned run in his last 11 appearances, and he has seven strikeouts in his three May appearances.
Joey Bart had an RBI single on Wednesday, and hopefully, that highlight will be the end of a significant cold streak for the young catcher. Coming into Wednesday’s game, Bart had three hits in his last 39 at-bats, with 22 strikeouts during that span. He had struck out 32 times in his first 69 plate appearances.
If he doesn’t start picking up the pace soon, he could start losing some more playing time to Curt Casali. But Casali is also a very respected clubhouse guy who will likely continue to help Bart overcome his offensive challenges. Both catchers have handled the pitching staff well, but Bart needs to improve soon or possibly see his at-bats reduced.
Brandon Crawford homered and had three RBIs on Wednesday, and hopefully, he has also started to turn it on after some recent struggles. Entering play on Wednesday, Crawford was hitting .185 with one home run over his past eight games. Last season, he hit .341 on fastballs, but he was hitting .216 vs. the pitch through May 12. His Hard-Hit rate was also down from 43.3 percent last year to 30.8 percent this season.
Crawford has started slowly overall this season, but it is still early, and he does have 13 RBIs. Giants fans know he has to be an important part of any postseason push. If Crawford and Bart can start hitting more up to expectations soon, the Giants can certainly have a better chance of staying near the top of the National League West.
Statistical Sources: San Francisco Giants Media Relations Featured Image: Los Angeles Times