(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 19th of 30 major league baseball previews leading up to the opening game on Sunday, April 3. On deck: Houston Astros.)
If you believe in numerology, this is an even year so the San Francisco Giants should become world champions for the fourth time this decade.
The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 12 and 14, the last one coming against the current champion Kansas City Royals what became the Madison Bumgarner show.
And Mad Bum is back to lead the troops in 2016 and at 12-1 odds, who’s to say Frisco can’t do it again.
Westgate Las Vegas had the Giants penciled in for 89 wins in a tough NL West division that figures to come down to the LA Dodgers and fast closing Arizona Diamondbacks. It would appear the Giants are no worse than third with both San Diego and Colorado rebuilding.
The Panda is long gone, but Bruce Bochy has the nucleus of those champion teams intact. The offensive looks to Buster Posey and Hunter Pence as catalysts. Pence has five homers this spring including two Tuesday against Arizona.
The lineup is solid and I’m still waiting for first baseman Brandon Belt to have that signature season. Belt is reportedly planning to sign a long term contract soon.
Pitching starts with Bumgarner, always in the discussion for the Cy Young Award. The Giants did some shopping in the offseason and added Johnny Cueto from the Royals. Hey, if you can’t beat him, join him.
Also coming to the Bay Area is the much traveled and wooed Jeff Samardzija who could flourish without the pressure of being an ace.
Matt Cain, once the ace until plagued by injuries, is scheduled to make his second spring start today. Jake Peavy, a past Cy Young winner, threw Tuesday and fanned eight White Sox in his last outing.
And who knows what will happen with Tim Lincecum. The two-time Cy winner is currently a free agent after having hip surgery last September.
Where it goes right: That the amazing karma of even years this decade continues and the Giants stay relatively healthy.
Where it goes wrong: That they lose Posey and Pence for any significant time plus all that money spent for Cueto doesn’t pan out.
Projection: If nothing else, the Giants will be exciting to follow in 2016. They could win 90, but better to ask an astrologer in this case.