San Francisco Giants
The Nats begin their West Coast trip in San Francisco, where they have struggled over the past couple seasons. In the last two seasons, the Nats have gone 2-6 at AT&T Park. However, this hasn’t been a normal season for the Giants.
As strange as the Giants’ even-year magic is, their odd-year curse is just as strange. It’s as if they’re a completely different team in odd years. 2017 has been no different. The Giants have gotten off to a less than optimal start, winning just 17 of their first 42 games. They are projected to improve, but still won’t finish how they’d like. FanGraphs projects that they will finish 79-83, and gives them a 12.7% chance of making the postseason.
Buster Posey has been his usual self this year, batting .375 with seven homers in 31 games, but the rest of the offense has struggled.
They have also had a revolving door of left fielders, with Eduardo Nunez, Gorkys Hernandez, Jarrett Parker, Aaron Hill, Justin Ruggiano, and Chris Marrero all seeing time in left. Fortunately for San Francisco, the emergence of Christian Arroyo has allowed them to move Nunez to left field full-time.
The Giants’ season has also been derailed by injuries, most notably Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a sprained left shoulder in a dirt bike accident on an off-day in late April. The Giants have greatly missed their ace, as Matt Cain leads the starting rotation with a 4.04 ERA. Bumgarner had a 3.00 ERA in four starts prior to his injury. He has already missed almost a month, and may not return until August. His irresponsibility has been extremely costly to the Giants thus far.
Other notable injuries include Hunter Pence and Mark Melancon. Pence’s injury has not helped with their lack of outfield depth and has contributed to the revolving door of San Francisco outfielders. Melancon’s injury has also been costly. The Giants’ Achilles heel in 2016 was their bullpen, so they signed Melancon in the off-season. He had gotten off to a decent start this season, but his absence creates a hole in the back of the bullpen.
The Giants are once again suffering from an odd-year curse, and the Nats must take advantage of playing them at less than full strength.