The Giants won their third World Series in five years in 2014 but entered this season with some serious questions as to whether they could do it again.
Who would replace Pablo Sandoval at third base? Who’s going to turn double plays with shortstop Brandon Crawford? Will former ace Tim Lincecum ever be the same? Will Matt Cain, for that matter? They even lost outfielder Hunter Pence at the start of the season.
The answers to some of these questions came in the form of third baseman Matt Duffy, second baseman Joe Panik, both of whom were unheralded prospects but have more than made up for the losses in the infield. Both players are in their first full seasons but Panik played enough last season that he’s not eligible for the Rookie of the Year award. However, Duffy has a solid case for the award after taking Casey McGehee job early in the season.
“He didn’t come into the big leagues as a high-ranked prospect like (Joc) Pederson and (Kris) Bryant or with big publicity like (Jung-ho) Kang,” Crawford said. “That’s a big reason why he hasn’t been getting as much attention. We’re starting to see a little bit now, but it’s because he’s had to put up great numbers. These other guys, they were being predicted to win Rookie of the Year before they put up any numbers at all.”
This week on Sling TV, there are two chances to see for yourself how San Francisco has answered the rest of the questions they faced in spring training. Entering this week’s games, they are 3.5 games out of the wild card and the upcoming schedule doesn’t do them any favors.
Monday, they face the Cardinals, who boast the best record in the majors, and Sunday they face the Pirates, who have the third best record in the majors.
MLB on SLING TV SCHEDULE
*All times eastern. Projected starters as of Monday. Some games subject to regional blackout.
Monday, August 17
San Francisco at St. Louis, 8pm (ESPN)
Chris Heston vs Michael Wacha
Wednesday, August 19
Detroit at Chicago Cubs, 8:05pm (ESPN)
Daniel Norris vs Jon Lester
Sunday, August 23
Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston, 2:10pm (TBS)
Zack Greinke vs Scott Feldman
San Francisco at Pittsburgh, 8pm (ESPN)
Mike Leake vs Francisco Liriano