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On the purgatory of .500-ish Giants …



Photo: Ed Szczepanski

If you listen to us in the morning — thank you, immediate family — you know we have a couple of running bits when the Giants are doing that frustrating “.500 Thing” they do.

When things are quite bad, we set a goal: .500 by Flag Day, and take it from there.

And, when frustrated by the inability to escape .500, we roll our eyes and refer to that never-ending “gravitational pull” of .500.

It’s all very mid, as I was just saying to my teenage kid. 

I write to you just after, mercifully, the Giants beat the Red Sox, 3-1, in the getaway day matinee to get back to two games under .500 for the season, 15-17 and right smack in the middle of barely treading water.

.500 by Flag Day? Sure! We’ll take it!

Escaping the gravitational pull? Still tethered!

So it is with relief (avoiding a sweep) and frustration (another 3-run output) that the Jock Blog comes to you, ever-ambivalent and ever-exasperated about Farhan’s Giants, 2.0 post-Gabe.

How to escape this “.500 Thing” once and for all? 

The last two seasons under Gabe Kapler, Farhan Zaidi’s clubs went 160-164. Add in the start under Bob Melvin, still with Farhan’s roster, the aggregate gets to 175-181.

To quote the great MAD magazine (and to fulfill my generationally-dated pop culture allusion quota): Blecch. 

In the unexpected adrenaline of the post-Blake Snell signing, I’d blurted out on the radio that the 2024 Bob Melvin Giants should aim to win 90 games. That would cure the .500 blues.

At 15-17 on their way to tough Philadelphia, after a 32-game start where the car engine just can’t turn over, 90 wins would require a 75-55 finish which — well, you know. 

Not saying it’s impossible, but also saying those who wanted 85 wins and a wild card have a more palatable 70-60 ask. 


Frustration, thy name is the 2024 Giants.

I was among the many who welcomed Bob Melvin — and his very familiar coaching staff including Matt Williams, Bryan Price, Ryan Christenson and Pat Burrell — and am still hopeful that the “Humm Baby” vibe will live on at Third and King. It’s a tad disappointing they haven’t dropped squeeze bunts every game and brawled with the St. Louis Cardinals yet, but there’s still time.

What real effect of the new regime have we seen? 

Consistent starting pitchers, for one. And consistent lineups, for two. Those are marked changes, and welcome. Will that bear fruit? Melvin and Farhan might tell you to judge over 162, not 32 — but they don’t have a weekly Jock Blog to write or a daily quota of four hours to fill. As Shawn Estes told us today, “you guys have to talk about them every day, and that doesn’t bode well on mornings like (Thursday, after two losses).”

Well, yeah. It’s either that or rolling with producer John Joe Kerley’s idea that we do a “Big Hit” on the Warriors bringing back a hologram of Michael Jordan to join the team in 2024. Your calls, next!

Is there a way out for the Giants? Can .500 at Flag Day turn into the miraculous “Over .500 by Arbor Day”? 

There is a way out. It revolves around starting pitching, and the Giants have plenty of it. Kyle Harrison grinded through five today at Fenway and that counts. The bullpen had its biorhythms working. And then Jordan Hicks gets the ball in Philly, and then Keaton Winn, and then Logan Webb and we remain hopeful on Blake Snell and Robbie Ray and all that. The starters are good and that’s how you win down at China Basin, or, for that matter, anywhere.

To finally break out the Jail Cell .500 will ultimately require gents like Jorge Soler (.683 OPS) and Matt Chapman (.652 OPS) to get their numbers back on their career averages, and we have to think that is doable. Chapman is 31. Soler is 32. These dudes have gas in the tank. I mean, they’re not the Old Man Warriors, right?

Ouch! Didn’t mean to fire strays at Jumpin’ Joe Lacob’s crew. 

Four at Philly is tough, and the Dodgers come to town a week from Monday. No one said it would be easy. Just know, frustrated Giants fan, that you are not alone. But life is short and painful, so let’s enjoy the romance of Yaz going deep at Fenway on the day Grandpa Carl came to visit, take faith in the starting arms and one day — one day! — we will escape this .500-ish purgatory together.