Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

For San Francisco, Afterglow of 2012 Title Feels like a Burn

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

For San Francisco, Afterglow of 2012 Title Feels like a Burn

Article excerpt

The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants have been below .500 since June 25 and will be absent in baseball's postseason.

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, missed the playoffs in 2011, and won another title in 2012. The fans recognized the pattern immediately.

"They know the reality is you can't win a championship every year," Larry Baer, the Giants' chief executive, said last week. "The mantra here in San Francisco has been, 'We win the World Series every even year. We won it in '10 and '12, so we'll do it in '14.' At the beginning of the season, I hated that comment. Right now, I'll take it."

Baer spoke by phone Thursday, an hour or so before the Giants played their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and lost for the 81st time in 2013. That ensured that the Giants would not have a winning season, let alone another raucous October party by McCovey Cove.

This season, though, has been a lot worse than 2011, a relatively competitive interlude between World Series. That year, the Giants were 86-76, and their 3.20 earned run average ranked second in the National League. They could not overcome the loss of Buster Posey to a severe leg injury in May.

This season, the Giants have been below .500 since June 25. The pitching has fallen off considerably, with a 4.02 E.R.A. entering Saturday's games that ranked 12th in the league. Posey has been healthy, but injuries to three complementary players -- outfielder Angel Pagan, the starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and reliever Santiago Casilla -- helped knock the Giants from their perch.

"I've talked to Joe Torre and Tony La Russa about this," Baer said, "and it's a fine line between winning a championship and being 20 games out. You don't need to lose all your pieces, just a few pieces you're not able to replace."

The Giants team that will play the Mets and then the Yankees in New York this week resembles the one that swept the Detroit Tigers last October. The Giants returned 20 of the 22 players they used in the World Series, and the only exceptions -- Aubrey Huff and Ryan Theriot -- did not play at all this season. The Giants re-signed Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt, and that was pretty much it for their winter moves. …

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