An ecstatic 2010 was replaced by a mostly painful 2011 for the San Francisco Giants.
Let’s take a look at the 10 biggest stories of the year and then let you, the reader, vote for the most memorable.
No. 10: Giants’ lack of run support costs them the division
The Giants finished the season with a 43-2 record when they had three or more hits with runners in scoring position. The problem is, they had 114 games in which they had two or fewer hits with RISP. San Francisco’s .219 average with runners in scoring position ranked dead last in the Majors (by comparison, the St. Louis Cardinals led the Majors with a .290 average with RISP and the league average was .255).
No. 9: Wilson destroys cooler
After blowing the save in a game against the Detroit Tigers on July 1, Giants closer Brian Wilson goes ballistic on a Gatorade cooler in the dugout.
No. 8: Jonathan Sanchez is traded
San Francisco trades left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez and minor league pitcher Ryan Verdugo to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 27-year old outfielder Melky Cabrera.
No. 7: Freddy dislocates his shoulder
After a slow start to the 2011 season (.257/.307/.364/0.671 OPS through the team’s first 36 games), Freddy Sanchez finally found his groove in May. At the time Freddy went down, he had become the only reliable hitter in the Giants’ lineup, batting .333/.368/.444 (0.812 OPS) from May 14 to June 10, the day he suffered a dislocated shoulder that ended his season.
No. 6: Giants send five All-Stars to Phoenix
Not since 1966, when Tom Haller, Jim Hart, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry all went, have there been this many San Francisco Giants on an All-Star roster. Giants skipper Bruce Bochy manages the midsummer classic in Phoenix with a roster that includes Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Brian Wilson.
No. 5: Panda breaks his hand
Pablo Sandoval misses 41 games due to a broken hamate bone in his right hand in late April. If you were to take his offensive numbers and project 40 additional games onto them, you’d get a Kung Fu Panda that batted .315 with 31 HR and 94 RBI. Instead, the back of Sandoval’s 2011 baseball card will show just 23 HR and 70 RBI.
No. 4: Giants trade for Beltran
After weeks of speculation, the Giants finally acquire New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who is batting .289/.391/.513 (0.904 OPS) with 15 HR, 66 RBI and a league-leading 30 doubles. They give up top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler in return. The six-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time Silver Slugger winner waives his no-trade clause to play for the defending World Champions. Five months later, Beltran signs a 2-year, $26 million free agent contract with the Cardinals.
No. 3: Vogey’s renaissance
After going four full seasons without throwing a major-league pitch, Ryan Vogelsong finishes the 2011 season with a 2.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 139:61 K/BB ratio in 179.2 innings.
No. 2: Bryan Stow attacked at Dodger Stadium
Two thugs in Dodgers apparel beat and critically injure Giants fan Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day.
No. 1: Posey lost for the year
It only took one game after Scott Cousins blasted Giants star catcher Buster Posey at the plate to see what was on tap for the Posey-less Giants. Hours after learning that Posey would miss the entire season, the San Francisco manages just five hits in an uninspiring 1-0 loss to the Florida Marlins.
Other stories that didn’t make my year-end list:
Now it’s your turn. What do you think was the number one Giants story of the year?
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