The San Francisco Giants finished 2022 with a .500 record of 81 wins and 81 losses. Unfortunately, the Giants are in the same National League West as the 111-game-winning Los Angeles Dodgers and the explosive – and free-spending – San Diego Padres, so progress into the top two spots in the division will be a challenge.
The Giants start the season on the road, facing an old rival in the New York Yankees. After a pit stop in Chicago to face the White Sox, the Giants open their home slate at Oracle Park with the visit of the Kansas City Royals for a four-game series beginning on Friday, April 7. The Giants also have home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals before the end of April.
Here are three questions for the Giants ahead of the 2023 season.
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Three Key Questions
Can the pitching pin down the Dodgers and Padres?
Being in the NL West is a problem that the Giants can’t do anything about. The balanced schedule – that sees all MLB teams play fewer games in their own division and take on all 29 other franchises during the season – helps the Giants as much as any team in the league. Playing against those lineups in LA and San Diego too often can really wear a pitcher down mentally. The Giants have Logan Webb and Alex Cobb as top-of-the-rotation guys, while the pitching depth is more than adequate. Even so, they will have to pitch their way to series wins against the big dogs at some point. Losing Carlos Rodon is huge.
Is there a star to lean on?
Losing Carlos Correa really hurts (his free agency nonsense was some of the weirdest stuff in baseball history), as does not signing a true superstar like Aaron Judge. This lineup is perfectly competent everywhere you look but has no players or positions that particularly stand out. That is fine for the regular season and getting above .500, but pushing on a team requires an X-factor. The stability is nice, but the Giants must add something during the season if they push for a playoff spot.
Can they make the bullpen work less?
The Giants’ bullpen logged the fifth-most innings pitched in the league last season. They averaged over four innings of relief per game, which is really too high for a tea looking to be a contender. Using that many bullpen arms consistently reduces the number of options a manager has, potentially taking key relievers out in crucial situations as they have recently been used. The Giants need to find a way to get their starters to work longer in games, opening up bullpen options later in the year.
Upcoming Giants Home Games (Before the All-Star Break)
Fri, April 7 – Kansas City Royals
Sat, April 8 – Kansas City Royals
Sun, April 9 – Kansas City Royals
Mon, April 10 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Tue, April 11 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Wed, April 12 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Mon, April 24 – St. Louis Cardinals
Tue, April 25 – St. Louis Cardinals
Wed, April 26 – St. Louis Cardinals
Thu, April 27 – St. Louis Cardinals
Fri, May 5 – Milwaukee Brewers
Sat, May 6 – Milwaukee Brewers
Sun, May 7 – Milwaukee Brewers
Mon, May 8 – Washington Nationals
Tue, May 9 – Washington Nationals
Wed, May 10 – Washington Nationals
Mon, May 15 – Philadelphia Phillies
Tue, May 16 – Philadelphia Phillies
Wed, May 17 – Philadelphia Phillies
Mon, May 29 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Tue, May 30 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Wed, May 31 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Fri, June 2 – Baltimore Orioles
Sat, June 3 – Baltimore Orioles
Sun, June 4 – Baltimore Orioles
Mon, June 19 – San Diego Padres
Tue, June 20 – San Diego Padres
Wed, June 21 – San Diego Padres
Thu, June 22 – San Diego Padres
Fri, June 23 – Arizona Diamondbacks
Sat, June 24 – Arizona Diamondbacks
Sun, June 25 – Arizona Diamondbacks
Mon, July 3 – Seattle Mariners
Tue, July 4 – Seattle Mariners
Wed, July 5 – Seattle Mariners
Fri, July 7 – Colorado Rockies
Sat, July 8 – Colorado Rockies
Sun, July 9 – Colorado Rockies