2015 San Francisco Giants
2015 San Francisco Giants / Franchise: San Francisco Giants / BR Team Page
Managed by Bruce Bochy
The 2015 San Francisco Giants were coming off their third World Series championship in the last five years, but were not considered favorites to repeat. Their run to the World Championship had not been a display of overwhelming power, as the 2014 edition of the team had barely made the playoffs as the second wild card team in the National League, then run to the flag thanks to an otherworldly performance by P Madison Bumgarner and some "small ball" tactics that had them scraping just enough runs to get by. In fact, coming into the season, one journalist joked that the only way the Giants could repeat was if Bumgarner got to start all 162 games!
Indeed, the Giants got off to a very trying start in 2015, because while team members were being handed their championship rings and the championship pennant was being hoisted at AT&T Park, the Giants were losing ballgames. On April 19th, a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks made it 6 losses in 7 games in their opening homestand, and an overall record of 4-10 after two weeks, matching their worst start since moving to San Francisco in 1958. They were already 6 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, their main rivals for the NL West title. The made it out of last place in the AL West on May 2nd, werre back at .500 two days later, and by May 29th were in first place, half a game in front of L.A. having gone 21-7 since the beginning of the month. However, they stayed in first place for only one day, settling into second place for good. The Dodgers managed to build back their lead to reach 5 1/2 games on July 10th, but from the start of June to mid-August, they were mostly a couple of games out of first, keeping pace with the Dodgers. They were riding another great year from C Buster Posey, an unexpected solid season by rookie 3B Matt Duffy and the expected stellar performance from Bumgarner. A big surprise was rookie starting pitcher Chris Heston, who pitched a no-hitter against the New York Mets on June 9th, and was a consistent winner behind the Giants' ace.
The Giants got hit by the injury bug in August, with OFs Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan and 2B Joe Panik all on the disabled list simultaneously, and OF Nori Aoki missing a week of action because of a concussion. Things got so bad that manager Bruce Bochy had to use his ace pitcher, Bumgarner, as a pinch-hitter in key situations in back-to-back games against the St. Louis Cardinals, as he was out of available options. Bumgarner came through on August 18th, getting on base with a 7th-inning single and scoring the winning run, but he struck out in the 9th inning the next day in a Giants loss. On August 20th, the team addressed the issued by acquiring veteran OF Marlon Byrd in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, in return for AA reliever Stephen Johnson.
The Giants received a lot of offense from their pitchers in 2015. Madison Bumgarner led the way with 5 homers, but four other pitchers - Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Hudson, Mike Leake and Jake Peavy - also hit home runs, to make them the first team since the 2002 Los Angeles Dodgers to have five different pitcher go deep; the 9 total homers by pitchers were the most for the team since the 1934 Giants had 10 home runs hit by pitchers.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Buster Posey
- NL Gold Glove: Brandon Crawford (SS)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Madison Bumgarner (P), Brandon Crawford (SS) and Buster Posey (C)
- Michael McLaughlin: "Defending champion Giants on slow start: 'This is not the first time'", USA Today Sports, July 16, 2015. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Slumping Giants off to brutal start following World Series title", USA Today Sports, April 19, 2015. 
- Lyle Spencer: "Despite injuries, Giants are time-tested champs: Veterans' mental toughness, newcomers' energy a boon in season's final five weeks", mlb.com, August 27, 2015.