In defeating the Colorado Rockies on Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers reclaimed sole possession of first place in the National League West. Moreover, their win officially eliminated the rival San Francisco Giants from postseason contention.
One year removed from posting a franchise-worst 64-98 record, the Giants opted to double down on their aging core rather than initiate a rebuild. The club swung deals for both Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen over the offseason as an effort to revamp their struggling lineup.
Despite their activity on the trade front, preseason projections didn’t buy into the notion that the Giants had significantly improved their roster heading into 2018. They hovered around the .500 mark for much of April and May before catching fire in June.
The Giants posted an 18-10 record that month and found themselves within striking distance of first place in the NL West. Injuries would soon plague them, however, as rotation stalwart Johnny Cueto experienced elbow pain before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August.
Likewise, Giants cornerstone Buster Posey was lost to season-ending hip surgery in August. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija additionally struggled to stay on the field and logged just 44.2 innings before being placed on the 60-day disabled list in September.
Facing another lost season, the Giants traded McCutchen to the New York Yankees prior to the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline. San Francisco held on to their remaining assets, however, and spent the month of September evaluating some of their younger talent.
At 71-80 thus far, the Giants have only seen a marginal improvement at best this season. Not all was lost though, as top pitching prospect Dereck Rodriguez has impressed in his rookie campaign to the tune of a 2.30 ERA in 109.1 innings pitched (19 games, 17 starts).
The Giants could also play spoiler to the Dodgers’ quest of a sixth consecutive NL West title, as the two teams are set to face off at AT&T Park for the final regular season series from Sept. 28-30.