Buster Posey

What we won’t see from the Giants this month

Buster Posey Madison Bumgarner World Series

The seven-game losing streak was snapped last night, and Buster Posey’s month-long homerless streak ended today in the Giants’ 7-4 win at Coors to leave Denver with a series split against the lowly Rockies. However, the standings paint a not-so-pretty picture for the Giants.

The Dodgers won their third straight today, keeping them 7.5 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West. The Cubs won again, so they remain eight games up on the Giants in the Wild Card standings. With only 25 games left, the Giants would need a miracle or two to stay relevant throughout September, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ease up. We won’t see them quit.

The Giants’ chemistry propelled three different teams to championships that weren’t nearly as strong on paper as they turned out to be in October. There are so many things that go into that, ingredients the Giants themselves either couldn’t explain or wouldn’t dare announce publicly for fear of other teams stealing what makes them special.

At the team’s media day before this season, I wanted to learn about what this team has that others don’t. What’s their extra *something* that leads to the even year magic? I didn’t get all the answers, but Buster Posey and Brian Sabean said close to the same thing Madison Bumgarner, another core member of the franchise, explained to reporters after today’s game.

“I always go back to 2013 as a defining moment for our team,” said Buster Posey.

“Even for the 2014 season, because Boch and Sabes really made us focus down the stretch. Even though we knew we were out of the running in 2013, to try to win. Win as many games as you can and keep that focus. Don’t lose sight of that focus. That’s your job to go out and win baseball games. And I think that kept us in that right mindset and in turn, that is part of the chemistry is that winning feeling and atmosphere that you try to create.”

So, what causes some to question whether the Giants are a true dynasty (missing the postseason between World Series wins) is something that actually propelled them to their third title. In this scenario, chemistry is about being consistent. Don’t let bad results diminish your confidence, or change your daily outlook, or sour all that good that existed before the losses.

“You need to create a culture and atmosphere where people are coming to work prepared and ready to play the game every day. Now, that’s easier said than done,” said Brian Sabean, who was probably thinking about players like Posey as he continued. “But sometimes you need key individuals that people use by example or kind of carry the flag for you in that regard and push everybody else.”

Sabean then went on to compare the Giants to the team they mirror pretty closely, the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It’s much easier to be competitive as a team in a baseball game when guys can do the three things needed: hit, field their position and run the bases. And then if they’re competitive to a fault, individually and collectively, that kind of breeds (success),” said Sabean.

“If you follow (Tony) La Russa’s career, really the St. Louis organization, that’s basically what your charge is. It’s to try to be as competitive as you can, day in and day out. Now the artform in that is that you’re going to have guys banged up, you’re going to have guys on the DL, you’re going to forever have to reinvent yourself with the lineup or how and when you give people time off, or how you extend your starters or use your bullpen. And that’s where the manager comes in.”

So even though the Giants will almost certainly not make the postseason for the third consecutive time coming off a title, they don’t see the remaining slate of games as meaningless. And that’s rare. Not all teams continue to attack their craft with quite the same passion when the playoffs are no longer a possibility.

That doesn’t mean they don’t need reminding from time to time. It was clear after a tough Dodgers series that the team suffered a bit of a letdown after arriving in Denver. But it didn’t take long for them to snap out of it, possible due to the team meeting Bumgarner referenced.

While this season, with all of its injuries and long losing streaks, must be extremely frustrating for the players, coaches and executives, they have too much pride to coast to the finish line. Odd years haven’t been fun for the Giants in this decade, but the team’s mindset ensures that they won’t be wasted.

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