There are some well documented studies that show that offense has no correlation to post-season success. For example, two teams make the playoffs: one team scored 697 runs during the season and the other scored 859. What do you expect the experts will say about these two teams? “Oh, team A (697) looks good and they come in on a hot streak, but they just can’t hang with the bats on team B (859).” Yada, yada, yada team B is favored to win. Well, team B was the 2010 Yankees and team A, the 2010 Giants.
Bottom line: offense is not predictive of success in the post-season. Therefore, it has been proposed that teams focus time, money, and resources to building strong pitching and defense in order to win. I have also shown how an improvement in pitching and run prevention leads to success in the post-season.
The question remains, though, how little offense to do you need to be successful. The 2011 Giants are really pushing the limits of this theory (which I buy as far as post-season predictiveness, but as I will show here, some level of offense competence is needed to get through the 162 game grind).
Here are the Giants run totals for the past three years: 2008 640 runs (759 allowed), 2009 657 (611 allowed), 2010 697 (583 allowed).
The 2011 Giants are on pace for: 555 runs scored, 574 allowed (that is almost 100 runs worse than 2008, which is widely considered the worst, most unwatchable offense in Giants history…it was also the first post-Bonds Giants offense).
Keep this in mind as well: the 2008 Giants went 72-90, 2009 88-74, 2010 92-70.
And here’s the most sobering of all: Since 1982 32 teams have scored less than 600 runs. Those 32 teams have won an average of 67 games. Only two of those (32) teams had winning records (the 1988 Padres and the 2003 Dodgers), and neither of them made the playoffs.
So, it seems safe to say that to make the playoffs a team needs to score at least 600 runs (something the Giants are not currently on pace to do). Yes, offense has no predictive value when it comes to who will prevail in the post-season, but it does matter in who gets there. I’m at a loss as to how the Giants can turn this around, but unless they get something, anything going soon it’s not happening this year.