Leading Off

Giants could be better than S.F.’s past World Series champs

Giants third baseman Matt Duffy, left, and first baseman Brandon Belt celebrate after the Giants beat Philadelphia in San Francisco, Friday, July 10, 2015.
Giants third baseman Matt Duffy, left, and first baseman Brandon Belt celebrate after the Giants beat Philadelphia in San Francisco, Friday, July 10, 2015. AP

After 98 games of the baseball season, it’s incredible to think that this 2015 Giants team could be better than the 2010, 2012 and 2014 teams that won the World Series.

Remember Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli from “Happy Days” looking into the mirror before combing his hair and finding no need? As the major-league trade deadline approaches, the Giants are much like “Fonzie,” finding little to no flaws in their lineup, starting rotation and bullpen.

If they do make a move before Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline, it’s likely to be minor. But why tinker with a machine running this well?

Their record of 54-44 is only one game off the mark of 55-43 by the Giants after 98 games in all three of their championship seasons. But none of the World Series teams were firing on all cylinders in late July as this team was entering Monday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Giants had won five in a row and 12 of their past 14. Their National League-leading .274 batting average is 30 points higher than in 2014 and at least 10 points higher than that of the 2010 and 2012 teams after 98 games. And they’ve scored 426 runs, second in the league behind Colorado.

Mostly, this team is just better, position by position.

The Giants have a N.L. Rookie of the Year candidate in third baseman Matt Duffy, one of four starters hitting better than .300 (Hunter Pence is at .299 in an injury-shortened season). And with a quick bat and trusty glove, Duffy has made fans forget that Pablo Sandoval ever played at AT&T Park.

Another rookie, Chris Heston, has been “a savior,” according to manager Bruce Bochy. The 27-year-old “kid” has 10 wins – one fewer than Madison Bumgarner – and a no-hitter.

Catcher Buster Posey leads the team in hitting (.328) , home runs (14, tied with Brandon Crawford), RBIs (67) and on-base percentage (.390) and could be headed for his second MVP award.

Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527, vcontreras@sacbeee.com, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

  • WHAT TO WATCH: Baseball, Giants vs. Milwaukee, 7:15 p.m., CSNBA: The Giants seem to struggle against pitchers coming off an injury. Wily Peralta makes his first start since May 22 after straining an abdominal muscle.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “I DO NOT believe (Alex Rodriguez) will catch @Barry Bonds. I DO think he will catch Babe Ruth.” – Stephen A. Smith, @FirstTake
  • ON THIS DATE: On July 28, 1994, the night MLB players set an Aug. 12 strike date, Kenny Rogers of the Rangers pitched a perfect game in a 4-0 victory over California.
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