Prediction time for the 2011 Giants

Alright. First pitch for opening day is quickly approaching. So I guess it’s time for a prediction.

But first, a history lesson.

In 2008, the first year of the post-Barry Bonds era, MoreSplashHits was asked to predict a win-loss record for the Giants. We said 70-92. Others scoffed, saying the Giants would be lucky avoid a 100-loss season.

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The result: 72-90.

In 2009, the question was posed again. MoreSplashHits said 83-79. The reaction was: Really? A winning record?

The result: 88-74.

Last year, on this very blog, MoreSplashHits projected a 90-72 season.

The result: 92-70 .. and a World Series title.

OK, so I didn’t project that latter fact. But then, who did?

So what about 2011?

Some might look at the lineup and say the 2011 team is almost the same that ended 2010, with the exception of Brandon Belt at 1B  and Miguel Tejada at SS.

But really, you need to look at last year’s opening-day lineup.

Players who are the same: Aubrey Huff and Pablo Sandoval. That’s it.

Last year’s opening eight were: 1B Huff, 2B Juan Uribe, SS Edgar Renteria, 3B Sandoval, C Bengie Molina, LF Mark DeRosa, CF Aaron Rowand, RF John Bowker.

This season, Brandon Belt is new at first base. Freddy Sanchez did not debut until May because he was recovering from shoulder surgery. Tejada takes over at shortstop. Buster Posey didn’t get called up until late May. Pat Burrell didn’t join the Giants until June. Andres Torres didn’t become a regular until May. Cody Ross joined in August.

Some critics say that Huff’s numbers last year were an anomaly and that he’s due for a drop-off. But his numbers this spring say something different.

Sandoval looks primed for a big bounce-back season.

Players who were starters last year are back as reserves this year: DeRosa and Rowand.

And the rotation is stronger because the 2011 Giants have Madison Bumgarner in the mix instead of Todd Wellemeyer.

So, the 2011 Giants have the potential to be better from start to finish than the 2010 squad.

So what does that mean for wins and losses?

Well, MoreSplashHits mantra has been “Win series at home, play .500 ball on the road.” And if the Giants follow that model, they’ll finish 94-68. So that’s what we’ll go with.

PREDICTION: 94-68

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