Thank goodness for some sense of sanity in MLB today as the Los Angeles Dodgers did us all a favor by eliminating the San Francisco Giants from the 2021 postseason. Meanwhile, it’s time for the 2013 season analysis in The House That Steroids Built. Yes, this was a season where the Giants won just 76 games in defense of their laughably improbable 2012 title, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t trying to cheat: It just means they weren’t as successful as they had been in prior (and subsequent) years.

After all, the Boston Red Sox have been cheating for just as long as the Giants, and they’re not successful every year, either. That’s the fallacy defenders of the “faith” always use in San Francisco: “If they were cheating, how come they don’t win all the time?” Post hoc ergo propter hoc, folks. Look it up.

Exhibit A: Hunter Pence

A Giants fan favorite for reasons we cannot fathom, Pence came to San Francisco two thirds of the way through the 2012 season and actually got worse. Shocker, we know! He was average in Philadelphia for 101 games in 2012, posting a .784 OPS, and then in 59 games for the Giants to close out the season, his OPS dropped to .671 in the City by the Bay. In the 2012 postseason, he was even worse (.234 OBP, .290 SLG, .524 OPS)—yet that’s when his legend grew in S.F., after some inane media hype.

So, what happened in 2013, his first full season in The House That Steroids Built? Pence naturally rebounded at age 30 to have one of his best seasons to date (.822 OPS). He also hit a career-high 27 home runs in a ballpark that actually stunted hitters’ ability to hit it out of the ballpark. Even better? Pence stole a career-best 22 bases in 2013, after never being much of a real threat to steal bases consistently. He found something he liked in the water next to McCovey Cove, for sure, didn’t he?

Exhibit B: Javier López

One of the guys that make you go, “Who?”, when you look at the Giants’ World Series-winning rosters, López was a situational reliever for San Francisco on all three of their title teams. Interestingly enough, he also was a member of the Red Sox 2007 championship team, so you know he was used to being around PEDs. In 2013, though, he was 35 years old—and still managed to post a 1.83 ERA over 69 appearances during the regular season.

It’s guilt by association with this guy, considering he started with the Colorado Rockies (2003-2005) and posted a 5.61 ERA there over 142 appearances. Then, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2005), he was even worse during his age-27 season there (9.42 ERA over 29 appearances). After that, he joined the Red Sox in 2006, and over 172 appearances with Boston between 2006 and 2009, he posted a 3.30 ERA. Something in Fenway Park clearly agreed with him; perhaps Curt Schilling knows what that was.

López finished his career with San Francisco, pitching in 446 games from age 32 to 38 (2010-2016) to the tune of a 2.47 ERA. So, he was terrible in Colorado and Arizona, learned how to pitch suddenly with the cheating Red Sox, and then was at his best in the final years of his career with the Giants in The House That Steroids Built. See the pattern? This doesn’t take a law degree to figure out, people—not at all.

Exhibit C: Chad Gaudin

Here we go again with a nobody who suddenly donned a Giants uniform and became a good player. His career ERA ended up as the unsightly 4.44—yet his one season in The House That Steroids Built resulting in a career-best 3.06 ERA. Not only that, but it was the final MLB season of Gaudin’s undistinguished professional career, spanning 11 seasons and 9 teams. Maybe he just decided enough was enough, despite his strange success with the San Francisco Giants at age 30.

His three seasons prior to joining the S.F. organization, his prime years of age 27 through age 29, Gaudin posted a 5.65 ERA with the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees combined (2010); a 6.48 ERA with the Washington Nationals (2011); and a 4.54 ERA with the Miami Marlins (2012). Why would the Giants sign a guy like that? He was cheap and malleable to their malfeasant ways, clearly. How else could they coax 97 IP from the guy at a 3.06 ERA, after he was clearly washed up? Same ol’ Giants.

Conclusion: More of the same even if the team stunk as a whole

The Giants tried, obviously, with guys like Gaudin and Pence to keep their winning ways going, but it just didn’t work out for them in 2013. Both those guys were the definition of terrible in 2012, but they suddenly got a whole lot better in 2013 as the Giants tried to keep their devil magic going for another season.

With an 18-34 record in June and July 2013 combined, however, it’s obvious it was not going to work out for them. Either way, like pretty much any S.F. roster in any singular year from the late 1990s on to today, there are clear examples of players who turned in extraordinary performances that were, in no way, expected or predictable based on past track record.

Patterns emerge; only fools ignore them, and the rest is up to you to decide. The fools in S.F. stopped going to games in the second half of this season, since there were no miracles of 2010 and 2012 to be delivered this time around, and that just meant the Giants had to up their game for 2014, didn’t it?