Random historical facts that illustrate the challenge the Giants face in repeating their 2010 championship accomplishments:
In their San Francisco history, the Giants have never managed two first-place divisional finishes in a row and were at least seven games worse the next season after the six years in which they did finish in first place.
The Giants last won back-to-back World Series in 1921-22 and haven't won consecutive National League pennants since 1936-37. In both instances, there were only eight teams in the NL and no playoff rounds before the Series.
The only NL team to repeat as World Series champions since the formation of the League Championship Series in 1969 were the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. It hasn't happened in the 16 seasons since the addition of the League Division Series in 1995.
Only five teams have repeated as NL champions since extra rounds of playoffs began in '69 (1975-76 Reds, 1977-78 Dodgers, 1991-92 Braves, 1995-96 Braves, 2008-09 Phillies).
No team in baseball has won back-to-back World Series in the 21st century, not even the Yankees, who won three straight from 1998-2000.
Since the leagues were split into three divisions in 1994, no NL West winner has won consecutive pennants, let alone consecutive World Series. Only two NL West teams have even won the World Series once in the three-division format, the 2000 Arizona Diamondbacks and last year's Giants.
When the Giants did last repeat as NL champs in 1936-37, they lost to the Yankees in the World Series both years. They were a vastly different team in 1937, and might not have won two in a row if not for a 25-year-old left-handed rookie named Cliff Melton, who went 20-9 with a 2.61 ERA. Melton was a sub-.500 pitcher the rest of his career.
The 1921-22 Giants, the only repeat World Series winners in franchise history, were one of the most dominant teams in NL history and the only one to win four straight pennants (1921-24). Led by iconic manager John McGraw and Hall of Fame infielder Frankie Frisch, the Giants featured an everyday lineup in which all but one player hit over .320 in the repeat year of 1922.
The 2004 Giants came the closest to repeating as division champions, going 91-71 but finishing second by two games to the Dodgers. They also missed the playoffs altogether, finishing a game behind the Houston Astros in the wild card. A half-game out on Sept. 22, they went 5-5 over their final 10 games.
Only seven franchises in baseball history have become repeat World Series winners, and only the Yankees (10 times) and A's (four times) have done it more than once. The Cubs, Red Sox, Giants, Reds and Blue Jays are the other five.
The previous time the Giants won the World Series in 1954 (while still in New York), they struggled to finish over .500 the following season at 80-74, third place in the NL and 18 1/2 games behind pennant-winner Brooklyn. They lost five of their first six games, were seven games out by the end of April and never tasted first place at any point during the entire season.