Michael Conforto

Giants' Opening Day lineup continues incredible left field streak

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SAN DIEGO -- The Giants made a point of chasing more stability in the offseason, signing Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year deal, Jordan Hicks for four years, Jorge Soler for three and giving Matt Chapman the option of possibly being the third baseman for the next four seasons.

The search for a long-term solution in left field, however, is ongoing. 

With Michael Conforto getting the nod on Opening Day, the Giants are starting a different left fielder for the 18th consecutive season, an incredible streak that now is the second-longest in MLB history. Only the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles franchise has a longer streak, having started 19 different left fielders -- in two different cities and with two different franchise names, no less -- from 1937 to 1955. There must be something about left field, because the Giants are breaking a tie with the San Diego Padres, who went with 17 straight different left fielders from 2004 to 2021.

San Francisco's streak started with Barry Bonds in 2007. The next year, it was Dave Roberts, and on and on -- and on and on and on -- it has gone. Last year's Opening Day starter in left was Blake Sabol, who was making his MLB debut, but with Lee now in center and Mike Yastrzemski in right, the Giants moved Conforto -- who started in right field last year -- across to the other side. 

Here's the full lineup for the opener at Petco Park against right-hander Yu Darvish:

For years, despite the constant churn in left, the Giants have had stability at positions like catcher, first base and shortstop. With Brandon Crawford now in St. Louis and so many changes in the offseason, the longest Opening Day streaks now belong to starter Logan Webb and second baseman Thairo Estrada. Both are starting in those spots for a third consecutive opener.

There should be more stability overall next year, but the left field streak is likely to continue. Conforto is a free agent at the end of this season and there's a decent chance the job belongs to Luis Matos next spring. Perhaps then, finally, there will be a consistent starter in left.

For now, Conforto joins a list that's perfect for a nice game of Remembering Some Guys: Bonds, Roberts, Fred Lewis, Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres, Michael Morse, Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, Jarrett Parker, Hunter Pence, Connor Joe, Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater, Joc Pederson, Sabol, and now, Conforto.

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