The San Francisco Giants square off against the Oakland A’s today, in the first of a four-game set, the opening two in Oakland and the last two at AT&T Park. This series traditionally means more to the Oakland fans than it does for San Francisco fans, though this year, that’s probably not accurate, because the Giants don’t care who they are playing; they need to start winning games.
For Bruce Bochy’s crew to continue to flounder, would be to assert that the run of success earlier in the year was just a fluke. I am not willing to buy it. There was too much solidity throughout the lineup, and maybe that was part of the problem. With a bullpen that couldn’t fail, and the bats swinging with total abandon, the team was virtually unstoppable. Until it did. Stop, that is.
What happened then was a failure to be able to regain what had come so easily before. The more individual players tried to do to keep it going, the more they found themselves marking time, because that was not why the Giants were successful in the first place.
They did not have to individually step up and try to win games; they had each others’ backs so they did what their talents dictated. And it worked the way it was designed to work. In fact, it worked beyond our wildest imagination.
And that is the crux of the matter. Because they were so dominant for that 42-game stretch, going 31-11, we got spoiled, and we forgot that baseball teams don’t play for a whole season at that pace. On the other hand, they don’t play as abysmally as the Giants have in the past month either. They play somewhere in between.
Now it’s time to start playing for the series wins again, with Brandon Belt back in the lineup, and Tim Lincecum weaving magic once again. Overall, the Oakland A’s have won 50 and lost 46 against the Giants. The A’s have taken five series to the Giants’ three, and they have split eight.
The A’s have the best record in baseball, and they just acquired Jeff Samardzija. The Giants are 7-18 in their last 25, and have dropped ten games in the standings to the Dodgers. My experience with these two clubs has been, that the team that is struggling plays the team that has the better record, very aggressively, and frequently finds a way to get the job done.
With the cards seemingly favoring the A’s at this point in the season, and considering past history, it seems an appropriate time to predict that San Francisco will find a way to get it done, and will take three of the four games this week, beginning with Ryan Vogelsong tonight.
The Giants better start winning or face the prospect of seeing the A’s go to the post-season, while they watch on their living room television sets, a sorry proposition if ever there was one.