Jun 8, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) follows through on a pitch against the New York Mets in the fifth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco Giants stagger home after sweep by Royals

With a methodical precision, the Kansas City Royals dispatched the San Francisco Giants, 7-4, Sunday afternoon, to complete the three-game sweep and send the Giants back to San Francisco with their fourth consecutive loss, returning from a 4-6 road-trip that began with a series victory in Philadelphia.

Danny Duffy started for the Royals and pitched into the seventh inning, giving up the four runs on only three hits, with three walks and four K’s.  Jason Frasor came into the game in the seventh, allowing two base hits, before retiring Buster Posey, representing the tying run at the plate.  Wade Davis pitched an uneventful eighth and Greg Holland closed out the ninth.

For the Giants Tim Lincecum started and went three-and-a-third innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, with three walks, two K’s and an amazing five stolen bases allowed.  Those stats overshadowed the job done by the bullpen, which allowed only one run by Juan Gutierrez, and then flaunted a parade of successful appearances by Javier Lopez, Yusmeiro Petit, Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo, who combined to allow only two hits the rest of the way.

The Royals scored four runs in the first, two on a double by Billy Butler and two on a two-run home run by Alex Gordon.  They scored three more in the fourth, two on a home run by Salvador Perez.  Altogether they had ten hits and drew five walks.  Lincecum seemed dazed and confused, allowing five base runners to advance via the stolen base.

Andrew Susac was the offensive force for the Giants, driving in three runs on a single and a double, in a lineup that featured four rookies batting in the numbers five though eight slots in the order.  Angel Pagan had two late singles and five other Giants contributed one single apiece.  They managed to get the tying run to the plate in the seventh and the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, which was fun for a minute or two, but ultimately, they could not pull the trigger.  

Adam Duvall (BB), Matt Duffy (HBP, 1B), Joe Panik (BB) and Andrew Susac (1B, 2B) combined to bat a respectable .250 for the game, but also managed a collective .500 on-base-percentage.  I see that as a good sign, just as I see Angel Pagan’s .384 (5-13) average since his return to the lineup.  I also liked the show of support the bullpen put out today.

I don’t think Brian Sabean is responsible for the team’s collapse; I don’t see Bruce Bochy as the culprit.  I see only the pitfalls of a long schedule and too many nagging injuries, and too many teams with winning records.  We just can’t beat the good teams.

We have an interesting remaining schedule with the best of the best still to play and some of the weakest still on the docket.  We do not have any more head-to-head contests with the two closet teams in contention for the wild card spots, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, so the Giants have only to worry about winning games.

Whether it’s a confidence issue, a personnel problem or a lack of talent, San Francisco has got to figure out a way to beat teams with winning records; otherwise, it won’t matter if they walk all over the weak teams to secure a spot in the playoffs.  They will just end up succumbing to the first team that opposes them with more wins than losses.  

As they are currently playing, this is not a team on the rise, so I see no point in wasting everyone’s time with a sideshow act in a one-game playoff.  Save it for some other team that needs a rush and figure out what needs to change for next season.  Before next season arrives.

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