Imagine, if you will, a month where only nine games are played at home. That they play the likes of the Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Pirates, as well as every NL West opponent. That you find yourself down one of your regular position players, that one of your consistent bullpen guys has to move out of the bullpen, and now you have to rely on your farm, which is not oozing with talent, to get you through the hard times. Ok, good. Now picture your offense plummeting in that same month. The Giants had that month, although 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey was the exemption to the rule. The Champs would go a depressing and frustrating 10-17 in June made up of stretches losing four of six, five of seven, and eight of nine.
Jun 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitching coachDave Righetti
(33) talks with starting pitcherTim Lincecum
(55) during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants would win two of the nine series they would play in June, as well as earn a split with the Blue Jays in the early part of the month. They begun the month one game back of the gritty Diamondbacks. After their embarrassing month of grossness, they are now a grand total of…three games back of the Diamondbacks whom are still in first place. The National League West is the laughing stock of the league right now as three of the five teams had losing records (listed in order of their current standing in the NLW):
- D-Backs: 12-15
- Rockies: 13-15 (after a 12-16 month in May)
- Padres: 15-13 (second month in a row they’ve done that)
- Giants: 10-17
- Dodgers: 15-13 (best month of the year for them)
Remarkably, the Giants still have a winning record against every team in the NL West, so I’ll attribute their still being in it to their April and May success against their four other rivals. In terms of looking ahead to July, here’s what you have:
- @ Reds (46-36) for four
- vs. Dodgers/Puigers (38-43)
- vs. Mets (33-45)
- @ Padres (40-42) for four
- All-Star Break
- vs. D-Backs (42-39)
- vs. Reds, then day off
- vs. Cubs (35-45), then day off
- @ Phillies (39-44) (3rd game of the series is in August, a.k.a. the game where the Giants use Cliff Lee against his former team because they acquired him on the 31st)
This means that the Giants only have ten games scheduled with teams with a record above .500, and have ten games with teams from the NL West. Just as it was last month when they were squaring off against the NL West and were playing teams like the Marlins, the Giants are given another chance to make up ground. Plus they’ll be getting Chad Gaudin back, Santiago Casilla should be back soon, and Ryan Vogelsong may even have the chance to come back late in the month. Gaudin and Casilla coming back should be a pretty big deal though, as they get their right-handed set up man back, and they will have a long man in the pen whether it’s Gaudin or Mike Kickham. Sandy Rosario had a pretty good June, and if can keep it up, look for the pressure to be turned up on George Kontos, and turn the chatter way down on a guy GM Brian Sabean has ruled out for now in Heath Hembree. I also believe one of the catchers that’s not a Posey will be sent down, because having three catchers on your twenty-five man roster for as many games as they have had this season is ridiculous.
There’s plenty to look forward to in July, especially if the offense can start making adjustments, Brandon Belt gets his playing time, and Buster Posey doesn’t need to carry the whole offense on his back. The Giants will likely get some more talent from the outside, although I picture it being in the form of a bench bat that can play the outfield and a starting pitcher (consider what the rotation will look like after this year with Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, and possibly Ryan Vogelsong being free agents), but I have made incorrect predictions before. I believe the bullpen problems will work themselves out (yes, even Jeremy Affeldt), so while the bullpen may be depleted at the moment, the return of Casilla and Gaudin will turn the attention back to the starters and the position players.
Twenty-five games in July. I have faith in the Giants to win at least thirteen of them. How do you think the Giants will do this month?