You don’t need Bill James to tell you what’s wrong with the San Francisco Giants, because it seems self-explanatory. After an inexplicably scorching start to the season, the Orange and Black have slipped backwards in the standings, an unfortunate state of affairs if ever there was one. Injuries, inconsistency in both pitching and offense, and prolonged slumps at different times from key players have all contributed to the nosedive.
The question now isn’t what’s wrong with the Giants, but rather, what it’s going to take to get back in the mix. To me it makes far more sense to regroup beginning with what has already worked well, than it does to start getting alarmed and going off half-cocked.
With two full months remaining in the season, and the Giants being a traditionally productive, late-season team, let’s at least recognize that earlier in the year, the situations between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Giants were completely reversed, with the Dodgers’ starting pitching in array, and squabbling abounding among the outfielders and the Giants breaking records for success.
Now the Dodgers are healthy and the Giants are not quite there. In the ebb and flow of a 162-game schedule, the key is to never place too much emphasis on any one game, series, or specific performance.
…the key is to never place too much emphasis on one game, series, or specific performance.
I consider that micro-managing. I don’t care how dominating the Dodgers appeared in that recent series, and I don’t care how invincibleClayton Kershaw
was in tossing that two-hitter. Water under the bridge.
What I do care about is that San Francisco has a collection of excellent players, who are grappling with the foibles of a smooth machine having engine problems. They have the best mechanics in the business in Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti, and they have a lot of proven talent. Two of the missing troops have surfaced.
Jun 4, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (right) talks to pitching coach Dave Righetti (right) during the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Giants defeated the Reds 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Angel Pagan was reported to be taking live batting practice earlier this week, with a rehab assignment imminent, and Brandon Belt has been cleared to begin physical activity again. Additionally, Joe Panik’s ankle is better. He may not be what we envisioned before the season began, but Panik will do. Matt Cain will not be back this season, most likely, but Brian Sabean has already plugged that gap with the acquisition of Jake Peavy.
Bruce Bochy has realigned the bullpen and it is back on track and Giants fans can only assume that the starting pitching, each component having functioned at a high level for various periods of time this season, will compete down the stretch. If Sabean can land some bullpen support or a Chris Denorfia then I’ll be as pleased as the next guy, but if not, I’m good to go.
No National League team has won more than two games above what the Giants have won, so no teams have sealed away a wild card spot. Forget what has already occurred and remember this is only July. Fans who want a flurry of trades, can already be satisfied. Fans who simply want to see the best team that San Francisco can field, want to see the team we watched for the first two-plus months of the season.
That’s a team I could see going deep into the playoffs.
Nov 1, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Fans of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after their team defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1 in game five of the 2010 World Series at Rangers Ballpark. The Giants won the series four games to one. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE