Three weeks ago, the world seemed to be ending for San Francisco Giants fans.
First, it was the dreaded “odd year slump” that was blamed for their ugly start. Second, arm chair critics turned their attention to the commemorative 2014 World Series patches worn by all players, which were deemed hideously unlucky. Others continued to pine wistfully for departed third-baseman Pablo Sandoval, who currently has more RBIs (12) than any Giants player other than Brandon Crawford (15). Many skeptics instantly deemed the season ruined after Hunter Pence went down with a broken arm in spring training.
However, things are looking up for the Giants now that they’ve shaken off the cobwebs that were exposed in the light of late spring. Their pitching rotation remains a shell of its former self, yet the embattled Tim Lincecum looks sharp alongside rookie Chris Heston, who has looked extremely promising outside of a couple rough outings. Neither of them are surefire bets at this point, but right now the Giants will take whatever good fortune comes their way. Madison Bumgarner has continued to deliver as the Giants’ team anchor and they depend on him to pitch a quality start each fifth day.
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The Giants offense remains problematic as a whole, but has shown signs of renewed competitiveness despite their light-hitting pool of talent. Though he struggled early, Joe Panik has stepped up his game batting near the top of Bruce Bochy’s order. If he can continue to remain productive and keep pace with Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, the Giants should develop some much-needed offensive consistency. Brandon Crawford has continued his surprising power trend, and the team will certainly benefit if he can finally hit over 10 home runs in a season.
Going forward, these last few games have indicated that the Giants aren’t doomed to slump in 2015. That being said, there are still major concerns about their offensive longevity. Though most Giants fans would rather forget about Pablo Sandoval, it’s clear that the team sorely misses his aggressiveness at the plate. Rumor has it that Brian Sabean is considering trade options at third, but the team has little to offer in terms of top prospects.
For now, the front office will surely celebrate that their team has managed to claw its way to a .500 record without Pence. Until “The Reverend” returns, fans will have to pray that the team capitalizes on this blessing of fresh momentum.