Do you remember when the San Francisco Giants held a huge division lead in June, then, after losing the cushion, see-sawed with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the standings? Yeah, and then the Giants slumped badly and started losing ground—and their chance of winning the division.
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Oh, you thought I was talking about this season? Actually, I was having a flashback to 2014, when the Giants at one point held a 10-game lead in the National League West and ended the season six games behind the Dodgers. The Giants, of course, reached the postseason as the second wild-card team and went on to win their third World Series in five years.
After finishing the regular season with nine losses in their last 15 games, they sure didn’t look like a team about to win eight of 10 National League playoff games. But they did, and then they beat Kansas City in a thrilling seven-game World Series. Despite their late-regular-season struggles, the Giants clicked at just the right time and all those torturous days of summer were forgotten. Or at least forgiven.
The point is that, regardless of how catastrophic the Giants’ second half of this season seems to be, no matter how ugly of a collapse this has been, there’s still reason to be optimistic.
Even it’s really hard to look at it that way right now: Despite squeezing out a 3-2 victory in Colorado Tuesday night, during which eight of the nine starting batters had a hit and Santiago Casilla nailed down the save, the team still has much to prove.
Because heading into Tuesday, the Giants offense had been batting .099 in its past five games—and that number was even worse when factoring out the pitchers’ hitting stats. Casilla had blown his NL-leading seventh save on Sunday. And Matt Moore, after a string of starts in which he appeared to be finding his groove, got pummeled by the Rockies on Monday—the day after the deflating loss to the Cubs.
Still, the Giants are within four games of the Dodgers and hold a half-game lead in the Wild Card race. They still have Bruce Bochy, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey leading the way, and, frankly, they have more all-around talent than they have in past World Series years. It just hasn’t been clicking lately. (As in, the past two months.)
That said, it could start clicking any day now. Maybe, just maybe, it already did on Tuesday.