The San Francisco Giants just came off a three-city road trip, going 4-6 and looking terrible in five of those losses.
On the surface, 4-6 doesn’t look that bad facing the lethal offenses of the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Pittsburgh Pirates–in their home ballparks too.
But after sweeping the Braves in the first three games of the trip, 4-6 looks especially bad because they lost the next six in a row and looked overmatched doing it.
During that six-game losing streak, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies, the Giants had a team ERA of 9.00. San Francisco got outscored 49-15 and gave up 15 home runs in those six games.
No doubt it was a disastrous half-dozen of games for San Francisco. But miraculously, the road trip didn’t do too much damage.
Without Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Joe Panik, Mac Williamson, or Mark Melancon, the Giants are in survival mode. And survive they did.
The Giants started the road trip 5.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks 10 days ago and are coming back to San Francisco Monday night 4.5 games out. They actually gained one game in the standings.
The Giants picked the best time to struggle. The Diamondbacks are mired in a five-game losing streak, just getting swept by the Washington Nationals at Chase Field.
San Francisco Chronicle Giants beat writer Henry Schulman summed it up best:
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And some great news for the Giants.
Their face of the franchise, their identity, their true ace will probably be back on the mound for the big club in about two weeks, drastically moving up his timetable.
Schulman hints at the possibility of Bumgarner coming back when he’s eligible this month.
"Madison Bumgarner will throw off a mound Monday for the first time since his hand was broken by a line drive in Arizona on March 23, setting off what sounds like a fast-track conclusion to his rehab as he closes in on his May 25 eligible date to return.‘It could be close,’ manager Bruce Bochy said in an optimistic assessment."
Bring in Bumgarner to stabilize this rotation and they’ll be stopping those losing streaks before they can get to six games. It would be a big boost for the club.
So, at 20-21 and third place in the National League West, the Giants are just fine–for now. Last year through 39 games, they were 15-24 and going nowhere.
This year, their within reach for the division.
Get healthy, get on a run, and you never know what could happen.