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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Giants second-half skid getting worse

This series the Giants just finished up with the Pirates was one of the toughest I've seen all year. In all three games, the Giants coughed up comfortable leads and have now fallen 1.5 games back of LA in the West for the first time since early May.

Whats been especially rough is the way they're losing these games though. It seems like each day it's a particular area of the team that isn't pulling their weight. For example, Matt Moore, a guy the Giants paid heavily to get, wasn't able to give them a quality start on Monday and that, coupled with some bullpen deficiencies caused the Giants to lose a game they should have won. Then on Wednesday, Jeff Samardizja was solid, allowing 3 runs over 6 innings, but the Giants offense just couldn't quite figure out rookie Jameson Taillon and lost the game 4-3. Then, perhaps the toughest of all three losses came Wednesday, when the Giants staked Matt Cain a 4-run lead early and Matty looked like he was on his game through 4 innings, shutting down the Pirates. However, he not only coughed up the lead but allowed 6 runs in that brutal fifth, and the Giants only scored one the rest of the way, losing 6-5.

So yes, it was one of the more painful 3-game series I've seen them play all season and it's just now resonating with me that the Giants were vastly overachieving in the first half and that this team may not be a playoff team. They're not a good comeback team, and they have trouble scoring throughout the game. Most there damage usually comes in one or two innings. A big reason for that is there really isn't one guy in their lineup who's having a standout year (aside from Crawford and the RBI output) and after MadBum and Cueto, their rotation hasn't given any sort of consistency the last 6 weeks. Then of course there's the bullpen, which has been one of the worst in the league since the All-Star break as well. No lead seems to be safe right now and that's a scary thing.

None of the three trades they made at the deadline have paid off as of yet. Will Smith has been downright terrible, sporting a 12.26 ERA in his 7 games in the orange and black. Eduardo Nunez, who was a dynamic offensive player during an all-star first half in Minnesota hitting for average, power and stealing bases regularly, has come over to the NL and seemingly forgotten how to hit. He did finally connect  for his first home run as a Giant on Monday, but otherwise has been dreadful since the deal, hitting just .200 with that 1 HR and 3 RBI in 18 games. Granted, he spent his career in the AL, so an adjustment period was certainly expected, though it's carried on longer and has been worse then everyone was anticipating.

At this point, they have no choice but to ride it out and hope things turn back around for this final 6-week stretch run. We all knew the Giants were over-achieving in May and June, especially offensively, as they seemed to always find ways to scrap together enough runs to win but I didn't expect them to hit a wall like this (especially with everyone healthy). Pitching wise, they haven't been anywhere near as good as they were during that May/June run so it makes you wonder, which is the real 2016 San Francisco Giants? This team hasn't looked at all like a playoff-caliber squad for a considerable amount of time now and even if they got lucky and landed another reliable starter to take Cain's spot, or another bat or relief arm via waivers wouldn't make that much of a difference. In May/June they just kept figuring out ways to beat you like a good team does but now it's the complete opposite as they're finding different ways to lose ballgames. 

What they can do, and something I would like to see is them shake something up though. Whether it's dropping Cain from the rotation and giving a youngster like Tyler Beede or Ty Blach a shot or maybe doing something different with the top of the lineup, they have to make some attempt to get this team going. Usually Bochy's pretty good at knowing what strings to pull in this situation and I'm a bit surprised he hasn't made some switches by now. The only positive about losing their hold of first place over LA right now is that they'd have first priority on the waiver-wire and maybe they'll get lucky and find someone to come in and give them a shot in the arm like Cody Ross did in 2010, but they certainly cannot bank on that. They have to figure this out with what they have and while what they have may not be the best team in the league like they were heading into the All-Star break, they're better then what they've showed since.

Extra: As I'm sure you all know by now, the Giants brought back and old friend this week, signing Joe Nathan to a minor league deal. I think they did this more so with September in mind when rosters expand and they can use another veteran arm out in that bullpen, however, the 41 year-old did appear in a couple games with the Cubs earlier in the year and threw very well and may arrive sooner than that.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah i think the Giants had us all fooled with that great play they in the first half starting guys like rueben tejada and ramiro pena. Then all the sudden they get their starters all back and they become worse? Such an odd year. Hope i'm way wrong but i just don't see it with this team. They don't have that same magic those championship teams all had.

  • At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I really don't get how they have sucked soooooooo bad in the second half? I knew they weren't 25 games over .500 good like they were in first half but I thought they'd at least be a 90-win team and I don't know now. This has been one of the most odd crazy seasons in recent memory for SF. I seriously don't know how good this team is or what to expect each day.


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