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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Giants look bad, but is there hope?

Last week, the Giants took two out of three from the LA Dodgers and looked like they were primed to start shaking off the rust that caused them to fall 9-10 games below .500 in the matter of a month. However, they hit the road, leaving California and head to the mid-west where they endured one of the toughest to watch 4-game series' I've seen in recent memory.

They looked solid in LA, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers and the starting pitching was on point. The bright spot, in my opinion, was Jeff Samardzija's brilliant outing, his best since he's dawned a Giants uniform here early on in year number two of his five-year deal (unfortunately he got rocked in his follow up outing). What was disturbing though about that Dodgers series is that the Dodgers outscored them 17-13 in the three game (despite the Giants winning two of three). The reason I mention that is because it carried over into what I think was the worst series so far on the young '17 season for the Giants in Cincinnati. After regaining some momentum heading into the series, the Giants were absolutely hammered by Cinci at Great American Ballpark. Matt Cain got raked in game one, Ty Blach essentially mirrored Cain's abysmal outing in game two, then Johnny Cueto gave the team a chance with a solid 7 inning, 2 ER, 10 K performance on getaway day but of course the Giants didn't even supply a single run of support for the magnificent outing by Cueto.

It's a tad disturbing when your team rolls into one of the most offensively live ballparks in all of baseball and gets outscored to the tune of 31-5 in a three game set. Now I know that Denard Span and Brandon Crawford, two of the teams most important bats, where still on the shelf for this series, but the lack of run scoring seems to be getting even worse. I mean, they got shut out by Scott Feldman, a 35 year-old righty who's, at best, a 5-starter at this point of his career.

Things didn't get much better in New York either as the Giants lost 2 of 3 in this set. However, they played a little bit better baseball and each of these games were actual ballgames whereas the contests in Cinci were just laughable really. They lost two games by a run and each of those games could have gone in the Giants favor with a lucky break here or there but New York got all the home field advantage and had the luck on their side as well.

So, now we find ourselves in a sort of "early season panic mode" as a Giants fans. As I type this the Giants and Reds are in extra innings in game two of their set at AT&T Park (^15th to be exact). Of course, the Giants could not complete their comeback at the end of game one, continuing their bad luck against the Reds in 2017, but they have a chance to comeback in tonight's ballgame, then take the next two to take the series . They're in the midst of perhaps one of the tougher part of their schedules right now dealing with the highly improved Reds, then hosting the Dodgers before heading to the mid-west to play the Cardinals and Cubbies then returning home to play the best team in the league, Washington Nationals. They do have a three-game set with Atlanta sprinkled in there somewhere but I think this is going to be the stretch that determines what the Giants' strategy in terms of mid-season trading.

This stretch of games will take them into June and that's about the time when you have a pretty good grip on your squad's weaknesses and needs, and most importantly, are there enough attainable upgrades out there that can legitimately help this team. If they go through that stretch and find themselves in the same situations they currently are in, over 10 games below .500, then it could be the first time since before 2010 that the Giants won't be looking for deals to upgrade in July. I'm still holding out hope that they won't let things get too far out of hand. The scary part about this team though and the thing that makes me worry about their chances to rebound from this abysmal stretch of play to start the year is the fact that they just can't seem to string together any wins. I'm not pulling up the schedule or researching this part, but I know it's been a minute since the Giants put together any sort of winning streak, even a measly little 2-game winning streak. The fact that they're struggling to do that makes me wonder how the heck they'll string together enough victories to make it back to .500. That's the good thing about baseball. It's a long season, the Giants will string together more than one win again at some point and we're hardly a 1/5th of the way through the season.

As far as Friday night's game, that just entered the 14th. I was hoping to hang around long enough to post a little about the finish to this one. The Reds have two runners on and nobody out and things aren't looking too great now so I'm gonna end it here. If they do pull it out in the next few innings I may check back for quick thoughts at the end of this post, otherwise we'll be back tomorrow with more Giants talk and maybe a look down at the minor leagues check on the intriguing players who are next up on the Giants call-up list should the seasons really get away from them or some injuries keep hurting this club to the point where they're going to need some in-house help. It doesn't look like they'll be making any deals anytime soon, and it's getting pretty boring repeatedly saying how the Giants aren't getting the big hit, aren't pitching consistently or even fielding consistently and their mishaps all seem to be biting them in the rear-end during this down period.

So, at this point, all Bochy, Evans and Giants fans across the universe have got to cross their fingers and hope the return of BCraw and Denard Span will give the offense a huge shot in the arm they need. Craw is steady and I don't think anyone is worrying about him (aside from him staying on the field). Span, however, is a wild card for the Giants. He hadn't done a whole lot so far this year battling injury, but showed up in a big way in his first game back, with a 4-hit night including a big fly. We've yet to see Span really healthy and 100% since he came over to the Giants but they're hoping he's getting there. I can certainly see the difference in the guys swing (he's getting his lower body into it, creating more power than he was showing) and the way the balls are coming off his bat. For a while there it was weak ground balls to second or first with the occasional pop-outs or strike outs. Span, as the leadoff hitter and with his track record, still obviously has the talent, the question with him remains his health, whether it's his hip (hampered him last season) or shoulder (slowed him in '17 so far), the Giants are a different team when he's out there and playing at close to 100%.

Because this team doesn't homer regularly so they have to manufacture runs, and that's Spans ballgame. I'm telling you, a 100% Span in the leadoff spot is a different animal, with extra-base pop, plenty of speed, great defense, .300 BA and his clutch abilities are needed. In his absence, the Giants have used anyone from Gorkys Hernandez, Joey Panik, Hunter Pence and Eduardo Nunez in the leadoff spot and none are even close to your prototypical leadoff guys. Panik is probably the best suited of that bunch but doesn't have the top of the order speed you really look for. The top of the order sets the tone for the game and the rest of the batting order, so if the Giants can get that on track it should do plenty in terms of helping them get some runs early and consistently.

Posey Walk-off Jack Friday night!
Just as I was about to hit post and call it a night, Buster Posey ends it off with a night-cap, walkoff home run to finally end the Giants horrendous losing streak vs. the Reds. The Giants had lost their previous 4 games to the Reds early on here, so Friday's win has to feel pretty good. Well, folks, that was a much needed victory, and Buster Posey, the teams cornerstone, made it happen with a huge walkoff in the bottom of the 17th inning to send Giants' fans home happy Friday night. I originally started this post anticipating being able to talk much more about today's game but it kept going on and I didn't think I'd be able to do so tonight. Anyhow, I won't write too much more, just that my oh my was it refreshing to finally see a victory and the offense come up with that elusive clutch hit.... And of course let's not forget Cueto and the bullpen. Cueto went 8 strong allowing 2 runs and struck out 6 then the bullpen didn't allow a run for nearly 10 innings and that's the was the most impressive part of this win, in my opinion. The pen certainly got it done in all aspects tonight!
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The Giants Baseball Blog
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4 Comments:

  • At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It would be nice to have writers who are literate enough to not write a phrase like "since he dawned a Giants uniform." When I see mistakes like this in print, it just causes me to despair for the educational standards of the culture. I'm hoping that the writer actually knows that it should be "since he donned a Giants uniform," but I feel I really can't assume that anymore. Do writers or editors even read these articles before they're published? Probably not.

     
  • At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Reds won this time, but There's always hope, even for Giants:) I'm so excited about the game, that insted of writing a research paper on nursing, I'm spending my time discussing Giant's failures.

     
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