Giants have time to bounce back — but will they?
Let’s face it Giants Nation: The boys in Orange & Black aren’t looking too hot right now.
Following a sweep at the hands of the — suppress your gag reflex — Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco is now two games under .500 for the first time since May of 2012, and they still have seven games left on this most recent “difficult road trip.”
Now that we have that out of the way: Let’s keep from crying over the losing record and realize that the season is far from over, because there is plenty of time for the defending champs to get back on track.
We haven’t even reached the All-Star break, and there is absolutely no reason to go bury into a hole and give up all hope. (Or even worse, be a bandwagoner and start rooting for a team that’s playing better.)
Sound a little too “silver lining”-esque for you?
Here are a couple reasons why the Giants aren’t done for the 2013 season:
The Team Still Isn’t At Full Capacity: Pablo Sandoval is back in the lineup after his most recent trip to the DL with a foot strain, but this team still doesn’t have a clean bill of health.
Angel Pagan just underwent surgery and could be out of the lineup for months. Ryan Vogelsong is still on sabbatical. The bullpen, which is already tired and in need of the mid-summer break, has been depleted since Bruce Bochy’s go-to reliever Santiago Casilla was taken out of the pen to undergo knee surgery.
Tuesday night, your starting pitcher was Mike Kickham, and Jake Dunning came in relief. That isn’t a formula you would have seen during last season’s post-season run. And once the Giants get their pitchers healthy — or healthier at the very least — then the sixth and seventh inning rallies by opposing teams should settle down.
While we’re on the subject of pitching…
The Starting Rotation Is Doing Better: Not that anyone is giving the starters credit, since the ball club is still losing. But the Giants rotation is, in fact, coming around and performing better.
Matt Cain has turned his luck around, notching a quality start going six innings and only allowing three earned runs on Sunday versus the Miami Marlins, despite not getting the win at the hands of a tired bullpen and a lack of offense.
Madison Bumgarner has remained consistent throughout the early season; take away taking the loss on Monday down in LA, Bum had seven wins in his previous three starts and has gone seven innings in his last three appearances.
Heck, even Tim Lincecum has looked more dominant on the bump. Not to make light of his meltdown in the sixth inning Wednesday night which led to a loss, but in the previous five innings he only allowed one run, struck out four Dodgers and only walked one. He even had Yasiel Puig chasing pitches, which shows he has found a bit of pitch control, at least for a couple innings at the time.
Does this mean that there isn’t still room for improvement for the starters? Of course not.
But a stronger bullpen and a little more run support wouldn’t hurt either.
The Bats Are Heating Up: Bruce Bochy said after Hunter Pence broke the G-men’s 90-inning streak without a home run last Sunday that his ball club really “isn’t a long ball hitting team.”
Think about it: The Giants haven’t really been considered a home run hitting squad since their three-four-five hitters were Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and J.T. Snow.
In addition to Pence going yard last Sunday, All-Star candidate Buster Posey has made an offensive jump with four hits, three RBIs and two homers in his last three starts.
Marco Scutaro — sans finger splint I might add — has hit comfortably in his last ten games except for a goose egg Monday night, with 11 hits and three RBIs.
Don’t forget about Gregor Blanco, who has impressed in the month of June with 15 hits, four RBIs and two stolen bases in his last 10 games alone, improving his batting average to .296.
Pablo Sandoval only has two hits since returning to the Giants lineup Monday night, but that doesn’t mean he’ll never hit a homer ever again.
That lead-off spot is still an issue. But getting the meat of the order back on track is definitely a start.
Get right back to watching the boys battle it out as the Giants’ road trip continues at Coors Field Friday against the Colorado Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 p.m.