Sub-par Giants need quick turnaround

Like many sports nerds before me, my go-to person for talking baseball is my dad.

In a world where literally anything can happen in the course of nine innings, my old man’s cell number is prepped on speed dial for all of those times that I need someone to help dissect even the most bizarre or frustrating of ballgames.

Particularly when it comes to the San Francisco Giants (39-45), a team that doesn’t tend to win any games easy or lose any games gracefully.

That need for familial sports banter is even greater now, as the team that I was raised watching, and now have the privilege of covering, is playing sub-par ball.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking baseball with my dad, it’s that you never really know what the key play, or plays, in a ballgame are until the entire thing is over.

A seemingly routine base hit could be the difference in a team winning or losing, while a seemingly huge error in the outfield could turn out to be nothing but a bit of ink on the post-game box score.

The same goes for a team’s entire season; you never really know until after the fact whether a single game, whole series, road trip, what-have-you, is the difference maker in an entire season.

So we take a look at the final game of Giants roadie being rained out in Cincinnati, giving the Orange and Black a day of rest before a three-game stand against the Dodgers and wonder:

Could the Fourth of July rainout be a blessing from the baseball gods? Could this be the series that the Giants finally turn their season around?

Certainly, nobody could have predicted that San Francisco’s trip up to Toronto in late May would have been a negative turning point in their 2013 campaign.

Following an impressive home series against the Atlanta Braves, the Giants fell apart at the seams, no baseball pun intended.

San Francisco’s offense began to wither at the hands of R.A. Dickey and the rest of the Jays’ defense, as the defending world champs were swept out of Toronto and headed for a skid from first place to last in the NL West standings.

The Giants’ health also took an unpredictable hit during that same road series. Who would have guessed that Ryan Vogelsong’s first quality outing on May 20 would end with two broken bones in his pitching hand?

Or that, just days later, Angel Pagan would come out of the lineup with an injured hamstring and leave San Francisco’s struggling offense without a decent lead-off hitter? The list goes on.

But, with being blindsided by these unforeseen turns in the Giants’ season, also comes wonder as to whether a turn for the better is on the horizon.

Thursday’s rainout in Cincinnati definitely seems like it could have been good medicine for the Giants, who were 1-8 on the nine game roadie including a no-hit game against Homer Bailey and the Reds.

The postponement put the G-men on a plane back to San Francisco for a six game stand at home. And while they are bringing up the rear in the West, they still have one of the best records on their home turf, going 24-15 at AT&T Park.

San Francisco will be sending Matt Cain to the mound on the opening game on Friday night, which adds a little extra mystery to the possibility that this weekends’ series could be a turning point.

Cain is coming off, arguably, his best start of 2013. He went eight innings in his last outing and only gave up one run, albeit tallying a no decision in the 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Plus, he had a home win against LA from May 5, his first win of the season and the final piece in the Giants’ sweep against the SoCal rival.

And, not to get too far away from actual sports logic, but think about how well-scripted it would sound if the Giants had their big season turnaround against the rival Dodgers.

There’s really no way of knowing until deeper into the season if that postponed game in Cincinnati will make a difference. But heck, nobody knew during the 2012 NLDS that Hunter Pence’s pre-game sermons would be a post-season staple until the team was marching in the World Series victory parade.

We’ll just have to watch and see if this weekend marks a positive pivotal point in San Francisco’s 2013 regular season run. It would really be nice for my dad and I to dissect a Giants win — or two — over the weekend.