Wobbly Giants stumble through Spring Training

Arizona has not been kind to the reigning World Series Champions.

Take a moment, Giants fans, and let that news settle in. Accepting this may be difficult, given the euphoria no doubt still lingering from that October high. Here are some numbers to bring you back down to Earth:

  • The Giants pitching staff has posted a league-worst 5.83 ERA.
  • Giants bats have managed a bleak .236 BA.
  • The Giants sit in last place of the Cactus League with a  5-12-1 record, losing by an average 5.5 runs per game.

It’s only March, and the team’s a bit rusty. Technically speaking, Spring games don’t mean jack squat come Opening Day. But they provide insight; a peek into what’s to come early in the season.

Despite what appears to be a lackluster Spring, the Giants squad has shown some spark. Here are some surprises as we anticipate the Opening Day roster reveal.

The stacked infield

It’s a lovely problem to have, really, but a problem nonetheless: The Giants have too much talent in the infield.

Brandon Belt is flashing his bat this Spring (10 hits, 2 HR, 2 triples) and Brandon Crawford is holding it down at short. Joe Panik will get his first Opening Day nod at second.

Casey McGehee took no time filling the gap Pablo Sandoval left at third. In fact, he’s been the star of Spring Training. He looks sharp at the plate, batting .440 with a team-leading 11 hits while looking very Panda-esque at third.

Running alongside McGehee is Matt Duffy, who has brought near-incomparable speed and a juicy bat to the Giants squad. He’s batting .400 with 10 hits and four RBIs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t room for Duffy on the Opening Day squad. The infield depth spots will mostly likely be occupied by Ehire Adrianza and Joaquin Arias — two players with speed, experience and, most notably, are out of minor league options. Ishikawa and Blanco are, too.

The Duff-man’s performance should be noted, though, and he is someone who the Giants have handy should anyone up in San Francisco slice a thumb with a butter knife, or worse. Hey, it happens.

The outfield scramble

Hunter Pence’s injury disrupted a key element to the Giants’ success: Consistency. The roster was nearly set in stone before he was hit with that fateful pitch.

Pence’s absence pushes Gregor Blanco or Travis Ishikawa to the starting left field spot (both, by the way, are having a loud Spring Training to the tune of seven hits, two RBIs and seven hits, four RBIs respectively) and opens up a seat on the bench for a promising newcomer.

Justin Maxwell could slide right into that spot. Chances are you haven’t heard the name, but start getting familiar with it since he could very well be on the Opening Day 25-man roster.

The 31-year-old outfielder made a very under-the-radar trip to San Francisco when he signed a minor league deal back in December after a stint with Kansas City.

Maxwell’s name has risen to the top this Spring, as he’s notched five hits and three RBIs for the G-men. During the latter game of the March 14 doubleheader against the A’s, Maxwell went 2-for-4 with a single and a triple in the Giants’ 5-2 loss.

In 2014, Maxwell took most of his swings under a Royals contract at Triple-A Omaha, where he batted .285 and knocked eight out of the park to top his 117 combined home runs in the majors and minors.

Maxwell could provide much-needed power to the relatively small-ball roster before Pence returns from what is expected to be about a month-long recovery.

Also, in case you missed it, check out the Twitter interaction between Pence and the offending Cubs pitcher Corey Black: