With a 3-1 start to begin the regular the season, the San Francisco Giants seemed to be picking up right where they left off after winning the 2014 World Series. Their limited amount of moves in the offseason, as well as the decisions to not re-sign key players, looked to be working out in their favor.
That has not been the case the last six games though, as the questions that surfaced before the season began, have started to be proven to be real concerns. Forcing the question — is it too soon for Giants’ fans to start panicking at the prospect of another cursed odd year?
Through the first ten games of the season, the Giants have scored a paltry 26 runs. Most recently, they put up mediocre performances against the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies. What looked to be a statement for a home opener has turned into a real sore spot for the AT&T Park crowd.
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To begin the season, the Giants have been without the man who supplied the energy, enthusiasm, and not to mention, a little pop to the lineup, Hunter Pence. His presence in the middle of the order is crucial to this team, as the current roster has shown an inability to drive in runs.
The top of the order has shown the ability to get on base by hitting or talking bases on balls, but the issue is getting the men around to score. Something Pence excelled at.
Pence’s absence is not the main reason why no runs are being driven in though. It is the impatience of the batters at the plate and them trying too hard to create a spark. And it isn’t doing any favors for the pitching staff either.
With a 3-7 mark to begin the season, the pitching staff is getting a bad rap for why they are losing. The Freak, Tim Lincecum, is annually criticized for the lack of velocity and Cy Young award winning pitching, but he currently ranks ahead of Madison Bumgarner in all statistical categories. It is easy to criticize Lincecum, but other than three run home runs by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado that decided the game, Lincecum has gotten off to a decent start.
Chris Heston, who was called up due to the injury to Matt Cain, has shown that he belongs in the rotation. With two stellar starts, he is currently leading the starters in innings pitched, strikeouts, and ERA. Heston’s recent start was wasted with a poor outing by the Giants lineup.
While we are only 10 games into a long 162 game season, should the Giants, winners of three of the last five World Series titles, be concerned about their 2015 season?
Most seasons, the months of June through July prove to be the weary months for San Francisco. Whether that is caused by inconsistent play or injuries, remains to be seen. The Giants mid-season woes though, may have bloomed early and that could be a blessing down the road.
Since the mild strained groin that forced Brandon Belt to sit briefly, it almost appears that he is still out of the lineup despite the fact that he has played every day since his return. With a .118 batting average and only two hits so far this season, it is pretty clear Belt is lost and needs to rejoin the herd.
Casey McGehee had a knee scare recently, but the injury turned out to not be serious, proving to only be a bone bruise. As a precaution though, McGehee has been resting and Matt Duffy has filled in quite nicely in his absence. When McGehee returns, the Giants need to find a way to regularly get Duffy’s bat into the lineup.
Apr 15, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum throws to the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning of their MLB baseball game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
To get the team going, manager Bruce Bochy has been regularly tweaking the lineup to find any sort of life on the current 40 man roster. Slumps have found Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford at the bottom of Bochy’s order, but have been left in for their defensive abilities.
Even the face of baseball, Buster Posey, has been in a funk to start off the 2015 MLB season. Batting near the Mendoza line, Giants’ fans are hoping that his numbers begin to improve very, very soon. The pressure for the team lacking power in its lineup may currently be on the shoulders of the one-time NL MVP. But Posey has shown time after time what he is capable of.
Hits and getting on base have been no issue for San Francisco. The problem has been a lack of fundamentals, and the inability to advance runners. The Giants have had minimal errors defensively to begin the season and the pitching has done their part. When they give up a go-ahead run, the blame inevitably sticks to the rotation and bullpen.
Unnaturally, Bochy has three batters at the top of the order who are great at creating RBI opportunities (Nori Aoki, Panik/Duffy, and Angel Pagan). Their job is to get on base and allow others to bring them in.
It is a team effort and the Giants need to dig themselves out of the current rut they are in. Thankfully, all fans can breathe and realize it is only ten games into the year. While it may be easy to write this season off to join the 2011 and 2013 cursed odd year seasons, this season has not shown any signs of bad times just yet.
Baseball is a game of learning and it is not done by just the players. Coaches have to learn to adapt to the new group of players that join the team coming in during the offseason, as well as those who arrive throughout the year.
Seeing the team struggle so badly, it is hard to have faith in this ball club at the moment. But those three championship trophies were no flukes, and Bochy knows how to make his team “Giant.”Bochy is a player’s coach and feels that despite the slow start, they can persevere and overcome adversity together. As a team.
Hang in there, Giants’ fans!