San Francisco Giants: With Offense Slumping, Team Welcomes Legend Back to Town

Apr 15, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds (25) laughs in the dugout before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds (25) laughs in the dugout before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco Giant are suffering through a terrible slump, but they will welcome a legend back to town.

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If you’ve been watching the San Francisco Giants lately, I’m really sorry. It’s no secret that the Giants’ offense is in a big time funk, and they look nothing like the team that scored 12 times twice in the first week and rattled off six wins in their first eight games.

Now, the Giants have dropped seven of their last eight, and find themselves three games under .500 in the third week of the season. Fresh off being swept in four games by the Arizona Diamondbacks to kick off a 10-game homestand, the Giants welcome the Miami Marlins, and their first-year hitting coach, into town.

Barry Bonds is in his inaugural season with the Marlins, and will make his first trip to AT&T Park while wearing a cap that isn’t adorned with an interlocked “SF”. While it will be weird to see Bonds in a uniform that isn’t the Giants, it will be nice to see him back in baseball in some capacity, even in Miami. Bonds worked with the Giants at various points in the past few years after his “retirement”, but was never given a permanent position on the coaching staff.

Bonds’ accomplishments with the Giants will never be forgotten. He’s still second on the Giants’ franchise list with 586 home runs and 112.3 WAR behind another all-time great, Willie Mays. Five of his seven National League Most Valuable Player awards came during his 15-year tenure in San Francisco.

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The Giants’ offense, as downtrodden as it is lately, could use the presence of a guy like Bonds in the lineup. The big hit, Bonds’ specialty, has been noticeably absent from the lineup. During the current eight-game stretch, San Francisco is averaging 4.3 runs per game, but that average is bumped by two six-run outputs and a seven-run output, all of which resulted in Giants’ losses. They have also been scoring a lot of runs without the benefit of a hit. Four wild pitches have resulted in runs, while two groundball double plays and a bases loaded walk have added three more runs.

Maybe Bonds’ presence alone can help the Giants snap out of this abysmal skid. They’re batting just .202 with runners in scoring position over that stretch, and even when a Giant hitter smashes a line drive, it always seems to find a glove. That inability to hit with runners at second or third was amplified during the four-game set with Arizona, during which the Giants collected three hits in 31 at-bats in such opportunities.

On the other side of things, Bonds’ tenure with the Marlins has gotten off to a nice start. The Marlins are seventh in baseball as a team in both average (.263) and on-base percentage (.330), and have been able to come up with big hits in those clutch spots. Their .293 average with runners in scoring position in sixth-best in the game.

One thing that has been missing for Miami is the extra-base hit. Their .384 slugging percentage is 18th, while their 37 hits for extra bases are 24th. They are also one of five remaining teams that have yet to crack double-digits in home runs. The batter who is supposed to be Bonds’ star pupil, Giancarlo Stanton, is off to a sluggish start as well. In 13 games, Stanton is hitting .224 with one double and three home runs, and is striking out in 34.5 percent of his plate appearances.

There is only one player left on the Giants’ roster that was once a teammate of Bonds. Matt Cain made his big league debut in 2005, and shared the locker room with Bonds until the latter’s final season, in 2007. Cain will get to face the Marlins’ lineup in the series finale on Sunday.

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The Giants need to snap out of this slump soon if they want to right this ship before April ends. There’s a lot of time left in the season, 145 games to be exact, to figure this out. Maybe seeing a Giants’ legend in the opposing dugout can serve as motivation for them.