San Francisco Giants: The offense is stagnant, the pitching has normalized, and the defense is bad. This Giants’ season is heading towards disappointment, but the next 10 games offer a shot at redemption.
There is an undeniable attraction between these two forces.
It’s the stuff of pulp fiction and soapy made-for-TV movies.
The San Francisco Giants and a.500 record are cosmically linked, and after some will-they-won’t-they drama in recent months, they’re back together.
(The win-loss record indicated that they were simply on a break.)
If the Giants have a destiny, it is to finish with a.500 record for the second consecutive season.
That’s one way to interpret the Giants’ recent performance.
The other route is a little more aggravating. It’s to say that the Giants, who seemed destined for the playoffs (even if only a wild card spot) and a nice October run earlier this summer, have imploded.
Whatever your feelings about the situation are, the fact remains that San Francisco still has a chance to make something of this season.
If a turnaround is on the way, it must begin on Friday, when the Rockies visit Oracle Park. That game kicks off a 10-game stretch in which they’ll face Colorado seven times and the sub-.500 Cleveland Guardians three times.
This is the Giants’ final window of opportunity this season. If you don’t take advantage of this, the season will be considered a failure. But if you can get seven or eight wins, the final two weeks of the season might mean something.
Yes, the Giants have 10 days to make up for the previous two months of baseball.
And that’s amazing, because the last two months have been hell.
The Giants’ batters have let all four wheels — and the spare — come off the car over the last 60 games. Some days, they don’t just go without scoring; they can’t even put a runner on third base.
Combine that with a pitching staff that has two reliable starters but has regressed to league-average at best, and you have a team that is slipping down the standings.
I looked for a player with a season-long slash line of.218/.292/.345 who could match the Giants’ team over the last two months.
A few defense-first utility players came close, but the problem is that teams don’t play enough weak hitters like that to qualify in season-long categories.
That seems appropriate for a team of rookies, retreads, and irregulars, doesn’t it?
This summer, the Giants have only had one positive bat: Wilmer Flores.
I shudder to think how bad things would be if Flores wasn’t on the team.
With the exception of Michael Conforto, who has been 4 percent better than league average during that stretch, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ stat, despite having seven extra-base hits in his last 150 plate appearances, everyone else has been subpar over the last 60 games.
During that time, the Giants regularly fielded six of the worst 35 hitters (100 at-bats) in baseball (per wRC+).
There’s little reason to believe a turnaround is on the way, but if it did, now would be the time.
It must begin with the veterans.
Brandon Crawford has looked lost at the plate all season, but he was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2021. Is he capable of resuming vintage form — and throwback bat speed?
J.D. Davis, how about you? Can he recapture his early-season hitting form? That would help to solidify the lineup considerably.
Joc Pederson, who is on a one-year, $19.65 million contract, could use a strong final month at the plate and in the field, lest this be his final big-money season.
And has anyone seen LaMonte Wade recently?
To be honest, it doesn’t matter who gets the hits and RBIs. Wade Meckler and Joey Bart could provide the offense.
But the runs must come.
Because for the Giants, it’s now or never.