The San Francisco Giants are currently leading the National League wildcard by 1.5 games. They are leading the majors in strikeouts and saves, while being number two in ERA. For the month of July, they were near the top of the league in runs scored. But they are also front-runners in a not too positive stat, grounded-into-double-plays, which they lead the NL in, with 110.
It is no secret that the only reason why the Giants have not soared away with the NL West already is because of poor hitting. This same hitting that was on an other-worldly tear last month has returned right back to where it was all season long; a step above non-existence.
Game after game, the Giants pitching keeps them in it, only to have the team come up short and ruin efforts by the starting pitcher. In the last three games alone, they have ruined quality starts by Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito (a game they won in extra-innings) and a decent showing by Matt Cain. This has been the pattern for two seasons now, one that could have been corrected with the addition of a bat this trade deadline, but the Giants chose to add more pitching instead.
As pleasantly surprised as the Giants have to be with Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres, Pat Burrell and Buster Posey, they have to be disappointed in Pablo Sandoval, who has been nothing short of dreadful so far.
This time last year, he was near the top of the league in batting average, but now he hits a mere .263 with only six homeruns and 44 RBI’s. He has also hit into 20 double-plays, which is tied for the NL lead with the Nationals’ Ivan Rodriguez.
It’s hard to fathom the fall this guy has seen since just last season. Perhaps the Giants toyed with him in the off-season, because they tend to do that with players. Maybe they tried to make him more patient at the plate, and although that is what we want our players to strive for, it just does not worth with some, and maybe threw his hitting-eye off.
The Giants have also seen 16 GIDP from Juan Uribe and 10 from Aaron Rowand, who is in the third of a five-year bust-contract with the Giants.
Patience at the plate was this team’s downfall last season, and it is shaping up to be this season as well. The pitching coach, Carney Lunsford, was not brought back because of that express reason, and it seems the Giants are not better at it this year than last. They just refuse to take pitches. Their strikeouts rates are surprisingly not near the top of the league, but how many times does this team blow it by swinging at a bad pitch and popping up or grounding out with runners in scoring position? Way too much.
Pat Burrell, who has only been with the Giants for 48 games, shows he may be the only person with an eye for the strike zone. With 23 walks, he has more than Aaron Rowand has in 82 games.
With their pitching, the Giants are going to stay contenders for the wildcard and make a run for the NL West, but they must find a way to improve the offense or it will all go to waste. They need to be more patient at the plate, and be smarter with runners in scoring position. The veterans will need to lead the way, which includes Freddy Sanchez upping his game, and Edgar Renteria getting back to where he was before the injury. This is the Giants one real chance at making post-season play, and if the offense continues at this rate, they will not get a chance to taste October baseball.