HUNTER PENCE AND MARCO SCUTARO COLLIDE AS THE GIANTS BUTCHER A POP-UP AGAINST THE A'S ON THURSDAY NIGHT. DEFENSIVE ISSUES HAVE PLAGUED THE GIANTS DURING THE 2013 SEASON
The game of baseball is hard enough, but when you can't get out of your own way it's even worse. No one believes the San Francisco Giants are as bad as they are playing right now. But, there are some trouble spots that are not going away and will need to be rectified soon.
The Giants defense, a strength during their recent World Championship runs has taken a turn for the worse. Suddenly, Marco Scutaro lacks range and has hands of stone. Outfielders Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres committed miscues last night against Oakland that cost the Gignates runs. Even when Angel Pagan gets back, he has had his misadventures in the field. And, Hunter Pence is quirky, odd-looking but makes the plays, although it is not always aesthetically pleasing.
The Giants pitching defiencies have been the biggest surprise and trouble spot of the 2013 campaign. Whether its increased work-load from lengthy post-season runs in two of the last three years, or just normal early season inconsistency, this will not cut it. The Giants will have to pitch better if they expect to contend.
Matt Cain has been decent after two horrible early season outings that inflated his ERA. Barry Zito has been sporadic and Tim Lincecum is an anomoly. He has nice zip on his fastball. HIs change-up has been inconsistent. A beauty followed by a hanger and his ERA hovers near 5. Ryan Vogelsong had been awful before he pitched well in a start where he broke his hand trying to bunt. So, a void the Giants haven't had to worry about in their rotation for three years, suddenly is a glaring weakness with no Major League ready pitcher in their farm. Would be nice to have Zack Wheeler ready to contribute ??? (Carlos Beltran trade)
Offensively the Giants have been good. They brought the best batting average in the National League into their game with Athletics last night. San Francisco has mastered the come-from-behind and never-say-die win. Numerous walk-offs and comebacks have highlighted a team you never feel is out of a game. Gone are the days where the Giants can't score runs, this team can score.
This should be reason for optimism. The problems the Giants are having through the first two months of the season have been areas of strength over the last several years (pitching and defense.) But, pitching problems for one month is one thing, when it turns into two months, it is a trend. For San Francisco they have to have faith in their arms. It's their strength and it's why they have two World Championship banners flying at AT & T.
The Giants will go as far as their pitching and defense takes them. The comeback wins are nice. The rejuvenated offense is a thrill, but this team can not win if they don't pitch. And, this fact has to weigh heavy on GM Brian Sabean who has to wonder whether his largesse of arms is finally spent.