San Francisco Giants: Achilles heel on display in June

San Francisco Giants

Matt Cain and the Giants pitching staff has struggled in June

The San Francisco Giants have relied on one of the league’s best pitching staffs to claim one of the best records in Major League Baseball up to this point but are their recent struggles a mere bump in the road or a sign of trouble?

It’s really not a shocker that one of baseball’s best team is anchored by one of the league’s best pitching staffs. Having a solid starting rotation and bullpen is a key element to consistent winning in the majors and that has been no more evident than with the Giants.

After winning six of seven games to kick off the month of June, the Giants have gone on to lose 11 of their last 16 and just as pitching was huge part of their success, it has been a key factor in their recent struggles.

The bullpen started the slide, losing three straight late inning leads against division foe Colorado, resulting in a three game sweep for the Giants. In fact, the Rockies snapped the Giants’ 35-0 record when leading after eight innings.

The normally reliable Sergio Romo was responsible for two straight blown saves against Colorado but it is clear the Rockies have Romo’s number. Of his four blown saves so far this season, three of them have come at the hands of the Rockies.  Romo’s ERA is a whopping 19.80 this season against Colorado, compared to 1.93 against all other teams.

While the bullpen was a key factor in igniting their struggles, the starting rotation has not done its part to stop the bleeding, especially when it comes to two of their former aces.

Since returning from the DL on June 11, Matt Cain has continued to struggle. In his three starts since his return from a right hamstring strain, Cain is 0-3 with a 7.03 ERA.

Tim Lincecum has not fared any better in June going 1-3 with hefty 6.85 ERA. Update: nice no-no last night Timmy. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Even Tim Hudson, who has been the key addition to the Giants starting rotation has stumbled as of late.  Hudson is 0-2 in his last two starts and has an ERA of 4.30 in the month of June.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers now within striking distance of the NL West lead, and their ace Clayton Kershaw looking as good as ever having won five straight, it is crucial for the pitching staff to regain their role as the anchor of the Giants ballclub.

If the Giants fail to solve their pitching troubles, the club has little hope of regaining the dominant edge that allowed them to claim the best record in the bigs just a month ago.

In a season as long as Major League Baseball’s even the best teams will have their struggles but a good pitching staff is crucial to making sure those bumps in the road don’t turn into hills.

How far the Giants are able to advance in 2014 will be determined not by their offense, but by the success of their pitching staff and only time will tell if June is simply a rough patch or something more.