The San Francisco Giants have lost six straight games, falling three games behind division rival Los Angeles. It is time for another second half turnaround or declare 2014 a lost year for the ballclub.
If the 2010 and 2012 World Series teams proved anything, it’s to never count out the Giants but this year’s team is riddled with issues that have to change now if there is to be any hope of postseason baseball in San Francisco in 2014. With that being said, there are three key factors in the San Francisco Giants recapturing their early season form and securing a postseason birth.
Just as Michael Morse was a major factor in the Giants’ early season success, he will have to be a key in their resurgence. After racking up 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in the first three months of the season, Morse’s power and run production have disappeared the past two months. Since the beginning of June, Morse has only tallied 10 RBIs and four home runs.
The lack of a power threat in the middle of the Giants’ lineup has only amplified the fact that the team is missing it’s offensive catalyst Angel Pagan. The Giants have scored one run or fewer in five of their last six games. Morse will have to recapture his early season form and provide an element of power in the middle of the line up if the Giants are to have any hope of turning their season around. That’s just the start.
Pitching has always been a significant part of the Giants’ formula. In the past, even when the offense was struggling the Giants’ pitching would seem to overcompensate and minimize the impact of a sputtering offense. That has not been the case for San Francisco this year.
Good starting pitching is the difference between a short losing streak and a prolonged one. After being swept by the Dodgers over the weekend, the Giants sent their ace Madison Bumgarner to the hill hoping to snap a four game losing streak against the Pirates. Instead, Bumgarner allowed five earned runs in just four inning pitched en route to a 5-0 defeat, extending the Giants’ losing streak to five games. Bumgarner also had a similar start against Colorado earlier this year while the team was in the midst of a losing streak.
Bumgarner needs to be the anchor at the top of the rotation in order for the Giants to be successful. His numbers are among the best in the NL but Bumgarner needs to be at his best, even when his team is not at theirs. The club already has two six-game losing streaks this season and another one would surely be the nail in the coffin. Bumgarner will have to be a key in not letting that happen.
Finally, even if the Giants are counting on the return of Angel Pagan, GM Brian Sabean still needs to make a move prior to Thursday night’s trade deadline to address the holes in the middle infield. Without an upgrade at either the second base or shortstop position the Giants have little hope of turning it around for a World Series run. The next 24 hours will be key in determining the Giants’ season.
The San Francisco Giants are now a far cry away from their spot as one of the NL’s best teams but with an upgrade at either the shortstop or second base position, a power resurgence from Michael Morse, and Madison Bumgarner fully embracing his role as the Giants’ ace, San Francisco can return to being contenders in what is now a wide open race for the NL pennant.