"To be or not to be" in the playoffs, that is the question

Welcome to the 13th (and maybe the last) Czar’s blog of 2016

With apologies to William Shakespeare:

To be, or not to be in the playoffs--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of an outrageous lack of hitting in the second half of the season
Or to take up bats against a sea of Rockies and Dodgers pitchers
And by opposing hit them hard. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that this strange season has visited upon the Giants faithful!

The Playoffs – Will The Giants make it?

That is indeed the question.  There are six games left in the season and the G-Men are one game back of the Mets for the top wild card spot and a half game ahead of the Cardinals (who have the tiebreaker on them) for the last spot.

The challenges include the obvious: scoring more runs and allowing fewer of them against the Colorado Rockies, starting tomorrow night. Then we have to take the three weekend games against the Dodgers, who have clinched the NL West title. LA would like nothing more than to bury the Giants. Hopefully the fact that the G-Men got buried by the Padres is a function of the fact that the Friars own the Giants, and pretty much always have.

The Giants own the NL's worst second-half record (25-41) and must focus on doing better than the Mets and Cardinals. We begin the final week of the regular season one game behind New York for the top spot and leading St. Louis by a half-game for the second spot.

This is the biggest week of the season. We can do it if the following can be accomplished.

Start hitting!

The Giants' pathetic hitting has obscured all other facets of their game. Last Saturday's nine-run, 12-hit game at San Diego ended a stretch in which they had scored 12 runs in seven games. Is anyone surprised that the G-Men entered Monday with 84 runs scored in September, the NL's second-lowest total?

Bring the bullpen back from the abyss and help out the starters!

The bullpen has stabilized somewhat since earlier this month when the relievers seemingly blew leads daily.  Romo has converted three consecutive save opportunities, and Strickland is looking good. The starters are performing adequately (although the potential loss of Cueto is really worrying). Regardless, the fact that the Giants have lost a franchise-record nine games this season in which they led entering the ninth inning (five of them this month) should send shudders through the faithful.

I don’t know where Casilla went but he should stay gone. I can’t recall the last Giants pitcher that got booed off the field.

Let’s focus on the Rockies and Dodgers.

The G-Men are 8-8 this season against each team. We can beat both of them, and must beat them. LA has outscored San Francisco by 59-58. That is NOT ownage. As for the Rockies, of the top nine hitters at AT&T this year, three are Rockies. Mark Reynolds (.409), DJ LeMahieu (.379) and Nolan Arenado (.333, two homers, seven RBIs).

Three Dodgers also have done much too well at AT&T – Adrian Gonzalez (.367), Chase Utley (.346) and Joc Pederson (.320, two homers). If we must hate, make it Utley. Personally, I’m sticking needles in Utley’s bobblehead.

The fans MUST support the team at home!

The Giants' 40-35 record at AT&T Park is not good. There are six consecutive home games left. If the G-Men score early and get the crowd in the game we will have our best chance of winning.  None of us should forget for a moment that the wild card was the route the G-Men took to the WS in 2014.

Play like the Giants

Buster Posey and Hunter Pence are capable of taking over a game, Brandon Crawford is a big-time shortstop, and Pagan, Span and Nunez (if healthy) are legitimate threats.

Behind them Joe Panik is a terrific  second baseman and Kilby Thompson is a clutch hitter if there ever was one. Don’t ever forget what Belt is capable of at AT&T.  He and Span have the only splash hits this year.

No more excuses.  Its time: either that or we join the Danish King on the Ramparts bemoaning what could have been!

May the force, and seven innings from the starters, be with you always. 

That’s it!

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

 

The Czar