Welcome to Czar’s blog #8 of 2017
How bad is it now?
The G-Men are 20 games back of the Rockies in the NL West. They have the worst record in baseball (other than the Phillies, who are in a league of their own) and are on track to lose a franchise record 105 games (shades of 1985). They keep choking in game after game: one day it’s the offense, another day it’s the pitching and another day it’s the defense (ever see a ball go through Belt’s legs before this season?). Let’s not fool ourselves. It’s bad.
Flickering lights of hope
Yesterday they played well against the Braves and broke a seven game losing streak.
Austin Slater came up from the minors to man left field and is hitting the snot out of the ball. He doesn’t want to go back down and right now looks like the left fielder of the future. That one box on the road to respectability checked.
At least two of the losses that they suffered in Colorado (4 game sweep) were come from behind victories by Colorado when the Giants went ahead in the late innings with an unusual (for the G-Men, the worst offense in MLB) surge of scoring. You can’t say they aren’t trying but when the relief pitching breaks down and the starters are ineffective what you have left is a loss. The cycle (walk off HR in the 9th) by Arenado in that come from behind game was a back breaker.
Madison Bumgarner is on track to return after (or maybe before) the All-Star break. The tailspin did seem to correspond to his absence, although he is not totally responsible by any means.
The real hope is that the tailspin stops and the G-Men start to get some confidence back. The year is only half over
Losing Bum and (pre-season to Tommy John) Will Smith didn’t help matters but it is clear that pitching is a problem. We are going to be losing Cueto but Blach looks decent and Beede is waiting in the wings. What we need are relievers. Smith was a big loss and Derek Law wasn’t able to make it up. I almost feel sorry for Law being thrown in when he is so clearly incapable of getting a batter out – now he is back in the minors where he belongs until he gets an out pitch..
Strickland is serving a suspension for being an asshole (well-deserved in the view of most of baseball) and the bullpen appears to be fractured. We need a stabilizing influence there – maybe bring Affeldt out of retirement?
Sellers or buyers at the trade deadline?
Anyone who thinks that the G-men aren’t sellers is smoking something I’d like to get myself. Cueto is gone, although how much you can get for him (he was a rental anyway for the rest of this season) is a question-mark. Nunez is also gone.
I think that the only safe players are Crawford, Posey, Panik and Bum. Belt is streaky, Arroyo and Slater are the future and who wants Span anyway?
I also hate to say it but Pence may have more trade value left than actual value on the field. He is 34, is injury prone and has one year left on his contract, a lot of which the G-Men would have to eat if he goes.
The series – The Mets and Colorado
The Mets are currently in LA and getting hammered by the Dodgers. They will not be in a good mood when they get into AT&T. The G-Men have a shot at this series if they hang in there.
The home series ends with another three games against the Rockies, who have systematically dismantled the Giants in every way possible. The G-Men will want retribution but the question is whether or not they have the horses (apologies to Matt Cain) to take a game or two.
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!