Welcome to the hospital Ward:
The Giants of 2014 are flawed and injury prone but incredibly resilient. The boys are (after losing to Kershaw last night) a half-game out of first and ten games over.500. They just came off a 5 and 2 road trip to open the second half of the season but have dropped two games at home to the two best Dodgers pitchers in a ball park apparently full of thugs from LA (more about that later).
Consider the roster issues: Cain, DL, maybe out for the season with bone spurs; Belt, out on concussion DL with the symptoms not receding; Sanchez, out on concussion DL for 7 days (he’s Timmy’s personal catcher); Pagan, DL with a bulging disc and doing some work off a tee in AZ – no word on his return; Scutaro – on DL again with a bad back and he may be finished for the season; Panik – swollen ankle.
This season is like watching General Hospital.
Sabean is not standing still. He picked Dan Uggla off of waivers from Atlanta (the jury is still out whether or not Uggla – once an All-Star – is finished but he’s getting a chance). Yesterday he got Jake Peavy from the Red Sox for Hembree and Escobar, a good trade. Peavy does well in NL parks (especially AT&T) and does well against the Dodgers. Bochy was his first manager (back in the Padres days) and he may actually stabilize what is a decent starting rotation.
August is almost here and if Pagan comes back (he has been the spark for the last three years), and Belt gets over his concussion there will be a much better team on the field. Right now the G-Men are a minor league team with Duval, Panik, Abreu and now Susac having to be called up from Fresno to take Sanchez’s place as back-up catcher.
The Message – hang in there it’s about to get interesting
A better gauge of the 2014 Giants is the 6 hour 14 inning game in Philadelphia last week that the G-Men won on a based loaded double by Crawford. That game did two things; it exhausted the players before they had to travel home to face the Dodgers (fresh, with a day off) and it showed the character of the team. I will take character any day.
It isn’t about taking this three game series from the Dodgers, it’s about how many games they can win between now and the end of September.
If Sabean makes more moves (2nd base? center field?) before Wednesday, or even waiver wire deals in August, the holes will be filled and the core of the team – Posey, Pence, Morse, Panda and Crawford – will thrive. Personally I think that Utley and Murphy are still possibilities.
The Home series
This has been about the Dodgers but the Pirates are just as important (and perhaps a better team than the chemistry challenged LA team). The Pirates just beat the Dodgers at home, are 6 and 4 in their last ten games and are 4 games out in the NL Central. With McCutchen, Walker and Alvarez they are not a group to be trifled with.
Today Jake Peavy faces off against Ryu. If the G-Men win they go a half game up on the Dodgers.
Reports from the stadium are that the Dodger’s fans (always front runners) are out in droves acting out the same thuggish behavior that their team shows on the field. We all counsel politeness and if you happen to encounter a Dodgers fan please be patient – treat him or her like you would a wounded animal or a brain dead gang member covered with M13 tattoos. Use small words and talk slowly and carefully.
Ciao, and GO GIANTS!