There’s a magnetism between these two forces that can’t be denied.
It’s the stuff of paperback novels and soapy made-for-TV movies.
The San Francisco Giants and a .500 record are cosmically intertwined, and after a bit of will-they-or-won’t-they drama over the last few months, they’re back together.
(Five-hundred was telling folks they were just on a break.)
If these Giants are a team of destiny, that destiny is to have a .500 record for a second straight season.
That’s one way to look at the Giants’ recent play.
The other way is a bit more maddening. It’s to say that the Giants, who at one point this summer looked destined for the playoffs (even if it was only a Wild Card berth) and perhaps a nice October run, have imploded.
No matter if your perspective on the matter is rosy or begrudged, the fact remains that San Francisco still, somehow, has a chance to make something of this season.
But if a turnaround is coming, it must start on Friday, when they host the Rockies at Oracle Park. That contest starts a 10-game stretch where they’ll play lowly Colorado seven times and the sub-.500 Cleveland Guardians thrice.
This is the Giants’ last remaining window of superiority this season. Fail to take advantage of this, and the season will be deemed a failure. Rattle off seven or eight wins, though, and the season’s final two weeks could mean something.
(Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
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Yes, the Giants have 10 days to correct the last two months of baseball.
And that’s incredible, because the last two months have been awful.
Over the last 60 games, the Giants hitters have let all four wheels — and the spare — come off the car. There are days when they don’t merely go without scoring; they cannot even put a runner on third base.
Pair that with a pitching staff that has two reliable starters and has fallen back to being league-average at best, and you have a team sliding down the standings.
I tried to find a player with a season-long slash line of .218/.292/.345 to match the Giants’ team over the past two months.
A few utility — defense-first — players came close, but the issue is that teams don’t play weak hitters like that enough to be qualified in season-long categories.
That seems fitting for a team of rookies, retreads, and irregulars, no?
Only one bat has been positive for the Giants this summer: Wilmer Flores.
I shudder to think about how bad things would be if the Giants didn’t have Flores.
Because, with apologies to Michael Conforto — who has somehow been four percent better than league average during that stretch, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ stat, even though he has seven extra-base hits in his last 150 plate appearances — everyone else has been sub-par over the last 60 games.
Of the worst 35 hitters (100 at-bats) in baseball (per wRC+) over that stretch, the Giants regularly field six.
(Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
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There’s little reason to think a turnaround is coming, but if one were to miraculously appear, now would be the time.
It has to start with the veterans.
Brandon Crawford has looked lost at the plate all season, but in 2021, he was a viable MVP candidate. Does he have a few weeks of vintage form — and throwback bat speed — in him? I
What about J.D. Davis? Can he tap into the early-season form at the plate? That’d go a long way to solidifying the lineup.
On a one-year, $19.65 million contract, Joc Pederson could use a hot final month at the plate and in the field, lest this be his final big-money year.
Oh, and has anyone seen LaMonte Wade lately?
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter who provides the hits and RBIs. It could be Wade Meckler and Joey Bart providing the offense.
But the runs need to come.
Because it’s now or never for the Giants.