Here’s a recipe for home cooking: First, take two parts Johnny Cueto, add a dash of Matt Moore, then sprinkle in a resurgent Matt Cain. Mix in 27 runs. Bake at AT&T Park for 7 days. The result? A winning start to a home series.
The first trip to San Francisco this season has been both rewarding and frustrating. There have been feasts and there have been famines. Already, the injury bug has hit the Giants where it hurts. So much drama and we are not even out of April yet.
Giants fans are all too familiar with torture. Each week in this report, we’ll break down what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what needs fixing right now. Welcome to:
Giants Torture Report: Week Two
This week, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey all proudly accepted the gold gloves they earned last season. It is safe to say that the infield is the strongest link in the defensive chain. Crawford and Panik continue to be the most lethal double play team in baseball and flashed some serious glove against both the D-Backs and the Rockies. Brandon Belt has been a strong presence at first as has been Conor Gillaspie. Plus, one can’t forget that Posey spends time on the corner as well. And if that wasn’t enough, Eduardo Núñez has taken on the hot corner in a way the Giants haven’t seen in a while. These last seven days have proven that the infielders are still as good as advertised. They will continue to keep the team in games, as long as the ground balls keep coming.
The old saying puts someone in “left field,” when they are not altogether present in the moment. This analogy can not be more apropos for the Giants right now. They have struggled to find a solid answer to the position and have suffered more than a few runs on account of it. So far it has been a merry-go-round of Gorkys Hernandez, Chris Marrero and Jarrett Parker. White Shark how we miss thee. Each of his replacements have had their troubles. Hernandez flat out missed a play against the Diamondbacks that allowed Arizona to gain a lead they never surrendered. Parker looked like he might be the answer, but even before the broken clavicle he sustained yesterday, even he could not provide consistent defense.
Not only has it been rough for the left field platoon in the field, but the bats have lacked on top of that. Hernandez has 2 hits in 27 at bats (.074), Marrero comes in a little better with 4 hits in 23 at bats (.174), while Parker only has 3 hits in his 21 at bats (.143). Now, without Parker, the other two will have to step up their games. Of course, Belt is an option as soon as Posey comes back from the DL, but that is a break glass in case of emergency situation.
Fans of the orange and black know too well the frustration of a lack of situational hitting. When there is a runner in scoring position, the Giants find ways to not get that run across the plate. It’s been that way for years. Granted, this week, and for the better part of the season, this has not been too much of an issue.
But, in the 4-3 loss to Arizona this week, 13 runners were stranded while only cashing in on 4 of their 11 at bats with runners in scoring position. And, in the 3-1 loss to Colorado, they left five on base and went 0-1 with runners in scoring position. In close games, the Giants can not afford to leave runs on the bases. Hopefully they can learn a thing or two from some of the offensive explosions they enjoyed this week and put more of them on the scoreboard.
Stat of the week: Matt Cain won his first game in April since 2012.