All off-season, as the Giants were spending money on good players inside and outside the organization, we heard the refrain repeated time and time again: this should be a good, competitive team as long as they stay healthy.
Well, here we go. It’s June and in the last two weeks:
- The Giants got bad news on Sergio Romo (i.e. he’s out a while longer)
- Put perpetually hamstrung Angel Pagan on the DL (after already missing a week with the same injury)
- Saw Matt Cain pull a hammy after getting his groove back
- And then, lost Hunter Pence for two months to hamstring surgery
In addition, Johnny Cueto, Joe Panik, and Matt Duffy are all dealing with various aches and pains.
Which leads us to a 5-5 road trip that felt a whole lot worse, probably because the Giants lost their first series in a month this weekend in St. Louis, thanks in large part to two blown leads.
There’s still plenty of bright spots: Bumgarner’s having a historic year, Belt is great, Crawford is proving himself the best shortstop in the game, the overall work from Cueto and Samardzija has been awesome, and this team still has Buster Posey holding it all together.
The next five games, at home, are against good teams (Red Sox and Dodgers), but after that the June schedule seems fairly forgiving.
But, this is test time. The “they must stay healthy” clause will not be fulfilled in 2016. Can they hold it together, keep pitching well, and get enough offense to hang in there until they are back at full strength?
Week in Review: took 2 of 4 from Atlanta, and 1 0f 3 in St. Louis. 35-24 with a 3.5 game lead in the NL West.
Hitter of the Week: Brandon Belt righted his mini-slump in a big way this week: 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 1.128 OPS. Belt is going to have to carry a larger load than normal over the next two months with Pence out. He does not seem to thrive in these situations, but now has an opportunity to change the story by providing this kind of production (and protection for Posey).
Pitcher of the Week: George Kontos is not anywhere near my favorite arm in the Giants bullpen but he had a very good week (5 appearances, no runs), and, like Belt, represents a guy who has a chance to really make himself valuable. The bullpen continues to struggle to find consistency and continuity. Bochy likes and trusts Kontos (not totally sure why), and so he’ll have his chances to help bring some badly needed stability to the ‘pen.
Looking ahead: This is a weird, rare, 5 game week, featuring 2 games against the Red Sox and 3 with the Dodgers. As mentioned above, record-wise, this is one of the toughest stretches of the month, but a chance for the Giants to prove themselves against one of the AL’s best, and then a chance to get more distance from the rival Dodgers.