A Look at the Giants Courtesy Doug Kelly
By Doug Kelly
Special to Inside The Seams
Nothing says more about the San Francisco Giants' season than a look at their last two box scores.
Three hits Saturday in a loss to the woeful New York Mets. Two hits Sunday in yet another loss, followed by a 6-game road trip to Colorado and Milwaukee. Simply stated, this season's Giants have not hit or pitched well enough to be factors in the NL West pennant chase while the Rockies will battle the Dodgers and Diamondbacks down the stretch.
The '18 Giants are playing for '19. Giants president Brian Sabean made that clear at the August 31 trade deadline, when he declared that Giants players over the next month would be playing for their individual roster spots.
You can't blame the often-blunt Sabean for saying so. Following a disastrous 62-win season in 2017, the Giants retooled, acquiring RF Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh and 3B Evan Longoria from Tampa Bay. McCutchen played creditably in San Francisco, though not to his All-Star form of the past. Last week, he was traded to the New York Yankees for two prospects, and Sabean did not rule out a possible free agent reunion at season's end.
Longoria suffered a broken hand at mid-year and only recently returned to the lineup. He still appears to be a part of the Giants puzzle going forward, but a return to his Rays form would be welcomed.
With the proximity of Sacramento and the Giants' AAA farm team River Cats, the club has employed the "I-80 Shuttle" from early on. Recent callups Austin Slater and Steven Duggar [now on the DL with a torn labrum] offer hope for the future. OF Chris Shaw will get a long September look after hitting 24 home runs prior to his recent promotion. San Francisco clearly needs more power hitting and better situational baseball.
Madison Bumgarner pitched reasonably well this season, one marred by a broken finger incurred toward the end of spring training. Going into late March, the Giants' rotation featured Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardjiza at the top end. Injuries to both, an inflamed shoulder for Samardjiza and Tommy John surgery for Cueto, forced San Francisco to improvise. Both will be question marks going into spring training
After World Series championships in 2010-12-14, the Giants' fan base has gotten spoiled. However, the team continues to draw near capacity crowds. Giants brass avoid the 'rebuild' label, but there is no question the club needs to observe and evaluate its young players over the last four regular season weeks and get younger at several key positions in the off-season.