It’s not too early to worry about Giants 

click to enlarge Lou Seal
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
  • The look on mascot Lou Seal sums up the way many Giants fans are feeling at this very early stage of the year: It could be a long season.
The feeling is that of apprehension, Giants partisans watching their team stumble, falter and asking themselves, “Is what we’re in for this season?” And the answer is, it very well could be.

That eighth-inning video with Journey singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” might ease the gloom. It doesn’t change the results, which for five straight games away and home have been negative, the Giants on Tuesday night losing to the Colorado Rockies 4-1 at AT&T Park.

Five in a row the wrong way. On Monday, the Giants raised a banner. That was then. Now? Even if things improve immediately, nobody’s won a World Series in consecutive years since 1998-2000.

And teams occasionally go from wonderful to awful. The Boston Red Sox took the World Series in 2013 and collapsed in 2014. The Giants took the World Series in 2014 and ... well, it is only the first full week of the season, but the pattern is there. It’s not encouraging.

The baseball thinking is spring training is just that — training — so don’t pay attention until the real games start. But the way the Giants played, or really misplayed, in the Cactus League, one sensed a disconnect between hope and reality.

A popular T-shirt at the Giants’ Scottsdale, Ariz., spring headquarters read, “We like the odds,” a play on words on the Giants attempting to win a pennant in an odd year. Cute but ineffective.

In their joy over the winter, Giants fans may not have remembered their team did not win its division, finishing six games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then in the postseason — A’s general manager Billy Beane called the playoffs a “crapshoot” — San Francisco had plenty of pitching, some hitting and just enough good fortune.

On the cover of the Red Sox media guide this year are David Ortiz, long with the team, and the new acquisitions, Hanley Ramirez, and late of the Giants, Pablo Sandoval, the lamented Panda. Oh, one hears the Giants sigh, if only he had stayed at AT&T.

It wouldn’t have hurt. Maybe it wouldn’t have helped, either. Sandoval was injured Monday, a pitched ball glancing off his left foot.

Hurt, of course, seems to be the essential word with the Giants these days, Matt Cain unseen because of arm trouble, Hunter Pence missing because of a fractured arm and Casey McGehee, the guy who would replace Sandoval, out because of a bone bruise in his knee.

Whining and wishing are for the ne’er-do-wells, as manager Bruce Bochy says so often. Either the players are out there or they’re not. If they’re not, then it’s up to the front office to get them, which more often than not general manager Brian Sabean has done. And if the Giants are to contend, he better do again.

Even if the Cain returns, even if Tim Lincecum performs, even if Madison Bumgarner, who Thursday takes his 5.40 ERA to the mound and tries to halt the malaise, is the pitcher we believe he is, the Giants will have their troubles.

They’ve already lost games 4-1, 2-0 and 1-0. It’s a sporting adage that if the other team doesn’t score, you can’t lose. Of course, if you’re the other team, you can’t win. And the Giants haven’t been winning.

Do they start to when Pence reappears? We deal in the hypothetical. He’s an excellent player, but he’s just one player. In failing to sign Sandoval, the Giants at least kept money in the vault. They can buy or even rent a bat or a pitcher from a team that finds itself out of the race. But that won’t be for months. And the team out of the race may be the Giants.

Baseball people look at the standings in April and mutter to critics in the media, “It’s early.” True, but early or late, it’s apparent the Giants are lacking what they need to be a contender.

Only pessimists worry, we’re told. Losing baseball is good reason for pessimism.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.

About The Author

Art Spander

Art Spander

Bio:
Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.bleacherreport.com. Email him at typoes@aol.com.
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