Spander: Giants go from bad to worst 

click to enlarge Nori Aoki
  • Ben Margot/AP
  • Outfielder Nori Aoki fell to the ground after taking a hard swing during the Giants ninth loss in 10 games on Sunday.
Bruce Bochy was alone at his desk, studying numbers that could only reinforce what he knew, what we knew — the Giants are a team in trouble. The scintilla of optimism that burst forth Saturday night like the reflection off the championship rings that had been awarded, and the victory that at last was achieved after eight straight defeats, had disappeared.

They’re not very good, these 2015 Giants, the defending World Series champions. They may in fact be very bad. The 5-1 victory by Arizona on Sunday set up what even Bochy, at his postgame news conference, agreed would be a critical few games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Every game is critical,” was his first response when asked how important the three-game series against their bitter rivals, starting Tuesday, might be. Then he conceded, “The last thing you don’t want to do is get too far back this early.”

The Giants already may be too far back. They are 4-10, sharing with Miami (the Marlins, for heaven’s sake) and Milwaukee the notoriety of having the most losses in the majors. And here come the dreaded, despised, wealthy, rollicking Dodgers, who are 9-3 and 4½ games ahead of San Francisco.

“We’re at home,” Bochy said. But they seem homeless. After Sunday, they have a 1-6 record at AT&T Park. They also seem helpless. They absolutely can’t hit with runners on. Except into double plays. On Sunday, they couldn’t pitch with runners on, either.

Tim Hudson was the guilty party, although it’s hard to get down on him. He threw maybe only three or four poor pitches. Then again, these days, a spring without much spring in the Giants’ step, that’s three or four too many.

One pitch was a two-run homer in the top of the first inning by Paul Goldschmidt on the first ball Hudson threw to him. Another was a 3-2 pitch to Aaron Hill with runners on first and second and one out in the third. The Giants wanted a strike. Home plate ump Dan Iassogna called it a ball, loading the bases and leading to Hudson’s fourth mistake, hitting the next batter, Jordan Pacheco, and forcing in a run.

OK, it was still only 3-1, although with the Giants’ offense, it might as well be 5-1, which it immediately became when the next Diamondback, Chris Owings, doubled. Only the third inning, but everybody in the 334th consecutive home sellout, 41,528 fans in all, understood the home team had no chance.

Hudson wasn’t expecting Goldschmidt to swing on his first delivery, “but he’s a really good hitter.” Against the Giants, he’s been a great hitter. That was his 12th homer against San Francisco since he arrived in the bigs on Aug. 1, 2011.

Winners do everything right. Losers? Maybe it’s unfair to call the Giants, World Series winners three of the last five seasons, losers. So we won’t. But they’re doing nothing right. When they get pitching, they don’t get hitting. When finally they get hitting, instead of falling 1-0 or 4-1, they get beat 7-6.

Yes, they’ve had bad stretches before and emerged with a title, but something feels different about this season. It started with in the Cactus League, the tormenting blend of ineffectiveness and bad luck — the Hunter Pence injury, the Matt Cain injury, the Casey McGehee injury — and it has been endless.

Bochy is doing what he can do, which isn’t very much except, as he did Sunday, to put Buster Posey at first base — he was 0-for-4 and now is batting a sad .229 — Andrew Susac at catcher and Brandon Belt in left field.

Belt at least showed signs of life at the plate, his two singles jacking his average way up to .152 (hey, before Saturday’s game, also known as The Win — he was at .077). McGehee is at .194, Brandon Crawford .200 after two hits.

The Giants the past few seasons have been built on pitching, and the construction worked well enough. But now the team earned run average is 3.94, meaning it’s going to take four runs to win. San Francisco only has scored four runs or more in six of its 14 games, and lost three of those.

The situation is so alarming the Boston Globe, looking for comparisons with last year’s Red Sox disaster, had a large feature under the headline, “Will there be a Giant problem in San Francisco?”

As we by the Bay will testify, there already is.

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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