clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The do's and don'ts of worrying about the 2015 Giants

It's a four-game losing streak, everyone. Time to freak out or calm down, depending on your tastes.

EVERYBODY PA ... well, you know
EVERYBODY PA ... well, you know
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Four-game losing streak. Last place. Under .500.

It's only the second week of the season.

Four-game losing streak. Last place. Under .500.

It's only the second week of the season.

Four-game losing streak. Last place. Under .500.

You can just feel the fun of April when things don't go well. I'm here to help. You know that Norichika Aoki isn't going to hit .412 this season, just as you know that Brandon Belt isn't going to hit .154. This, then, is a guide for all the things in between. Here are the do's and don'ts about early-season freakouts.

Do: Worry about the injuries

Matt Cain has a barky elbow just a few months after his bitey elbow. Casey McGehee has a bone bruise on his knee. Hunter Pence has a broken arm. Angel Pagan's back, but don't forget about Angel Pagan's back. You can call Brandon Belt "Mike Seaver" because he's going through some groin pains. Jake Peavy has a dead arm and a moaning back. We're a week into the season, and this is basically the ghost army at the end of Lord of the Rings

Yeah, the one that overwhelms the orcs and wins everything. At least in the movie. I'm told it's much different in the books. Regardless, this has been a shocking start to the season, injury-wise. While the concentration of injuries might be a fluke, the Giants do have the oldest roster in baseball, and of the players listed above, only Belt is under 30. Injuries are a concern. They have to be.

Don't: Worry about the situational hitting

The Giants are hitting .191/.305/.294 with runners in scoring position. In high-leverage situations, they have a .575 OPS, more than 100 points lower than all other situations. With the bases loaded, they're hitting .000/.000/.000. These are things that will not last.

(An aside: Wouldn't it be almost worth it to root for a team that goes hitless all season with the bases loaded? Not a single hit, all season. You wouldn't have to feel guilty about how the last five years have gone for the Giants. You would be able to point to that stat and claimed you've paid your dues and have the right to be disgruntled again. It would almost be worth it.)

(Do not try that, Giants.)

Last year at this time, the Giants were hitting everything with runners in scoring position. It was a fun binge, and the world seemed like a grand old rollie coaster, with twists and turns and drops and thrills. When the hits with RISP dried up, we twitched a lot. For two or three months, we wondered what we did wrong as human beings to deserve the team without a shred of luck. It's all cyclical. With Pence back in the lineup (and Pagan staying in the lineup), the Giants still seem like they should be at least average offensively. That means more than a week's worth of runners in scoring position.

A frustrating, dismal week.

Just a dumb week.

Do: Worry about the bench

As currently constructed: Matt Duffy, Hector Sanchez, Justin Maxwell, Joaquin Arias. That's a hitter I'm okay with, a backup catcher without a lot of offensive skills, a platoon-type hitter, and possibly the weakest 25th man in the National League. You can combine this with the first "Do" to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich of "Do." A do-do sandwich, if you want to get technical. The injuries plus the lack of depth are horrifying.

Mostly, though, it's the high-leverage situations at the end of the games that weird me out. Maxwell has won a game for the Giants already, so it's not worth complaining about just yet. Just keep an eye out for it.

Don't: Worry about Madison Bumgarner

Don't be that guy or gal. That's the thing about Bumgarner, that his mechanics can get wonky and change pitches with movement to pitches down the middle without as much movement. We've seen it several times over the last five seasons. That's what made his postseason run even more irrational. He didn't have to fight through that sort of mess when it really counted.

He allowed a lot of hits to the Padres. It might happen again. I'll still expect the old Bumgarner, though, even if he happens to be quite young.

Do: Worry about Jean Machi and Javier Lopez

We're 22 combined batters into the season for both of them, but I'm noticing an awful lot of comfortable hitters against both pitchers. Machi's weird knuckle-split-change is baseball's nastiest pitch about 12 percent of the time. It's the most hittable pitch about 88 percent of the time.

Lopez seems like he's far removed from his 2010 wizardry, and for good reason: There have been four full seasons since then. He's thrown at least 40 or 50 pitches, facing at least 20 different batters, over those four seasons. It adds up, I'm guessing.

Not predicting doom, here. That's not what this is about. Just if you want an honest reaction to the players struggling in the first part of the season, those are two of the ones I trust the least right now.

Don't: Worry about the Brandons

We're past the introductory trial offer for both. They're entrenched. They're normal baseball players who go through normal slumps. There's very little mystery left for either player.

Do: Worry about where the power is going to come from

Five homers in nine games. That's a pace of 101 homers, which seems about right, if not a little high. The Giants were supposed to be a station-to-station team, and that's what they've been in the early part of the season. With the stranded runners on base, though, you can see how that can be FRUSTRATING TO WAAAAATCH.

Nothing's changed about that fear. Nothing should have changed with any of the fears. It's still just the second week of the season. But if you're looking for some worries because you don't know how to root any other way, there's a big pile of them up there. Comes with the territory with a last-place team.

It's only the second week of the season.

Dude. I know that. We're just talking about baseball, here. Weird, unfortunate, uncomfortable baseball.