In 2010, Brian Sabean gathered the Giants' starters in Bruce Bochy's office to yell at them for not pitching better. This was around August during the heart of the pennant race against the Padres. Keep in mind, this was 2010, when the Giants' offense wasn't great but still better than the 2009 team's (which was The Fantastic Four of offense) and yet Sabean's focus was on the guys who actually had the power to do better. I imagine the conversation basically boiled down to, "None of those guys can hit, but all of you know how to pitch. Do better, knucklepucks."
He hammered the guys whose egos could take it because they already knew they could do better. His tirade wouldn't have been effective had it been directed at the dinguses poorly wielding the bats that they'd been poorly wielding for a season and a half. At the time it seemed odd to single out the only players who could consistently perform at a high level for finally not performing at a high level consistently, but their high level of consistency is *precisely* what the organization needed from them to stay in the race and, of course, win it all.
But in 2015, Giants pitchers are a laughingstock. Matt Cain has only one idea where his pitches are going: over the wall. So, forget about the pitching staff now. They are nothing. They are beneath Brad Pitt's Moneyball A's. They are not worth another moment of thought.
So with that in mind, I think it's time to "tough love" the Giants' offense, literally the only part of the team with unrealized ceiling at this point. The pitching is a radioactive crap tornado with zero chance of improvement going forward. The Giants are in the midst of the worst part of their schedule, too. It'll be up to the offense to net them even 6 wins the rest of the month.
This is already the second-best infield in Giants history. They're #2 in runs scored in the National League. They have Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, the antics of Nori Aoki, the shockingly great Brandon Crawford, and the breathlessly streaky Brandon Belt with only the backlogged Joe Panik missing to complete the set. Just ignore the sexualized cremains of Angel Pagan and the aggressively Nerf-like bat of Ehire Adrianza and focus on that core. That's a HUGE core. It's a core Luke Skywalker would shoot for. It's significant, and it's all the Giants have at this point.
THE ROAST OF THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
What an honor to be able to watch a player like Buster Posey play everyday. Buster, you're a no-doubt Hall of Famer... (hold for applause), but that Progressive commercial you're in these days is such a travesty that it's clear you have no business acumen whatsoever. Seriously. You've been featured in more failed campaigns than Ron Paul. Do better, Buster.
Hunter Pence I see is on the dais. Very nice. Welcome. Such an honor. Hunter, they say you look like an alien. Which I think is mean. (hold for sympathy) Yeah, yeah. Hunter, if you were actually an alien, a creature from another world beyond human comprehension, then you wouldn't be so easily fooled by sliders away, you poor excuse for a hitter. Hit better, Hunter Pence.
I see Brandon Belt over there laughing. Oh, you really got a kick out of that last joke, did you, Brandon? Well, you don't have a lot of room to talk. You swing and miss so many pitches that I'm worried about your vision. Like, growing up, when you played tether ball, did every game end with the score 10 to concussion? Brandon, seriously, when you play racquetball does the wall behind you bleed afterwards? Every time I hear about a car plowing through pedestrians I fear they're going to say, "The driver is a giraffe-looking goober named Brandon Belt." Seriously, check your vision and hit better.
Norichika Aoki, good to see you as well, sir. The Giants signed you because you can get on base and you're a tough out. (hold for applause) But your defense is so bad that Bruce Bochy would substitute in Angel Pagan for you if he had the chance. (hold for laughter) You know, if Angel Pagan were ever on the bench. (hold for more intense laughter, some sobbing) But seriously, Nori, you're so good at spoiling pitches that Amazon Instant Video wants to hire you to derail Netflix's development slate. (hold for confused silence) Little entertainment industry humor there for you guys. Still, Nori, if you want us to love you, hit more doubles.
Folks, if I'm looking a little flush in the face it's because I just caught out of the corner of my eye Mr. Brandon Crawford. (hold for swooning) Brandon, you have luxurious hair and blue eyes that could melt steel beams. You really are the jet fuel of the Giants' offense lately. Don't let it end in a national tragedy. (hold for confused applause) Seriously, someone as handsome as you has probably never had a bad day in his life. You're like if God was one of us and He couldn't hit a .300 batting average.
Now, I was going to talk about Joe Panik for my next bit, but he's not here tonight and I believe it's not cool to speak of the dead. Oh, sorry Angel Pagan, I didn't see you right away. I was looking at the field in front of me and several beats after I expected a body to come into view you appeared. How are you doing, Angel? How's death? Your knees still hurt in Hell? Seriously, last I heard, your knees were shot to hell as though you were a henchman in Terminator 2. Remember that, Angel? Remember when Arnold came back as a "nice Terminator" and Eddie Furlong made him promise he wouldn't kill anybody so he just shot people in the kneecap? Why couldn't you do that, Angel? Why'd you have to go and kill the Giants? Let me ask you this: what's the strangest question you've ever been asked via a ouija board? One more question: How is Elvis, and have you seen him lately? (hold for standing ovation)
The Giants offense is the only way they can stay competitive. It's really the only reason why they've been competitive up until now. As the competition doubles in difficulty, so too must the bats double in effectiveness. And the defense has to remain solid, which might get more difficult as more and more and more and more and more and more balls get smacked all around the field.
Kyle Schwarber owns the Giants, so Brandon Crawford's inadvertent turkey tap of a tag on a steal attempt in the sixth inning was a bit of a relief. Not because he got tapped in the cup or anything silly like that, but because it was one extraordinarily brief glimpse of Schwarber being mortal and the tag came on the back end of a play that involved Buster Posey rifling a throw from his knees necessitating and awkward leg spread and lunge by Crawford just to have a chance at a play. It was a moment where the Giants kinda looked like the Giants of yore. It was nostalgic.
This series has been an efficient encapsulation of life itself: you will come into your own and build a life for yourself and over time you will watch all that you've built degrade, be destroyed, or upended by the next generation. The Cubs are the Giants' reminder of their mortality.
These Cubs are young and dynamic on offense and full of different looks when it comes to their pitching. They have been built to be exactly this way. So, too, have the Giants been built to be exactly as they are: part Erector set, part Lego pieces, part bubblegum, and the rest a whole lot of hope. The bubblegum and dreams have worked out well over the past six years but now it is curtains on their grand performance of good fortune.
I think we can all agree that it's extraordinarily frustrating to watch your favorite baseball team go up against a squad you know to be far superior and get beaten down accordingly. The frustration comes from hope that's fueled by years and years of watching baseball and knowing how quickly the worm turns. That even the worst team can win at least one game out of four. The Giants surely have a win in them, but it won't come while they're in Chicago.
Let's take a look at the schedule for August: with my very rational, yet optimistic projections:
The Giants' August schedule
Aug 01 - @ Rangers - W
Aug 02 - @ Rangers - L
Aug 03 - @ Braves - L
Aug 04 - @ Braves - W
Aug 05 - @ Braves - W
Aug 06 - @ Cubs - L
Aug 07 - @ Cubs - L
Aug 08 - @ Cubs - L
Aug 09 - @ Cubs - L
Aug 10 - OFF
Aug 11 - vs. Astros - L
Aug 12 - vs. Astros - W
Aug 13 - vs. Nationals - L
Aug 14 - vs. Nationals - L
Aug 15 - vs. Nationals - L
Aug 16 - vs. Nationals - L
Aug 17 - @ Cardinals - W
Aug 18 - @ Cardinals - L
Aug 19 - @ Cardinals - L
Aug 20 - @ Pirates - L
Aug 21 - @ Pirates - L
Aug 22 - @ Pirates - L
Aug 23 - @ Pirates - L
Aug 24 - OFF
Aug 25 - vs. Cubs - L
Aug 26 - vs. Cubs - L
Aug 27 - vs. Cubs - L
Aug 28 - vs. Cardinals - L
Aug 29 - vs. Cardinals - W
Aug 30 - vs. Cardinals - L
Aug 31 - @ Dodgers - L
So, 62-69* on September 1st. That's my prediction based on Matt Cain, Angel Pagan, Ehire Adrianza, Hector Sanchez, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Hunter Strickland, Josh Osich, George Kontos, Ryan Vogelsong, Yusmeiro Petit.