Reds vs. Giants Game 3: Will the Giants EVER Assemble a Scary Offense?

Doug MeadCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 09:  Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants hits a single in the 10th inning against the Cincinnati Reds in Game Three of the National League Division Series at the Great American Ball Park on October 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Up until the 10th inning of Game 3 in the National League Division Series between the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds, the Giants were hitting just .113 for the entire series.

Then the bats woke up.

Well, sort of.

Courtesy of Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, the Giants stayed alive in the series. Rolen's second error of the series scored Buster Posey with the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. Posey had reached with a single to lead off the inning, just the second hit in the game for the Giants.

While the normally sure-handed Rolen lent a helping hand—so to speak—the Giants are still pondering a complete lack of offense.

First, they're completely confounded by Bronson Arroyo on Sunday, held to just one hit in seven innings. Tuesday night, Homer Bailey does the exact same, throwing a career-high 10 strikeouts to boot.

The Giants' table-setters at the top of the lineup—Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro—are now a combined 2-for-24 in the series (.083). Pretty hard to score runs when your top two in the lineup provide that kind of impotence.

We are now seeing what is no doubt a troubling trend. Last year, the Giants posted the second-lowest team ERA in the majors, yet found themselves hitting the links in October because their offense was the second-worst in the majors.

This season, the pitching staff once again did their part, finishing seventh in the majors with a 3.68 ERA. The offense at least chipped in more than last year, scoring 718 runs to finish 12th in the majors.

However, it's a punchless offense. The Giants finished dead last in the majors with 103 home runs. Only 31 of those came at home in AT&T Park. On Tuesday night, the Giants were saved by an error from a Gold Glove-winning third baseman. Thank heavens they didn't need the long ball—Giants fans would have gone home disappointed.

Obviously, the spacious confines of AT&T Park don't help the Giants' cause offensively. Scoring just two runs in two home playoff games was clear evidence of that fact.

GM Brian Sabean clearly now needs to spend this offseason attracting some talent that can actually reach beyond the outfield with a few fly balls. Small ball isn't working for the Giants. That's now apparent.

It may work in the regular season against pitching staffs that aren't playoff-caliber—not against a staff like the Reds, or even the Nationals or Cardinals, for that matter.

We saw what happens when a team relies completely on its pitching staff to carry it through the season. That's why the Giants were sitting at home last October. This year, Sabean brought in some talent with Pagan, Melky Cabrera and later, Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence.

Obviously, Cabrera's new-found offense was fueled, and Pagan and Scutaro—while both are solid contributors—don't have home-run power, especially at home. Ditto for Pence, who clubbed just seven homers in 59 games following his trade from the Phillies.

Sabean must find some power to complement his stellar pitching staff. Otherwise, even postseason appearances will be short-lived.

The Giants' current season now falls on the shoulders of Barry Zito, who hasn't started a postseason game since October 2006 with the Oakland A's.

Lucky for Zito, he'll have an offense hitting .126 to back him up.


Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.