San Francisco Giants Return Home Full Of Optimism and Confidence

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJune 12, 2009

PHOENIX - JUNE 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants warms up on deck during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When the month of June began and the San Francisco Giants headed out on a 10-game road trip, they had only seven wins away from the fog of AT&T Park.

As they return home to the land of garlic fries, the Giants almost doubled that number, going 6-4 on the roadie that took them to Washington D.C., Florida, and the Arizona desert.

Much like their record, the Giants scored four or more runs in six of those games on the trip to the east, winning four of those games.

Pablo Sandoval launched a home run that rivaled one of that Bonds guy who used to roam left field a few years back, Aaron Rowand only continued his torrid pace towards a possible All-Star season, and Bengie Molina showed signs of shaking out of his offensive funk.

The pitching was solid as always despite Matt Cain and Barry Zito struggling for the first time in a long time. But the Giants won, and in the end, isn’t that what matters the most these days?

They did, for the most part, what they were supposed to do. They took two-of-three from the Nationals, which could’ve very well been a sweep if not for a bullpen blow up in the opener.

It was certainly a road trip where the Giants built up some momentum that they desperately needed. Now there’s talk, whether you agree with it or not, that this team could contend for the National League Wild Card with stronger offensive clubs like St. Louis and New York.

Certainly a different vibe than the “let’s just hope for a .500 road trip and then see what happens” that lots of people were giving off.

The only kind of playoff talk we were hearing was whether the Giants were going to have a somewhat powerful bat that would maybe put them in the wild card discussion.

Yet despite these positive thoughts, there are still the same old themes that have always surrounded this club.

Yes, they scored a bunch of runs while they were fighting rain delay after rain delay, but they are going to finish the homestand against two teams that can swing the stick a little bit.

The Giants can explode with the bats for a week, but can they sustain that kind of offense production for a significant period of time?

So far this season, they haven’t and there’s a reason why the Giants are again second-to-last offensively in the majors.

The Dodgers have slowed down a little bit since their incredible hot streak sans Manny Ramirez, but the gap between the two teams is still what it was when the Giants left for their road trip.

Could it be a case of too little too late in the division?

It’s the middle of June, but once the Dodgers get their dreaded monster back rested and are ready to mash once again, do we really think it’s possible for the Giants to catch their hated rivals?

Now is the time to show us they can compete on all fronts for a legitimate amount games.

The Giants begin a nine-game homestand against Oakland, Anaheim, and Texas; all of them are expected to be a little stiffer competition than what they went up against on the road.

Texas doesn’t have much pitching, but me-oh-my can they swing the bat. Even without Josh Hamilton, they have four players who could step in and be the Giants’ best offensive player right now, which says something about the depth they have in their lineup.

Not to mention that they’re in first place in the American League West.

The Angels have never been an easy opponent for the Giants, especially when they come to San Francisco. They may be right at .500 right now, but we all know they will probably be competing for the AL West crown by the time September rolls around.

Lucky Giants, you get to begin the series against ace John Lackey.

Then there are the A’s, who are no pushovers themselves. They've been hot as of late, going 8-2 in their last 10 games and seeing their young pitching staff shake off their early struggles and are now dealing well almost every time out.

Instead of playing teams well under the .500 mark, these are three teams that are all playing well. Couldn’t say that about any team the Giants faced this past week away from home.

It’s again an extended period of time, like this past road trip, where we can learn a lot about the Gigantes.