San Francisco Giants' Playoff Hopes Rapidly Fading Away

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San Francisco Giants' Playoff Hopes Rapidly Fading Away
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The Giants got off to yet another promising start to the game, as Torres led off with a solo home run. The Giants would only tack on one more run in the game, though (Pat Burrell solo homer), as they suffered an 8-2 loss to the Phillies.

Matt Cain did a decent job, pitching six innings and giving up only two earned runs. A Mike Fontenot error, however, would lead to a Jimmy Rollins three-run homer that the Giants never answered.

It's hard to know where the blame is for the Giants' poor month of August. They are 7-9, and their starters have not won any of the last 14 games.

Is it a coincidence, though, that this skid comes with the arrivals of Jose Guillen and Mike Fontenot, who are obvious defensive downgrades from Huff in right field, Ishikawa at first base, and Sanchez at second base?

Or should the blame be placed on the pitchers? How are they honestly to be expected to get outs with Burrell in left and Guillen in right covering minimal range (not to mention Pablo Sandoval's rapidly decreasing range at third and the fact that no other Giants second baseman can cover the range that Freddy Sanchez covers)?

The fact of the matter is, the defensive downgrades that come with Guillen and Fontenot greatly outweigh their offensive upgrades (even though I don't feel that Guillen is an upgrade over Ishikawa offensively).

The Giants won 20 games in July, behind a hot Buster Posey, reliable Torres and Huff, Burrell, and their usual great starting pitching. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it..." Thanks for fixing it, Brian Sabean. Thanks so much.

Of course, Lincecum needs to get his act together. Huff needs to get his act together. Other than that, all signs point to Guillen and Fontenot as the source of the Giants' struggles. I was right with my original instinct—these were unnecessary acquisitions.

The Giants have a chance at making the playoffs. Fontenot and Guillen need to go on the DL, however, for that to happen. The Giants' defense is pathetic. And is their offense really that much better? They scored just two runs off of Joe Blanton. They've scored seven runs in the last three games.

As it stands, the Giants are two games back in the wild card, which is a manageable deficit. The division is quickly slipping out of their grasp, however, as they are six games out.


Notes:

Running statistic: Giants' runs allowed per game with Guillen in the starting lineup - 8.33, record with Guillen in starting lineup: 0-3.

Buster Posey is now 6-for-12 in the two-spot. He appears to be starting yet another hitting streak, but it's not helping that Huff isn't hitting behind him.

Fontenot has made errors in two consecutive games. I think the saying goes, "A run saved is a run earned." I'd rather have Freddy Sanchez out there saving the Giants runs with his defense, then Fontenot as a minimal offensive upgrade which is costing the Giants runs.

The Giants have hit four home runs in the last two games, all of them solo home runs. Pat Burrell has hit two of them, and guess who bats in front of him...Aubrey Huff. Aubrey Huff has carried this team thus far, and needs to continue if the Giants want to make the playoffs. Especially if he's batting behind Posey and in front of Burrell.

Pablo Sandoval was 0-for-4. His week of magic has come to a halt.

Affeldt had a miserable return: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER. In his defense, though: 1) the defense behind him sucks, and 2) he was pitching at Citizens Bank Park.

The Giants have allowed 17 runs in two games to a Phillies team that is playing without Ryan Howard. Let's say, hypothetically speaking, the Giants make the playoffs. How are they supposed to contain a lineup with Werth, Howard, Utley, Victorino, Domonic Brown, and Jimmy Rollins in the postseason, if they couldn't contain them with Howard out of the picture?

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