The 2011 season has been anything but predictable for the San Francisco Giants.
In the first half they lost their top three offensive producers with injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Freddy Sanchez.
As much as the offense disappointed with injuries and the struggles of 2010 heroes Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff, the pitching has continued to prove dominant and even surprising with the addition of league ERA-leading journeyman Ryan Vogelsong.
Despite a roller coaster ride of a season, San Francisco has managed to hold first place in the NL West as their own for most of 2011. That lead has only come under siege recently as the surging second place Diamondbacks have come within a half game of the Giants.
Trade deadline additions of Jeff Keppinger, Orlando Cabrera and possibly the best hitter that was on the market, Carlos Beltran, were brought in to bolster the offense. However in the past ten games the Giants have won just two. Beltran has hit just .244 since joining the team.
In a stretch that began July 29th they have scored a total of just 19 runs, eight of which came in one game, a victory against Cincinnati.
The offense has been abysmal to say the least. Meanwhile the pitching staff has continued to perform, maintaining the 2nd best ERA in the NL, and the best BAA, despite minimal run support.
The slump may have inflicted flashbacks upon Giants fans who endured the torture of 2010 and well remember a horrific August for not only San Francisco, but for their ace Tim Lincecum. Tim Lincecum went 0-5 in August 2010, finishing with a more than uncharacteristic 7.83 ERA.
Lincecum lost his first game of August 2011, 6-1. But is it time to panic for Giants fans?
Well, many are probably already in panic mode. However they can trust that the defending World Champions are not really as bad as they have looked to start off the month.
On August 7th, the Giants managed to squeak out Game 4 of the four-game series against Philadelphia. Trusty Tim Lincecum proved himself once again and was a stopper to the recent skid.
The two-time Cy Young award winner gave up just one earned run in seven innings of work while striking out five. The offense scored enough runs to get their starter the win, as Carlos Beltran and Orlando Cabrera each scored runs and Jeff Keppinger went 4-for-4. Manager Bruce Bochy credited his superstar after the game, saying that "In a skid like this against a great team like (the Phillies), its gonna take a great pitching effort to get it done."
Although Carlos Beltran has been a relative disappointment for high expectations in his first week as a Giant, fans can expect him to find his place. He came to San Francisco with the pressure of becoming the much-needed centerpiece to the offense of a team fighting to defend their title. His career-long success says that he will make his mark soon.
San Francisco’s success has been attributed to the best pitching and timely offense all season. Although the Giants have played small ball and been the victors of low scoring games, including 30 come from behind victories, it seems their luck has run out of late.
On this day in 2010, San Francisco was six games out of first place. Despite everything that has happened, last year's champions are still better now than they were at this point in their championship season.
While hard times have fallen upon the Giants, fans can expect that the offensive additions will make the impact that they were acquired for. If San Francisco is going to get back in a place to establish themselves as the division leaders and make a run at a repeat title, this is a must.