San Francisco Giants fans are panicking. The team has lost ten of their last 15 games and have given up their NL West lead to the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks. Might as well count them out as postseason contenders, right?
Newsflash: They’re only two games out of first place.
While they have not resembled the defending World Champion team that they are so far this month, there are several reasons why Giants fans don’t need to worry.
At this time last year, they were 2.5 games behind the Padres, and Tim Lincecum was on his way to putting up a 7.83 ERA and going 0–5 on the month.
Lincecum and the rest of the pitching staff (with a few minor exceptions) have given the team no reason to worry. They have put up good numbers so far this month, despite the losing streak. The offense looks terrible, but that's all about to change.
These are the five reasons why nobody should count San Francisco out as a repeat threat any time soon.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a young team. They started off the season slow, but have quietly crept up the standings, first surpassing the Colorado Rockies.
In a recent hot streak, in which the team has won eleven out of their last fifteen games, they took a two-game lead over the defending champion San Francisco Giants.
Justin Upton, the first overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, is having an MVP season. The young outfielder is leading this offense that continues to produce, ranking seventh in the majors in runs scored. The team is being carried by their power hitters and have a surprisingly potent lineup.
Ian Kennedy has been a good No. 1 starter. He is now 15-3 on the season after winning in his seventh-straight start. However, the D–Backs pitching staff is not going to win them a World Series.
In the postseason, it’s all about pitching, and Arizona does not have what it takes. They will not be able to compete with San Francisco down the stretch.
Arizona will fail to keep up with their current pace for the remaining two months of the season. On July 28th, San Francisco lead the NL West by 4.5 games. Arizona was only able to gain the lead because of terrific timing.
Just when the Diamondbacks caught fire, the San Francisco Giants slipped into a humbling slump in which they won just three of their past 14 games. The losing streak included dropping two out of three to Arizona.
You can bet that San Francisco will get out of their funk and the Diamondbacks will return to earth.
Yes, Giants fans are panicking. The team has had a truly disastrous losing streak.
However, in that streak, five of their last eleven losses came in quality starts.
Regardless of how bad the offense has been, the pitching staff remains one of the best in the league. The Giants currently lead the majors with the lowest opponents batting average, have the second best ERA and the second most quality starts.
The staff will continue to perform. When the offense comes around, this team will go back to their winning ways.
The Giants newly-acquired offensive centerpiece has yet to make an impact in the lineup. Beltran has played in only eleven games with San Francisco. They have only won three of those games.
The veteran right fielder is currently sidelined with a strained wrist. If he does not return to the playing field soon, it is likely that the Giants will be forced to send him to the disabled list.
While Beltran is day-to-day with the injury now, he is not expected to be out too long.
The Giants have missed his presence in the past few games and will benefit greatly from a strong return from the All-Star.
During the team’s recent skid, Pablo Sandoval’s consistent offensive performance has been overlooked.
In fact, Sandoval is hitting .375 in August and has hit three home runs in the past week.
Although he can’t carry the team alone, Sandoval will stay hot. When Beltran returns from injury, the two will make for a dangerous 3-4 punch in the lineup.
The Giants are currently two games out of first place in the NL West. At this time last year, they were 2.5 games out.
Last year, the San Diego Padres lost 10 games in a row and allowed the Giants to take over the division. In 2011, it is San Francisco that has embarked on a losing streak that has made room for Arizona to move up in the standings.
There is still plenty of baseball to be played; however, the season may very well come down to the 162nd game again in the NL West.