Déjà Vu All Over Again: San Francisco Giants Can't Kick The Road Funk

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IAugust 17, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 16:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants looks on after surrendering a fifth inning home run against Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets on August 16, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants' lack success away from the friendly confines of AT&T Park has been well chronicled as the games go and the team keeps on putting out clunker after clunker during a time they need wins the most.

Great pitching and non-existent hitting—that's what sums up the Giants' road performances as the 2009 season as gone on.

How bad has it been this year with the sticks? Let's play a little compare and contrast.

Home: 4.38 runs per game in 59 games (39-20 record)

Road: 3.51 runs per game in 58 games (24-34 record)

Even with the best pitching staff in the game, those kind of run numbers on the road aren't going to get it done and the record reflects just that.

The beginning of the current season-high 11-game road trip has produced more of the same frustrations that we all saw to begin the season, to begin the second half, and basically every road trip in between.

Not only has the offense been non-existent, the starting pitching has been as solid as it has been all year. Barry Zito was strong over five innings Friday night, Matt Cain shook off hitting David Wright in the head to twirl another gem over 7 1/3 innings, and Jonathan Sanchez (pictured in the aftermath of one of his few mistakes on Sunday) had one of his best starts in the second half, if not the season.

The Gents have scored just three runs in games not pitched by two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana. In those games the Giants weren't facing world-beaters or anything like that. Rather, they were facing a guy making his second career start in Bobby Parnell and another who is sub-.500 for his career in Mike Pelfrey.

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In the two losses, the Giants recorded a measly eight hits. In the win Saturday, the Giants smack out nine against Cy Santana and 11 total for the game.

Baseball is definitely a funny game, but does that make any sense?

The constant thing in every game, and all season long for that matter, is the inability to hit with runners in scoring position. In three games, the Giants have gone just 4-for-19.

When you're a team that doesn't hit many home runs at all outside of Pablo Sandoval, situational hitting is a must. The Giants aren't doing any of it.

There’s only so much one panda can do when the offense is struggling. If there aren’t any hitters getting on-base in front of him, Sandoval isn’t going to have a chance to drive in runs. And with the Giants going the way they are right now, teams are just going to start pitching around him—as hard as it that may with his strike zone being seemingly immeasurable.

Would you rather face a guy like Sandoval or some veterans who seemed to be mired in slumps that they can’t snap out of?

However, because the offense is average at best, mistakes can’t happen. The Giants can grind out games all they want, but they can’t give teams extra outs, missing a pitch location—whatever it is, the Giants have to keep it to a minimum.

It’s not just Fred Lewis booting balls in left, the microscope has to be on everybody. He may get the bulk of the criticism, and rightfully so, but that doesn’t mean other mistakes are excusable.

We're past the point in the season where we can think that things will get better. They have to. The Giants are contending for the National League Wild Card and trying to catch a Colorado Rockies and keep a surging Florida Marlins ball club that are just a half-game behind them in the standings.

It’s somewhat simple to catch a team in the standings when you’re in the same division. But if you are falling behind two or three teams that aren’t in the same division, then you have to win games against different competition and then hope for some help.

What perfect timing to kick things into gear when the Giants finish the trip in Rocky Mountains?

A winning road trip won’t win the Giants a playoff spot, but it could certainly hurt the chances with a losing record. The last time the Giants hit the road for an extended period of time, they managed just three wins and could be barely get a couple of runs across on the board.

Unfortunately, things are looking like another road trip with the same kind of results.

It’s time to stop making things look like we’re living in déjà vu land.

Leave that up to Yogi Berra and the Yankees.