The San Francisco Giants are sputtering in all aspects right now. Ever since they were 42-21 and had a 9 1/2 game lead in their division, things have gone downhill quickly.
The Giants’ offense began to sputter when Brandon Belt and, especially, Angel Pagan got injured. The starting pitching remained inconsistent and finally, a bullpen that was so good at the beginning of the season has started to struggle. This sudden collapse brought back signs of last season. What’s the solution to the Giants’ issues? Read on.
The weakest part of the Giants all season long and even coming into the season was the rotation. Tim Hudson got off to a great start and despite a couple of bumps in the road he has been the Giants’ most consistent pitcher. Madison Bumgarner got off to a slow start, but has picked it up as of late. However, he has yet to really pitch well at home, which is surprising considering how much of a pitchers’ park AT&T Park is. His start against the Reds was a perfect example of this as he gave up 5 runs in 6 innings while also giving up 9 hits and walking one. The other three members of the Giants rotation: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, have been hit or miss for most of the season.
The Giants certainly should look to add an arm or two at the trade deadline that’s rapidly approaching. The obvious two names that everybody is mentioning are Jeff Samardzija and David Price. Either guy would certainly be an upgrade for the Giants and would make their rotation much more formidable than what it is currently.
The problem with trading for either guy is the bounty that both the Cubs and Rays would want in return. They will certainly want quite a few top minor league prospects back in return for their pitchers. If the Giants are willing to part ways with some top prospects like Kyle Crick, Andrew Susac, and Edwin Escobar to name a few, then they could easily end up with one of those two arms mentioned. However, there will obviously be other alternatives that come at a much more reasonable price.
One of those arms would be Jason Hammel. Like Samardzija, he’s also a starter for the Cubs. He hasn’t had a great career, but some of that can be associated with pitching in Coors Field for several years. The Giants have been linked to him recently and he would certainly come at a much cheaper price even if he would potentially only be a fourth starter for the Giants.
Hammel is having a great year. He’s 7-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. This is certainly the best year he’s ever had, so it’s possible that he’s pitching over his head and may crash down to earth.
There’s certainly other pitchers that could come available as the season starts to play out and teams continue to fall out of contention. The Giants are doing their homework on every available pitcher as they know that’s the difference between competing for a championship or flaming out.
The Giants need to aim high toward Price or Samardzija. Those two guys would certainly provide the Giants with a lot more depth in the rotation. The Giants’ rotation is their number one concern. It looks even worse when you compare their staff at its current state to the likes of the Washington Nationals, St Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and even the Milwaukee Brewers.
Those are all the teams the Giants will be fighting with for playoff spots. As everybody knows, starting pitching is the most important thing in the playoffs. The Giants won two World Series Titles because of their pitching, so they know what’s up in that regard.
The Giants have a lineup that’s capable of scoring five runs a game, when everyone’s healthy and firing on all cylinders. The key to the rest of the season for the Giants is pitching. Once the Giants add another starter to their team, then they will be a force that will be difficult to deal with, assuming the injury bug doesn’t continue to effect them.