The San Francisco Giants had a chance to go head to head with the reigning World Series champions, and they lost pretty bad. In their two-game series with the Houston Astros, the Giants were outscored 15-3. Watching both teams play, it was clear which team was superior. Although it’s really too early to speculate about the postseason, the Giants are not doomed if they were to face the Astros, or any other team, in the playoffs.
For starters, the Astros used their best pitchers in the series, and the Giants used a rookie and a pitcher who has been struggling all year. The Astros’ starters, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, both have ERAs under 2.00, while the Giants’ starters, Andrew Suarez and Jeff Samardzija, both have ERAs over 5.00.
In terms of pitching the Giants were clearly outmatched this series, but when they meet the Astros again in August, they will be better prepared. By that time the Giants should have both Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto back from the DL. Bumgarner has yet to pitch this season, but Cueto was having the best season of his career before he was injured. With the two of them back in the starting rotation, the Giants’ pitching will no longer look so outmatched.
The Giants mainly lost due to their pitching, but their offence will also need to perk up if they want to stand a chance against high offense teams. Once again, that is an issue that can only be fixed with time. The Giants do not just have important pitchers on the DL, they have important fielders on the list as well. As Mac Williamson, Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, and the rest of the injured Giants recover, offensive production should see a large jump.
It’s always hard to deal with injuries, especially injuries to star players. Luckily for the Giants, most of their division has been struggling with the exact same thing. With so many star players on the DL it would be easy to presume the Giants were far out of first place. They are not even above .500, and yet they are sitting comfortably in third place, just 2.5 games back from the division leading Colorado Rockies.
After the Giants upcoming series with the Chicago Cubs, they will travel to Colorado for a series where they could potentially claim first place in the division. Win or lose, if the NL West keeps playing the way they are, the Giants will not fall to a position in the standings that they cannot recover from. The Giants have done an admirable job of staying competitive with so many key players injured. In about a month or so most of the injured players should return, and the Giants will look like a whole new team. A new team capable of doing some real damage going forward.