The San Francisco Giants have won two of the previous four World Series with Bruce Bochy at the helm. This year, they are chasing history to hopefully make it three of five — but the season has been rocky leading up to the final two months of baseball.
While pitching and defense have been the key assets to their success in recent years, this is what has depleted this Giants team and caused them to stumble and fall back by two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the start of August.
Recent acquisitions by the Giants in second basemen Dan Uggla and starting pitcher Jake Peavy have provided immediate strength — on paper — to a team that was lacking a healthy second base player since Marco Scutaro.
Scutaro is on the 15-day DL list along with Ehire Adrianza, and that is what triggered the immediate need for a player like Uggla, a veteran who can play the defensive position just as well as anybody.
Some have focused on his recent decline, which I understand. But right now, the Giants don't need him to be like his very good self, because Pence, Posey, Sandoval, Morse have provided the necessary offense — despite some inconsistencies from Sandoval.
What the Uggla of 2012-2013 can do is hit very well, and with power, in spades. All he is needed for right now is be a steady contributor in the 6-7-8 spots, depending on the day and the pitcher. He should provide some consistency.
Giants' pitching has been good — but not great — since their hot start. Really, only Madison Bumgarner has provided quality and consistent starts leading to wins, everyone else has been ok — not great.
The ‘Tims’ in Lincecum and Hudson have been superb behind Bumgarner while Ryan Vogelsong and the now-injured Matt Cain have been really inconsistent.
Adding a veteran pitcher like Peavy could help the bullpen in terms of innings pitched since he has proved to endure long games. But after his 1-9 start with the Boston Red Sox, the ‘Sox had no hesitation in getting rid of the former Cy Young recipient.
By the end of May, the San Francisco Giants were calmly in first place of the National League West with a whopping record of 35-20, with the Los Angeles Dodgers in second at 28-26.
Now things looked great for the Giants at that point — but then the injuries came and, offensively, the bats just haven't been there.
Angel Pagan went down in mid-June, while Brandon Belt has battled injuries which have depleted his performance and time and he just has not been able to play up to his full potential.
By June, the month record for the Giants was 10-16, providing a plummet that over the last two months brought their record to 21-29 while the Dodgers have gone 29-20.
In reality, the final two months are when teams see what they are made of, especially with the Giants not in such bad shape and hanging onto second place in their division — but all that is needed is a postseason spot.
The Giants have proved that with a playoff spot anything is possible, no really, anything including a World Series title.
Will the team crumble and crash or will Bochy and the new looking Giants bust out for a push in the final months?
I think winning is more like it.
Whether they will face the A’s in the World Series is another conversation, but I really think this Giants squad can surprise many when October rolls around because let’s not forget when that time rolls around a whole new season begins and all regular season stats or standings are thrown out.
The only thing that matters in October is what team will be able to fight through adversity and every time Bochy has been presented the opportunity with this Giants clubhouse, no matter who is on the roster, he comes through for his team as the general and leader, keeping his team calm and confident.
These new additions will help the Giants, but don’t be surprised if they make a few more splashes in trades on free agency to add some possible depth to the defense — unless Pagan and perhaps Scutaro can return sooner and better than before.