Matt Cain's inflamed elbow, which might keep him out for the rest of the season, has weakened the Giants' starting rotation. Knowing that strong pitching is necessary to compete for a postseason berth, Giants general manager Brian Sabean traded two Minor League pitchers to the Red Sox on Saturday for starting pitcher Jake Peavy.
As Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, the Giants have been the most aggressive team in the National League West. True, both the Padres and the D-backs have traded away some of their expensive veteran talent, but their moves aren't intended to help them this season.
In a dogfight with the Dodgers for the division lead, the Giants have demonstrated that they are determined to return to the postseason. They have participated in the postseason in both 2010 and '12, winning the World Series both times.
This season, injuries are attempting to undermine the Giants' efforts to win their third division title in this decade. But the team's determination to be the best, no matter what has happened to them, has allowed the Giants to be highly competitive in the NL West. The inability of the Dodgers to put together a prolonged winning streak also has helped the Giants remain at the top of the division most of this season.
This past week, the Giants have had much adversity to overcome. Any time a West Coast team plays a four-game series in the East -- even though the Phillies aren't a good team this season -- and then has to fly home without an off-day, it tends to struggle in the next series. The Giants lost the first two games against the Dodgers this weekend, as facing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw didn't give the tired Giants a break.
The Giants even lost their pitching coach, Dave Righetti, for over a week due to a severe case of vertigo. Both Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez have concussions that put them on the seven-day disabled list. After missing almost the entire first half of the season with a back injury, Marco Scutaro returned to the disabled list Friday with neck and back injuries. Also on Friday. Ehire Adrianza, the Giants' backup second baseman who strained a hamstring during the Philadelphia series, went on the disabled list.
Losing four players within a week is quite a blow for any team, especially for one with postseason hopes. This past Monday's signing of Dan Uggla has helped the Giants to survive losing two second basemen on the same day.
The Giants' pitching staff is exhausted. A 14-inning marathon in Philadelphia that required Tim Lincecum to finish the game for his first career save didn't help the pitching situation. And Cain's lingering elbow pain has worried the Giants, and it might mean he will miss the remainder of the season.
The Peavy trade will benefit both player and team. Despite helping the Red Sox win a World Series last season after being traded midseason from the White Sox, Peavy has had a ghastly performance this year, going 1-9 before the trade to the Giants.
With the Padres earlier in his career, Peavy dominated the National League, twice leading the NL in strikeouts and being named to NL All-Star teams. In 2007, he earned the NL Cy Young Award.
When the Padres traded Peavy to the White Sox in 2009 as a cost-cutting move, Peavy stated a preference to stay in the National League, but the Padres couldn't find a team that would take his lucrative contract. While in the American League, he came back from a serious shoulder injury. In 2012, as a member of the White Sox, he earned a Gold Glove.
This trade reunites Peavy with Bruce Bochy, his first Major League manager. Bochy managed him from 2002-06. And Peavy responded with a quality start Sunday night in his Giants debut, allowing three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts over six innings. But, once again, Peavy took the loss in the Dodgers' 4-3 victory to earn a three-game sweep.
Injuries are a part of baseball, but it seems that the Giants have had more than their share. They should be applauded for how they have handled them. Acquiring Peavy should strengthen the starting rotation. This will make the race in the NL West more interesting.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.