Loyalty a high priority for consistent, 'resilient' club in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants are definitely not a "what have you done for me in the last 15 minutes?" organization.
Yes, there have been some serious struggles going on with this club. The Giants had pitching issues early and run-scoring problems lately. But the one thing that hasn't eroded is the organizational loyalty.
When Giants manager Bruce Bochy discusses his players, including the shortcomings in the recent performances of those players, the operative all-purpose phrase for those players remains "our guys."
Those players -- "our guys" in the San Francisco terminology -- did something that nobody else in baseball was able to do. They won two World Series championships in the last three years.
Any serious discussion of the Giants and their recent struggles probably ought to include that fact, just as a reminder that slump-ridden though they might be, these same Giants have some mighty powerful arguments on their resumes.
Over the weekend, the Giants lost two out of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, dropping the Sunday finale, 4-1. Their hitting slump continued like a common cold that refuses to clear up. They scored only seven runs against the rival Dodgers, and in the one game the Giants won, three of their four runs were unearned.
This was the continuation of a slump that has been in effect for roughly three weeks. The Giants are 5-16 over their last 21 games, with a total of 50 runs scored over that period.
The more recent numbers are even less encouraging. The Giants had a 1-8 road trip, part of losing 11 of their last 13.
But the one thing you most likely won't see with the Giants is a major shakeup. And on the basis of what these players have achieved over the past three-plus season, a shakeup isn't deserved.
At one point during the weekend session with the manager, it was suggested to Bochy that he could shake up the lineup or at least threaten to make sweeping changes. Bochy responded by saying that the lineup had been "tweaked a little," catalogued the tweaks and noted that his club had simultaneously had to deal with some injuries. Then he came to the core of the matter.
"These are our guys, though," Bochy said. "These guys have done a lot of good things here. You know [the slump] feels like it's been forever, but it's been maybe three weeks. It's getting long, but still, they are our guys and we're going to stay behind them."
If this were just one or two players with reduced production, that would be something else. But the Giants' failure to produce timely hits is much wider in scope than that. Over a 15-game stretch, the Giants were 12-for-97 (.124) with runners in scoring position.
In response to all this, Bochy methodically went through the names of his position players, allowing a little time for thought with each name. The connection was clear. Every single player had contributed something important to this club.
"It's going to come down to these guys getting back to being the players that they are," Bochy said.
Bochy does not believe that the intangible qualities of his club have diminished during this slump.
"Really, the mood, the tempo, the spirit of the club has been pretty good despite what we're going through," the manager said.
"They're fighting. I know when you go through something like this and you don't score a lot of runs, you look flat. But they're doing the work, they're doing all we're asking. It's all we can do, just keep coming out here every day and keep believing that you're going to come out of this thing.
"The most important thing is keep working. These guys have been doing that. They're doing all they can to come out of this thing."
There is a track record here of coming back from adversity. The Giants had to come back from well off the pace to win the National League West in 2010. In the '12 postseason, they had to come back from the brink of elimination in two straight series.
"This is a club that's always been resilient," Bochy said. "They've had the ability to bounce back from tough losses, streaks. They've been down before. They find a way to get it done. I don't think that they're doubting themselves that it will happen."
There is help coming on the pitching side. Chad Gaudin returned to the rotation from the disabled list Sunday and was superb for seven innings. Santiago Casilla, a valuable setup man, may be just days away from rejoining the Giants' bullpen. And Bochy estimates that Ryan Vogelsong will be back in the rotation in less than a month.
One more mitigating factor: for all the gnashing of teeth about the Giants' recent non-performance, the club left AT&T Park on Sunday 6 1/2 games out of first place. Nobody else in the division has provided serious indications of dominant play to come.
Everything that Bochy said argued against a shakeup of his club. And those two World Series titles in the last three years argue against a shakeup, too.