DENVER -- The Giants entered the second half hoping the All-Star break wouldn’t interrupt a hot streak over which San Francisco had won seven of nine to close to within 4 1/2 games of a National League Wild Card spot.
With their 11-8 victory to complete a four-game sweep of the Rockies in Wednesday’s series finale at Coors Field, the Giants finished their six-day, seven-game road trip at 6-1. In the process, San Francisco leapfrogged Colorado in the Wild Card race, and as of Wednesday night, was just 2 1/2 games back of the Brewers and Phillies.
Here are three things we learned from a very successful road trip:
1. The Giants are (probably) still sellers
Despite having won 12 out of their last 14 games, there is no indication yet that the Giants have changed their position of being sellers before the upcoming July 31 Trade Deadline.
Trading Bumgarner, Smith and/or anyone else does not necessarily preclude the club from trying to contend down the stretch, either.
Still, the run San Francisco is on has been impressive, particularly offensively, and the club’s position as a seller certainly may not be as firm as it was three weeks ago.
2. Posey’s power may be back
At the outset of the 2019 season, the hope was that offseason right hip surgery would restore some of Buster Posey’s power, but through June 29, he was slugging just .367 with three homers on the season. Since then, he’s doubled and homered twice, joining the Giants’ parade of offense through Milwaukee and Colorado.
“I think before the All-Star break, I got in a better position with my legs and kind of felt like I was getting in a better place,” Posey said. “And I’ve definitely felt better as the year has gone along, physically. So it’s probably a combination of both.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said Posey is “swinging close to what he normally does,” and added that backup catcher Stephen Vogt, who homered Wednesday for his second roundtripper of the series, has been a big factor in Posey’s health as well.
“Having a guy like Vogt, who Boch trusts not only offensively, but defensively as well, it’s been really big to be able to get some rest here and there,” Posey said.
“That’s why I came here,” Vogt said, “to help give Buster breaks and to get playing time when I get it. But hopefully I can play well and continue to catch well -- I think that’s my No. 1 job is to catch well, and anything I can do offensively is great. That’s my job: to help Buster keep his feet up as long as possible.”
3. The outfield situation may be stabilizing
Since 2007, the final season of Barry Bonds’ career, the Giants have had more than 20 left fielders. They’ve had five players appear there this season, and the way he’s been hitting, Alex Dickerson might just stick.
Dickerson had the 10th-inning go-ahead single Tuesday night that opened the floodgates in an 8-4 San Francisco win. In 69 plate appearances since the Giants acquired him from the Padres, he’s 25-for-61 (.410) with seven doubles, two triples and four homers.
Mike Yastrzemski got off to a slow start on the road trip, and was batting just .242 -- albeit with five homers -- over his first 37 games with San Francisco. After going hitless in the Milwaukee series, Yastrzemski was very nearly optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the roster for a pitcher with the team heading into Colorado.
“We were a little concerned there with the pitching a little bit,” Bochy said. “But we also know [Yastrzemski] brings a lot of value. We had to make a tough decision on whether to go with a pitcher or go with him. He was the guy we wanted to start [Monday], so we kept him here.”
Dickerson had missed the final two games of the series vs. the Brewers with back tightness, which may have played a role in the Giants sticking with Yastrzemski so he could play left in Colorado.
Yastrzemski came to life vs. the Rockies, going 9-for-20 (.450) with three doubles and two homers. He was aware of how close he was to being optioned.
“I was getting ready [in case I had to leave],” Yastrzemski said. “But I got another chance, so I’m just trying to take advantage of it. … I knew it’s not really up to me to make those kinds of decisions, so it kind of freed me up to go out and play a little more aggressively and try to impact the game somehow, as opposed to playing scared about what could happen.”
With Kevin Pillar in center field, Dickerson and Yastrzemski in the corner-outfield positions and Austin Slater and Tyler Austin coming off the bench, it appears the Giants’ ever-in-flux outfield situation may be stabilizing.