PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants hoped an off-day Thursday and a win over the Phillies on Friday would get them going in the right direction after they closed a tough homestand with a sweep at the hands of the Nationals.But losses on Saturday and Sunday against a struggling Phillies team has
PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants hoped an off-day Thursday and a win over the Phillies on Friday would get them going in the right direction after they closed a tough homestand with a sweep at the hands of the Nationals.
But losses on Saturday and Sunday against a struggling Phillies team has manager Bruce Bochy and Co. still looking for answers.
"Disappointing coming in here and winning the first game and we can't get at least the series, especially with [Johnny Cueto]'s effort yesterday, and then today taking the lead and can't hold on," Bochy said after Sunday's 9-7 loss.
The prize for San Francisco's struggles? The road trip continues with four games against the National League Central-leading Brewers. The competition looming just beyond that doesn't give them time to catch their breath, either. After leaving Milwaukee, the Giants return home for three games against the American League Central-leading Twins. An off-day and a two-game set against the Royals precede a four-game series in Colorado to face the Rockies, who entered Sunday tied for the best record in the NL.
It's a tough stretch. Bochy knows the team must play sharper baseball.
"We better execute a little bit better than what we did here today," he said.
But the Giants do have one key takeaway from their trip to Philly. The offense, which entered the series last in baseball in runs scored per game, finally showed some of its true potential coming in the days directly after Bochy challenged them to step up.
"We've got to get this offense going," he had said after the Giants scored four total runs during the sweep vs. Washington.
San Francisco scored 20 runs in the series against Philadelphia, their most in any three-game stretch this season. This from a team that went 22 games from April 15 to May 9 without scoring over five runs a single time.
Their most dominant hitting and pitching performances of the season both came on the same night this series -- Ty Blach threw a shutout in a 10-0 victory in the series opener, San Fran's biggest offensive outburst of the year. On Saturday, they pitched well and went silent at the plate. On Sunday, they posted seven runs, but the pitching staff didn't hold up its end of the bargain.
"Anytime you lose it's tough and kind of frustrating," Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "Whether it's pitching well and not hitting or hitting and not pitching, either way it's tough to lose a series."
"There wasn't much [offense] yesterday, we were disappointed with that," Bochy said. "But today they fought hard. [Eduardo Nunez] is playing great ball. He's done a really nice job. He's a guy that a team can feed off. He got us started today. Really, everybody did something to contribute but we just couldn't hold them. The 'pen had a rough day, a rough couple days.
"We'll move on. We'll stay positive and keep pushing here and we got to get better. Got to get better doing the little things, whether it's getting a bunt down or making pitches. It didn't happen today, though."
Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.