Giants hoping to turn things around soon
Reigning World Series champs fall to 4-10 after losing series to D-backs
SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the Giants' performance thus far, observing Monday's first scheduled off-day of the season will be considerably preferable to playing another game.
"If there's any time we needed a day off, it's now," right-hander Tim Hudson said.
Being idle won't improve the Giants' fortunes, but it beats the recent alternative. The defending World Series champions, who lost Sunday to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1, have dropped nine of their last 10 games. After losing three of four games to Arizona, the Giants own a disappointing 1-6 record at home. Their 4-10 overall mark matches that of four other teams (1980, 1983, 1985 and 2000) for the club's worst after 14 games since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.
Two weeks into the regular season, San Francisco occupies last place in the National League West and trails the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by six games. Coincidentally, the Giants and Dodgers will play a three-game series at AT&T Park beginning Tuesday.
"The last thing you want to do is get too far back too early," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think we all know that it's time we pick up our game here at home. We have to turn it up a notch."
A handful of Giants have played at the level Bochy seeks. Leadoff batter Nori Aoki, who doubled and tripled while scoring San Francisco's lone run Sunday, is batting .339. Center fielder Angel Pagan owns a .321 average. The only other Giants with more than 30 at-bats who are hitting above .280 are Joe Panik (.283) and Matt Duffy (.281).
But offense isn't the Giants' lone problem, though they've been outscored 49-20 in their last 10 games. Their pitching actually has been respectable. Yet lapses seem to occur at inopportune times.
Sunday, for example, Hudson yielded three runs with two on and two out. He walked Aaron Hill on a close 3-2 delivery to load the bases before hitting Jordan Pacheco with a pitch to force in a run. Hudson forged ahead on the count against Chris Owings, 0-2, but surrendered a two-run single. That essentially finished the Giants, who moved three runners into scoring position all afternoon and grounded into three double plays.
Politely warning a reporter that his explanation might not seem profound, catcher Buster Posey charted the Giants' course toward improvement by saying, "It's as simple as pitching better and hitting better. We have to do better in all facets. I don't think there's a magic wand or anything."
Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, beginning his 14th Major League season, observed that the Giants have received less than the average share of baseball luck.
"The most frustrating thing about this deal is we've been hitting balls on the screws," Affeldt said. "We've been lining out a lot. So we do need a little bit of some favorable scenarios to go our way."
The Giants' latest defeat included a few of these moments. D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock rushed in to snare Hudson's two-out line drive with a pair of runners aboard to end the second inning. Pagan and Posey were retired on back-to-back 1-4-3 plays when they lashed balls up the middle that caromed off Arizona starter Jeremy Hellickson and conveniently traveled toward Owings. Panik's scorching line drive directly at Owings followed Aoki's two-out triple and ended the fifth.