The Giants have been through rough patches before, seemingly almost every season. We see the Giants go through stretches where they knock the cover off the ball against some of the top arms in the game, then turn around and get shut down against struggling arms. Right now, the Giants are getting shut down against top arms and struggling arms, as evidenced by the recent series against the New York Mets.
The Mets shut out the Giants on Monday night behind Jonathon Niese, who matched Chris Heston zero for zero until the Mets were able to break out against struggling relievers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla in the 9th inning. Niese also beat the Giants in New York earlier in June, and the two wins against the Giants are the only victories the Mets have had behind Niese in his past 10 starts.
It’s been a rough go for the offense, having lost all six games on their recent road trip in Miami and Washington D.C., that the front office brass decided to activate right fielder Hunter Pence without a rehab stint. The Giants kept a close eye on Pence, who travelled with the team and took batting practice before each game on the recent road trip, launching multiple balls into the seats to prove he was ready.
The return of Pence paid off, as the Giants ended their seven game losing streak on Tuesday night and returned the favor of shutting out the Mets behind a dominant Matt Cain, who went six innings and allowed just two hits and struck out seven. Along with Cain, the return of Pence, who also drove in a run to go along with making a spectacular catch and throw to snag Curtis Granderson at home plate, reminded everyone why Hunter Pence is so awesome.
Though the Giants snapped their losing streak and seemed to gain some momentum going into the series finale on Wednesday afternoon, reigning 2014 NL ROY (boy, do they have a solid young rotation when healthy) Jacob deGrom shut down the Giants offense through eight innings, while striking out 10.
On the bright side, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy have looked solid in their returns. In his two starts since being activated, Peavy has pitched 13 1/3 innings allowing just three runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out nine. Matt Cain, who won his first game in over a year on Tuesday night, has pitched to 11 innings and has allowed five runs on nine hits and six walks while striking out nine.
If Cain and Peavy are able to remain healthy and log innings for an aging rotation and tired bullpen, it will be a huge shot in the arm and allow GM Bobby Evans to focus on trading for depth and address some of the weaknesses the Giants have. Speaking of weakness, the Giants are in need of some bullpen help with many of it’s key relievers struggling or injured. What was once a key to their success, key relievers Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Jean Machi continue to have down years and have shown signs of fatigue. For many of these Giants, the All-Star break cannot come fast enough.
Speaking of the All-Star break, the Giants will have a solid representation at this year’s summer classic. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will be managing the National League squad, selected his very own and deserving second baseman Joe Panik and shortstop Brandon Crawford, both making their first career All-Star appearances. Bochy is also brining along his ace, Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner’s battery mate, Buster Posey, was voted in as a starter, totaling four Giants at this year’s All-Star game.
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