Two weeks ago I said that the San Francisco Giants were playing for nothing this season other than reaching 2,000 managerial wins for Bruce Bochy. So naturally, the Giants have exploded out of the All-Star Break and find themselves 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
After surging into the break winning 7 of 10 games, the Giants didn’t skip a beat getting right back on track and have won 6 of 7 games since the break, laying beat downs on the Brewers and the Rockies. While the wins are surprising, the real surprise comes in the fashion that the Giants are earning these wins. Offense, offense, and more offense. The bats have woken up over the span of the past couple weeks, propelling the Giants into the pole position across the MLB for runs produced in the month of July.
With the G-Men on a winning track now, there can’t possibly be anything to nitpick at, right? If only that were the case. In actuality, the recent hot trend poses a serious question of whether or not the Giants can make a playoff push. The Wild Card is a wide open race right now and the Giants seem primed to sneak into a spot. But with the trade deadline lingering, the question arises again of how the Giants will navigate it.
From a fan’s perspective, it would be fun to watch this team continue playing strongly and keep everyone together through the trade deadline in an effort to slip into postseason play. But this team needs to sell and work to re-tool the roster for the future and reports from insiders around the league seem to indicate that the Giants will follow that path. Who’s to say that selling at the deadline will keep the Giants from playing for a Wild Card spot anyway? No one expects the entire roster to be gutted and it is completely possible that the Giants, somehow, play themselves into the postseason.
In no way should the possibility of selling detract from what this team is currently doing. The San Francisco Giants are on a tear like no other and this run has spurred up plenty of excitement for the fanbase. The Giants will look to carry their momentum back home this week. So let’s sit back and see just how crazy the Giants can make things get.
Alex Dickerson Reviving the San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants have been beaten to death by criticisms all season for things they’ve done wrong, and rightfully so. But in a lost season you take the good with the bad and recently the good has come in the form of Alex Dickerson.
Alex Dickerson came over to the Giants in a trade earlier this June and after spending a couple weeks in Triple-A was brought up to the Giants big league roster. In his short six games since coming up, Dickerson has wasted no time making an impact. The 29 year old left fielder is batting .429 in 21 at-bats and has already driven in 10 runs. While the sample size is tiny in comparison to everyone else currently on the Giants 25-man roster, Alex Dickerson is bringing the exact type of spark that the Giants have been desperately searching for all year.
So why is Dickerson’s quick production so important to the San Francisco Giants? For starters, it gives the Giants production out of an outfielder. As we all know, left field has been a revolving door of players for the better part of the last 3 years. Alex Dickerson has jumped into the role and shown immediate production as part of a possible early audition to make next seasons roster. We’re not talking about bloop singles or infield hits either. 6 of Dickerson’s 9 hits have come in extra base fashion. Dickerson is driving the ball, something that most Giants players have seemingly been unable to do for some time. The current Giants roster ranks 27th in the Majors in extra base hits and 28th in home runs, shining a light on their power struggles throughout the season.
Dickerson’s play is bringing this team to life in a way we haven’t seen since 2014. Even if they aren’t winning every game, the Giants are scoring runs and look excited to play and the fans are more than excited to watch. Each time Dickerson reaches base, you hear a chant break out. He plays with a different type of energy as evident in plays like when he took two bases on the Rockies left fielder, David Dahl, who’d played a ball in the gap nonchalantly. That type of energy is the same thing that had us fall in love with guys like Hunter Pence and Michael Morse.
Let’s not get it mixed up here; the Giants aren’t playing to make the postseason or winning anything this year. This is Bruce Bochy’s final ride and the Giants are playing to get him 2,000 managerial wins. Dickerson is bringing exactly what the Giants need to refocus on their goal for the year. If Alex Dickerson is able to keep up at least part of his production and continue playing with incredible energy, he may very well be able to provide some security to the Giants left field opening.
The San Francisco Giants: Brewers Series Takeaways
As we reach the end of the first half, the San Francisco Giants have not found much to be proud of to this point in the season. A team in last place and with consistent offensive struggles is not exactly makings of a strong baseball team. But you take the good with the bad, and the series against the Brewers will be one of those silver linings when looking back on this season. Until that point here’s my analysis of the series.
- Offense Outshined Pitching
The Giants most glaring issue throughout the year has been their inability to create offense. It’s the same issue that has been with them over the past few seasons, in fact. That issue seemed to fade a little this series, with the Giants producing 16 runs over 3 games. Now that may not seem big but the San Francisco Giants offense is currently ranked at 27th in the league in run differential so seeing the team win a series with a productive offense against the defending NL Central champs is bright spot. While this doesn’t mean anything realistically for the Giants in the long run, there is cause for optimism watching this team continue to battle against playoff contending teams rather than drudge through the season.
- Kevin Pillar Heats Up
Pillar has never been the most feared guy in a lineup. But even this year, his performance has been a little below expectations of the quick footed outfielder. Coming into the series with the Brewers, Pillar had his batting average right at .225. So naturally, he raised his average 14 points and provided a spark to the Giants offense all series long. We were given a glimpse of the spark plug type player Pillar became in Toronto. While no one expects him to be a game changer, if Pillar is able to settle in at the plate he may bring life to what has been a stagnant offense for much of the year.
- Madison Bumgarner Continues Raising Trade Stock
Coming into the year there were a number of questions surrounding Mad Bum. Things like if he would get his velocity back or if he’d be struggle to return to his ace status. And early in the season Bumgarner was touched up a little by opposing offenses. Over the past three weeks though, we’ve seen Bum put up 5 straight quality starts, 3 coming against playoff contending teams. While Giants fans hate the notion of Bumgarner being traded, it remains a real possibility and his ability to continue to pitch well may allow the Giants front office to negotiate for solid return in the instance that Bumgarner is traded. As the season inches closer to the trade deadline, teams in the playoff hunt will be looking to acquire a big name piece such as Bumgarner to help them reach the postseason. Bumgarner still holds most of the cards due to his no-trade clause. But his ability to block a trade does not mean he has to use it, especially if it means he may go to a team with playoff hopes. All of this is speculation, but if a trade is in the cards it could be big for the Giants if Bumgarner is able to continue putting together solid outings.
All in all, the series against the Brewers showed the the San Francisco Giants do not have any plans of rolling over for anyone. The players understand that their numbers still count for something at the end of the day and the willingness to compete inspires optimism. As the All-Star Break approaches, hopefully the Giants are able to figure some things out and play out a stronger second half.