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Offense’s disappearing act leaves Giants on cusp of elimination

Oct 8, 2012, 1:16 AM EDT

Buster Posey AP

The stunning thing about the Giants’ success this year was the way the offense fueled the team in the second half, even with All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera gone due to suspension.

The Giants ranked third in the NL with 380 runs scored in the second half. Only the Brewers (392) and Nationals (383) were better, and no other team was within 20 runs of San Francisco.

The pitching wasn’t bad either, ranking sixth with 303 runs allowed during the same span. However, considering that AT&T played as a very good pitcher’s park this year, the offense was even better than the raw run total suggests, while the pitching wasn’t quite as good.

Unfortunately, through two games against the Reds, the Giants haven’t gotten a lot of hitting or pitching. Still, it’s the offense that’s been especially disappointing, particularly after the Giants caught a break in Game 1 when Johnny Cueto left in the first. Completely unable to capitalize, the Giants scored just two runs then and were later shut out by Bronson Arroyo and company on Sunday.

Summer acquisition Hunter Pence has been the biggest culprit, racking up dreadful at-bats behind Buster Posey in the order. He’s 0-for-8 so far. The lineup’s first three hitters — Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval — are a combined 3-for-26.

Changes seem unlikely. The two most vulnerable players in the Giants’ order — first baseman Brandon Belt and left fielder Gregor Blanco — have actually looked the best of anyone besides Posey. Belt walked twice Saturday and had the only hit off Arroyo on Sunday. Blanco was 2-for-3 with a walk Saturday. No one else is likely to suddenly take a seat.

The Giants are probably doomed now, but perhaps the change of scenery to Cincinnati will do the team some good. The Giants hit 31 homers and averaged 3.8 runs per game at home this year, compared to 72 homers and 5.1 runs per game on the road.

  1. daveitsgood - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    funny how when they’re playing a team better than the Padres, Rockies or Dbacks they aren’t doing as well. I wonder if there’s a correlation…

    • adeedothatswho - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:29 AM

      They actually did pretty well against each division.

      • pdowdy83 - Oct 8, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        Hmmm 14-20 vs the NL East is not doing “pretty well”. They did go 38-12 combined against the Cubs, Astros, Rockies and Padres. That right there is the definition of bottom feeding. It is amazing that the 26 games they finished over .500 came from that stat. In theory I guess that is what you are supposed to do. Beat the bad teams and split against the good ones. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen it so clearly defined by a team before.

  2. mrredlegz - Oct 8, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Yeah, facing Latos in Game 1 was a huge break.

  3. randygnyc - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Giants have the worst offense of all teams in this years playoffs. Sweep!!!

  4. muckthefets23 - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Cincy is probably the hottest NL team and we all know that is one of the key factors in making a long run in postseason play. The past 4 seasons are prime examples, no real need to go any further… I’m pulling for a Reds v. Tigers fall classic, but I’ll settle for the yanks as a consolation prize. Seeing them get beat would be awesome…

    • pdowdy83 - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      How are they the “hottest” NL team? They went 6-6 in the last 12 games of the season. If you take it out further than that they went 16-13 for September and October. 3 games over .500 does not make them the “hottest” NL team.

      The Cardinals won 8 of their last 12 and 12 of their last 16 in the regular season. The Nationals went 7-5 over their last 12 and they won 18 games combined in September/October. The Giants went 7-5 over the last 12 and went 20-10 in September/October. I chose 12 games because the last segment of baseball references schedule is a 12 game block.

      To me that looks like the Reds are the least “hot” of any of the teams coming into the playoffs.

  5. robotreese - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    A telling stat the Giants are 0-1 with runners in scoring position

  6. temporarilyexiled - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    The Giants haven’t been much of a comeback team this year, and they’ve found themselves behind from the early innings in both games. The Reds pitching is why the Giants haven’t scored much.

    Meanwhile, the Giants pitching has been very mortal this year, as opposed to 2010, where it didn’t matter who they played, they were going to shut them down. Without Lincecum as an ace, every one else had to step up, and it’s easier said than done.

    Also, a guy like Bronson Arroyo, who wins more with guile than stuff, CAN win in the postseason, because the defense behind him is THAT good.

    If my fears are realized, and the Yankees, who can afford to pick up Ibanez AND Ichiro AND Jones AND Chavez AND pretty much anyone they want that in bulk that no one else can afford get back to the WS yet again, I’m at least hoping the Reds or Nationals get in, and can beat them.

    Right now, the Reds look like the best team in MLB to me. I’d have said it was the Nationals, until they shut down Strasburg. I’ll enjoy it more if the Nationals get in. DC deserves it.

    Either way, I think the Yankees have enough pitching to match up favorably with Detroit, and Detroit’s defense is going to betray them before all is said and done.

    We’ll see how ridiculous these comments end up being shortly.

    I should probably give it all a break until next Spring.

    But of course I won’t.

    • natslady - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Really thought the Giants would put on a better show. Maybe they will, here’s hoping. Can’t blame this on Timmy.

      • temporarilyexiled - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Honestly, I’m not surprised. I’ve taken a lot of heat on Bay Area blogs for calling the Giants an underdog. I just didn’t realize how right I really was. Honestly, seeing as the only thing that would make this okay would be a historic comeback, and that’s so remote as to be laughable, I’m okay with ending this as soon as possible.

        But you’re saying it’s not Timmy’s fault. That’s true. But…the effect of not having him as an ace puts more pressure on everyone else. And the Giants’ rotation this year has been good, not great. Great pitching wins in the postseason. Good goes home. See 2010.

        You’re going to test this theory out with your team immediately. It’ll be up to the rest of the Nationals’ rotation to be better than whoever they face. The Reds, Yankees, and Tigers match up with them. Now, it’s up to the rest of the staff to prove they’re better.

    • vallewho - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Maybe SF could have used a little Melky in the mix.

      As far as the Yankees and the four players mentioned, add up the $$$ NY is paying them. Not much considering…..The amount should only be prohibitive to a few bottom-of-the-barrel payroll teams. This is besides the fact that they seemingly did not wanted to play for anybody else.

      • temporarilyexiled - Oct 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        You’re right that the actual dollar amount isn’t that bad. But ask yourself this: Is there any other team out there that can add anyone, at any time, and keep adding, no matter how many? How many teams have their own network? I give you the fact that they do a good job these days with their choices. Gone are the days of King George. But they still can solve problems in a way that no one else can keep up with. They have every right to do this, of course, but it’s different than a couple of generations ago when it was more than money that made them the class of baseball.

  7. thatyankeedude - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Let’s not call this a power outage of the giants that is saving the reds. The reds quite simply have been beasty this entire year and I think they have a very strong chance to bring a world series game to cincinnati

  8. makeham98 - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Hunter Pence has just shown himself to be little more than quirky. . . very little.

    • stex52 - Oct 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      Hunter is an above average player. But he is streaky. I think it goes with that looping swing and wide strike zone. I like the guy’s intensity, but I always thought he was better as a solid performer in the middle of a strong lineup than a guy who carries the team himself.

      When the Astros traded both of them, I thought Michael Bourn was a better acquisition than Pence. That wasn’t the consensus judgement at the time, but I think more people would say so now. Power numbers not withstanding.

  9. johnnyb1976 - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    The Reds have showed up in big series, and when they’re back has been against the wall all season. It’s like a switch they’re able to turn on whenever they want. Giants may go down in 3.

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