SUNDAY: Pirates 13, Giants 2: BOX SCORE
Well, the first half of the season couldn’t have ended with a bigger thud.
Tim Lincecum got rocked … AGAIN.
The bullpen didn’t do much better.
The offense could muster much until Pablo Sandoval smacked a home run in the sixth.
And the Giants were humbled by the Pirates 13-2.
The loss ended a 1-5 road trip, and the Giants entered the All-Star break having dropped seven of their past nine games.
It was enough to send many Giants fans into panic or despair on Twitter.
But rather than add to the misery, MoreSplashHits would rather offer hope.
So here are seven reasons why Giants fans should have a more positive outlook entering the second half the season.
1. The Giants didn’t get shutout — We’ve used this one before, but it’s a positive note. Sandoval’s two-run shot avoided another shutout. The Giants have been shut out three times this season, but none by another National League team. The Giants are the only NL team not to be shut out by another NL this season.
2. The Giants can’t lose a game for four consecutive days — The All-Star break really couldn’t have come at a better time for the Giants. They looked worn out on the East Coast road trip in sweltering temperatures. The Giants’ shallow bench has put a lot of strain on the starters. They could use the rest. And this year, the All-Star break is a full four days. The Giants are meeting in San Francisco for a workout Thursday, but manager Bruce Bochy would be wise to let All-Stars Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera have the day off (Pablo Sandoval doesn’t need another day off)
3. The Giants are only a half-game out in the NL West — When the Giants started this most-recent slump, they led the NL West by one game. Despite losing 7 of 9, they still find themselves only a half-game back of the Dodgers.
4. The Giants play in the NL West — Some people were trying to say how the Giants fared on this recent road trip would determine how they would fare in the playoff hunt. Not true. What’s important is how they fare against the NL West. They are 15-11 against the West this season, and every game from Labor Day on will be against NL West foes. The division is the most winnable in the NL. The Dodgers will be getting Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier back, but there are still weaknesses (especially with starting pitching after Kershaw and Capuano). And the same can be said for the Diamondbacks. They are both dangerous and vulnerable.
5. Home sweet home —The Giants come out of the break with 13 of their first 19 games being played at AT&T, where Giants pitchers have an ERA of 2.42. The road ERA is 4.85. With the Giants’ offense, keeping the opponents’ scoring down helps the team win. The Dodgers open the second half with six at home before going out on a 10-game road trip. Arizona opens the second half with a seven-game road trip.
6. Schedule a bit softer — The current winning percentage of teams on the Giants’ schedule in the second half of the season is .462. Of the Giants’ remaining 76 games, 34 (almost 45 percent) are against teams that currently have a winning percentage below .400. Among the best NL teams, they don’t see the Pirates or Reds anymore. They only have three games vs. the Nationals (all at home) and four vs. the Mets (all at home). The toughest road games are seven games against the Braves (3) and Cardinals (4). By comparison, the Dodgers, who got fat off a soft early schedule, still have 20 road games against the Mets, Pirates, Cardinals, Braves, Nationals and Reds. Arizona has 11 road games against the Reds, Pirates and Cardinals.
7. Cooler games ahead — After watching the Giants wilt in the heat of the East Coast last week, it’s refreshing to note that the Giants only have six more games to be played in the Eastern Time Zone (July 15-22 at Atlanta and Philadelphia) this season, and only 10 games in hot and humid towns (Atlanta, Philadelphia and St. Louis). Their trip to Chicago comes over Labor Day weekend, when average daytime highs are about 80 degrees. The rest of their games are in the Pacific or Mountain time zones or at indoor stadiums.