Nine games into the 2018 season, and the San Francisco Giants have been held to one or no runs in six of those nine games.
And so the call has gone out “The Giants need to start hitting.”
Well, that’s true and it’s not true — depending on how you look at it.
One stat that would indicate that the Giants are hitting, relatively, is their ranking in team batting average.
The Giants currently rank fifth in the National League in hitting. So that doesn’t sound so bad.
But the problem is that almost no one in the National League is hitting in the early days of the season.
The Pirates lead the NL in hitting at .283, then come the Braves at .267. In third are the Mets at .247.
Last season, a .247 team batting average would have ranked 14th in the NL at season’s end, one spot behind the Giants’ .249.
Given that, the Giants’ .239 team batting average this season doesn’t look so hot.
What’s worse is that the Giants have not been able to convert hits into runs.
The Giants rank 15th in the NL in runs scored with 25, and 10 of those runs have come in one game.
Why is that?
Well, the Giants’ ability to deliver hits in scoring situations is one big culprit.
The Giants are 8 for 67 with runners in scoring position. That’s a .116 average.
Very, very bad.
But it gets worse, if you can fathom that.
Of the Giants’ eight hits with runners in scoring position, only four have produced runs.
That’s right four hits failed to score a runner.
And when you consider, given the Giants’ lack of power, there whole offensive strategy is based on the idea of get-em-on, get-em-over, get-em-in.
Well, right now they are struggling mightily on that last piece.
Here are the eight hits this season with runners in scoring position.
HIT 1: Game 1, March 29 at Dodgers
In the second inning with Hunter Pence on second base, Brandon Belt blooped a single to right, Pence was held up at third.
HIT 2: Game 5, April 3 vs. Mariners
In the eighth inning, after Gregor Blanco led off with a double, Kelby Tomlinson singled to center. Blanco was held at third base.
HIT 3: Game 6, April 4 vs. Mariners
In the first inning, with runners on first and second, Buster Posey hit a slow chopper to third that Kyle Seager couldn’t get a handle on for a infied single, loading the bases.
HIT 4: Game 6, April 4 vs. Mariners
In the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, Pablo Sandoval homers to right.
HIT 5: Game 6, April 4 vs. Mariners
In the seventh inning, with runners on first and second and two out, Brandon Belt singles to center, scoring Nick Hundley.
HIT 6: Game 7, April 7 vs. Dodgers
In the seventh innning, with Austin Jackson on second and one out, Andrew McCutchen hits a bouncer over the bag at third for an infield single. Jackson stayed at second.
HIT 7: Game 7, April 7 vs. Dodgers
In the 14th inning, with runners on first and third and no outs, McCutchen homers to left.
HIT 8: Game 8, April 8 vs. Dodgers
In the eighth inning, with runners on first and second an no outs, Buster Posey single to right, scoring Pence from second.