SF Giants parking is one of the most popular items on our site. Here’s an analysis of how things are going in McCovey Cove as we head into the 2014 All Star break.
The Giants started this year with a bang. For several weeks in May, they were practically unbeatable, and held baseball’s best winning percentage for a while. They are maintaining strong position for contention, and thanks to their stellar April and May, still hold the fourth best record in the National League as of July 9th.
But the first half of the season hasn’t been without trouble for San Francisco. Since the 9th of June, the Giants went 7-19, allowing their rival the Dodgers to capture first place for the first time since the first week of the season.
Some ye-of-little-faith types are already throwing in the towel, certain that this June swoon augers doom for SF’s ball club. My how short our memories are of the 2012 playoff season?
The Giants can win again in 2014. And here’s how they’ll need to do it:
1) Start hitting again
You know those annoying sports broadcasters who hand out little kernels of wisdom like “all the team needs to do to win is buckle down and score more”? Yeah, this is one of those suggestions. But with a slight twist: Since they started to slide, the Giants have hit only .231. But average is only one part of the equation. From May to June, the Giants average actually improved slightly, from .248 to .254. However, their slugging percentage dove 30 points to .371. The Giants hit 29 home runs in May, and only 14 in June. In other words, the bats need to get working, and specifically, they need to hit for more power.
2) Starting pitching
Despite stellar performances like Tim Lincecum’s no hitter, and disasters like the implosion of Sergio Romo, in general the Giants’ problem in the first half of the year has been starting pitching. Though it can’t be given as much importance as their troubles at the plate, the Giants have not been able to count on former standbys like Matt Cain. Starters had an abysmal June, allowing opponents to hit .252, even with Lincecum’s no-no. With a WHIP of 1.21 in the first half, SF’s starters will have to step it up down the stretch to stay in contention.
3) Stay Healthy
One big piece of the puzzle for the Giants, as it is for all teams, is staying healthy. Veteran centerfielder Angel Pagan, for example, went on the DL on June 15th with a strained lower back. Due to further complications with the injury, it’s unclear how long it will be until he comes back, and SF sure has missed his .307 batting average. The lack of Marco Scutaro, who may be back in the lineup soon, has led to unanswered questions at second base. The team also got a bit of a scare when Pablo Sandoval was plunked on the elbow Saturday against San Diego. He missed three starts, but managed to get in a game and go 1-4 Tuesday in Oakland. Still, the All Star break couldn’t come at a better time as a few key pieces get healthy.
It’s one of the truest clichés out there: the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Giants have their work cut out for them, but there is plenty of time for good things to happen. If you’re heading out to AT&T Park in the secound half of the season to catch the Giants in the playoff hunt, grab parking near AT&T Park here.