There’s a long list of things in this world that don’t make sense to me. This list includes, but is not limited to, pop-up ads, racists, why I had to learn geometry my sophomore year of high school, and how the Giants are actually still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Most teams that go 7-13 to start off August would find themselves in the cellar faster than Orlando Cabrera ends an at-bat. But thanks to some fortunately timed bad luck for Arizona, the Giants are suddenly one game out of first place with Carlos Beltran set to return from the DL sometime this week.
The strangest part of it all is amidst the complete misery of losing a series to the Astros, the Giants actually gained a game in a half during that time span. The hitting is still kind of wretched, but we only really need an upgrade to “passably functional” to complement the lights-out pitching staff. Interestingly enough, Brandon Belt has directly contributed to two wins since he became a regular in Florida. Now imagine if Belt had gotten to hang around (and play) all through May, June, and July. Simply put, the Giants have a markedly better chance at winning with Belt in the lineup.
This leads us to the speculation as to who gets the boot once (or if) Beltran comes back. My greatest fear is that Beltran’s return will spell the end of Belt being a regular once again, which would or course represent a complete failure on management’s part. In a perfect world, Beltran comes back, plays right field, and hits 3rd, Belt plays left, and Cody Ross/Nate Schierholtz split time. This is of course a dream world where Bruce Bochy is interested in developing young players with potential. If this ends up being what happens, fantastic. But if it’s not, you can expect the interwebs to explode with anger, much the same way they have every time Belt has been demoted.
With the bevy of injured players slowly but surely coming back (Sergio Romo is due back Thursday), the Giants enter a part of their schedule that is at the very least merciful. They finish off the month playing the Padres, Astros, and Cubs, all at home, making it a perfect time to make an assault on the division lead. In that same period, the DBacks play the surprisingly OK Nationals, the Padres, and the Rockies, mostly at home. This is then followed by a 3-game set in San Francisco which could very well set the tone for the rest of the season. Arizona couldn’t take advantage of the Giants’ scuffling. The Giants need to do the opposite right now, as the DBacks offense has been eerily similar to our own, having not scored more than three runs in a game in over a week.
That’s right folks, as frustrated as we’ve been with our team’s ineptitude at the plate, the DBacks have somehow managed to do the same as of late. We’ve spread our injury curse to Philadelphia (who just DL’ed Rollins and Hamels) and now Arizona has caught our hitting curse. Now more than ever the Giants need to take advantage of a favorable schedule coming at the same time as injured players returning. This series against the Padres should be a good barometer of the next few weeks, so I’m predicting we come out of this series either completely deflated or utterly exuberant. Why? Because there’s no such thing as a middle ground with this team and you know it.