Grindin’ with the Champs: Giants hanging in there by the grace of the baseball gods

Brian Wilson's journey to the DL puts extra pressure on the Giants' pitching staff. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The injury-decimated San Francisco Giants have staggered through August, going 7-13 (16-20 since the All-Star break) and falling to second place in the NL West. The Arizona Diamondbacks surged ahead with a seven-game win streak, only to revive the gasping Giants by promptly losing the next five. The Giants can’t score runs, everyone knows that, and they also know that the Giants are among the very best in keeping the other guys from scoring. It makes for agonizing baseball.

Add a little luck and a dose of pluck, and it is a winning formula. But when teammates start competing for spots on the DL, the one-run wins turn to heartbreaking near-misses. The Giants seemed to have a never-ending supply of interchangeable position players that could plug the leaks. But when starters Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito went down, and closer Brian Wilson and ace setup man Sergio Romo got injured, the strength of the team took a big hit. Rookies Dan Runzler and Steve Edlefsen will get their chance to shine on the mound in the interim. Stalwarts Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong continue to deliver quality innings to keep the team in games.

The Giants come home for 12 games and finish with three against the D-backs over Labor Day weekend. Nothing but NL West foes on the schedule for the rest of September including three in Arizona at the end of the month. The Giants find themselves only 1-1/2 games off the pace despite the long run of poor play. If Carlos Beltran can find his way back to the lineup and deliver some big hits, if Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross can find a little of their 2010 magic, and if rookie Brandon Belt can find some consistency, that just might be enough to complement the excellent pitching. Despite losing key players like catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez to season-ending injuries, the team has kept it together. It should be an exciting race the rest of the way—stay tuned!


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