A Giant turnaround will be difficult
Bruce Bochy is in his 17th season as a manager and has a sense of history, which he will need to draw on today. A year ago to the day, the Giants were in serious trouble. They had lost eight of their previous 10 games, Tim Lincecum couldn't get anybody out, and they were 3½ games out of first place -- and in fact, the deficit by which they trailed San Diego would reach 6½ games on Aug. 25. So San Francisco knows something about taking punches, and then climbing off the mat.
They'll have to do it again, if they are to play any October baseball. Carlos Beltran and Sergio Romo may well be added to the disabled list today, Pablo Sandoval had to come out of Monday's game in the first inning after fouling a ball off his foot, and in the ninth inning, San Francisco took a body blow -- blowing a two-run lead in a 5-4 loss to the Braves. It was a crushing loss, as Andrew Baggarly writes.
I watched a lot of this game and closer Brian Wilson -- who has had back issues -- never seemed comfortable at all, stretching his back between pitches. He struggled like crazy to throw strikes to his arm side -- inside to right-handed hitters, away to left-handed hitters -- which became a serious problem as the long inning wore on, because the left-handed hitting Freddie Freeman had a pretty good idea about what pitch Wilson was going to throw, and where he would have to throw it. San Francisco is now 2½ games behind in the NL West; they will be without Sandoval for at least a couple of days, and it wouldn't be a surprise at all if Wilson wasn't available for the next day or two.
The Diamondbacks are about to embark on a tough road trip, but don't confuse Arizona with the 2010 Padres; San Diego was an offensively challenged team that achieved far beyond anyone's expectations, and in September, Mat Latos slumped and the Padres' offense dried up. The Diamondbacks won't slump in the same manner; they have a deeper lineup, ranking third in the National League in runs scored, and they will probably get some pitching help in September from the likes of Trevor Bauer. Chris Young has worked through his past offensive struggles, as Nick Piecoro writes.
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