Giants At The Breaking Point: Poor play of late could send the 2022 season spiraling out of control

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Not only did the Giants perform terribly on Sunday, they did so in embarrassing fashion.

That’s not a good combination.

Innings that spiraled out of control from a pitching standpoint, to lack of hustle and professionalism, the Giants did a little of everything in falling behind 7-0 and losing 10-3 to the NL Central-last Reds.

“I don’t feel the need to call any one individual out. We had a few mental lapses,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We just have to do a better job of concentrating, particularly when games are starting to move fast and seemingly spinning a little out of control.”

When you’re coming off a 107-win division title, you won’t look the same. So many things went right for the Giants last season, it may take years to equal all that good fortune. But right now the Giants are struggling defensively, getting one too many disastrous, pitching performances and not hitting anywhere near what they were a year ago.

What stands out even more is the Giants aren’t bad, in fact they’re just outside of postseason position. But they’ve been less than competitive against good teams, and just plain mediocre against bad teams. Right now, the latter sticks out because the Giants have a favorable schedule in terms of opponents, but they haven’t done anything to take advantage of it.

“I just don’t think it matters the fact that it was the Reds or any other team. If we play good baseball, we beat good teams,” Kapler said when asked why the team struggled so in losing twice in a home series to Cincinnati.

Brandon Crawford was placed on the injured list (for only the third time in his career) after a collision in Atlanta last week, and his return–based on his play–seemed premature. Crawford’s defense suffered Friday and he was given Sunday off. Now, the banged-up shortstop will get at least nine days to recover.

Anthony DeSclafani started Sunday, recorded eight outs, then the proverbial roof caved in during the third inning with two outs and a runner on. The next six batters racked up five hits and a walk, and DeSclafani, just off the injured list, departed trailing 6-0. DeSclafani won 10 of his 13 decisions before the 2021 All-Star break, and hasn’t done much since outside sign a three-year deal to return. After missing the last 60 days, he’s 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA.

Evan Longoria homered on Friday and Saturday, but those came after a 19-game stretch in which the third baseman had just three extra-base hits and none of three home runs.

Luis Gonzales was going gangbusters then his back tightened and he landed on the injured list. Gonzales should return this week, but now that he’s assumed such an important role, can he keep it up?

Throughout the roster, stories like these four are present, bringing into question what the team’s ceiling is this season? The trade deadline should yield some needed additions, but will transpire before that. The Giants have dropped six of eight, and the Dodgers and Padres aren’t likely to wait much longer before they play better and force the Giants to give up on their hopes of repeating as division champions.

On Tuesday, the Giants open a two-game set with the Tigers and starting pitcher Tarik Skubal, who was outstanding in May (five starts, 1.45 ERA), and just the opposite so far in June (five starts, 5.86 ERA). Carlos Rodon pitches for the Giants after he suffered a hard-luck loss in Atlanta last week.

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