According to SF Giants manager Bruce Bochy via the team’s official site, the Giants are just days away from receiving a much needed pick-me-up in the return of some star players.
The past week has not been an easy time to be an SF Giants fan. The team killed the competition in the first half of the 2016 MLB season and went into the break with a record of 57-34. They have lost seven of the eight games since the break, though.
Even Bochy himself admits the Giants have been in a serious “funk” and attributes much of the hard times to the SF squad’s lack of performance in the batter’s box.
“It’s fair to say that we’ve had some guys that aren’t locked in at the plate. You just hope you come out of it sooner than later.”
“Tweaked the lineup today. Belt’s been fighting [a slump] all month,” he said.
Basically, the team needs to get their edge back.
Well, luckily, as The Inquisitr noted in a recent piece, the SF Giants have a few trump cards to pull out as they roll into the season’s second act that will elevate their performance to even higher levels than it was at during the first half. One of those trump cards, the return of Joe Panik and Hunter Pence, both of whom played key roles in making the Giants a great offensive presence before they were injured, is about to be played.
As a team, the Giants have been hitting for an average of.125 with runners in scoring position since the break, and their best power hitter, Brandon Belt, went 2-for-33 with 17 strikeouts during the road trip the team just finished. Now the Giants are back in good ol’ SF, but it is likely they will need more than just home field advantage to turn the ship around.
Panik and Pence are indeed enough to give the Giants a much needed wake-up call, and Bochy says he thinks they will both be back in action before the end of the seven-game homestand in which the Giants are about to participate.
“I think it’s going to be close when those two come back,” Bochy said. “Panik may just be a little ahead of Hunter, because he hasn’t missed as much time. Hunter, I’d say we’re a week away. Joe could be a couple days earlier.”
The fact that Panik and Pence will be returning to the Giants even sooner than most people anticipated is bound to delight many SF fans, as social media users have been clamoring for both players’ return for some time — especially during the past week.
To be fair, the SF Giants’ shockingly ill-fated road trip was mainly composed of match-ups against teams they are not used to facing: the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, both teams from the American League. The Giants’ next seven games will be against a pair of much more familiar foes, the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.
Assuming Bochy’s hunch about the return dates of the two injured SF Giants is correct, the nine-game road trip taking place in a week will be much more successful than the one that just passed.
There is a third injured Giant who is slated to make a return very soon: Matt Duffy. While the 25-year-old Duffy is also missed, he has not been having a great year and is not, for that reason, viewed as a nearly crucial part of the SF Giants’ success like Panik and Pence.
What do you think, Giants fans? Will the return of Panik and Pence cause the SF squad to soar to even greater heights than they reached before the All-Star break? Leave your comments below!
[UPDATE: The Giants lost their first of three games against the Reds to night by a score of 5-7. Panik, Pence, SF fans need you now.]
[Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP Images]