Leading Off: It's time to look ahead for also-ran Giants

08/28/2013 12:00 AM

08/29/2013 6:53 PM

It's clear the Giants' pursuit of another championship is over and has been since the team was unmasked in June as a shell of its former self.

It was easy to think that patchy clutch hitting, poor starting pitching and an uneven bullpen would get sorted out, considering the heights the team reached in winning the 2012 World Series. But those weaknesses combined with a stumbling defense to shoot down any chance of defending that title.

Bad breaks? Sure. Sidelined leadoff hitter Angel Pagan was sorely missed. But poor performances hurt the team more.

The lineup was a forlorn outfit, shining occasionally with individual bursts but never coalescing into a dangerous unit.

So shake the dust off this season and pretend the final month is something akin to spring training: See who might help the team regain its sense of self next year and what holes must be filled with players perhaps not yet with the team.

It's clear what is needed: better pitching (starting and relief); better situational and clutch hitting; a fit, focused Pablo Sandoval; somebody to hit behind Brandon Belt and Buster Posey; and, of course, a left fielder.

Other suggestions are welcome.

What to watch

Baseball, A's at Detroit, 4:08 p.m., CSNCA: The Tigers' Doug Fister has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts.

What to do

Baseball, Fresno at River Cats, 7:05 p.m., Raley Field: The River Cats, battling for a playoff spot, have just two home games left.

Today's poll

What do the Giants need most for next season?

Better pitching

Better clutch hitting

A fit Pablo Sandoval

Someone to hit behind Buster Posey

A top-notch left fielder

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Tuesday's results

Should Major League Baseball recognize Ichiro Suzuki's 1,278 hits in Japan's Pacific League?

Yes: 26%

No: 74%

Total votes: 162


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