Leading Off

Leading Off: Giants win, but don’t expect woes to end

The Giants gave their fans something to cheer about Wednesday at AT&T Park with a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox that ended a five-game losing streak.

One huge inning, triggered by an overturned call at the plate, helped hard-luck Jake Peavy win a game for the first time in 19 starts.

Will Wednesday’s victory be the start of a turnaround by the Giants?

It’s doubtful.

Remember when the Giants had a 91/2-game lead over the Dodgers on June 8 and looked like the team to beat in the National League? They won 41 of their first 62 games, and their longest losing streak was three in mid-April.

(OK, we’re getting old – was that really this season?)

Nine weeks later, the Giants are six games behind the Dodgers in the standings, battling Pittsburgh and St. Louis for one of the two N.L. wild-card spots, and their June swoon has extended into August. Even after Wednesday’s victory, they’ve dropped eight of 13 this month.

So what’s most to blame for the Giants’ woes?

The rotation, once among the top in baseball, is filled with question marks. Madison Bumgarner isn’t the same pitcher at AT&T Park (4-6) as he is on the road (9-3), Matt Cain is out for the season, Tim Hudson has struggled since his great start, Tim Lincecum has been maddeningly inconsistent and Ryan Vogelsong is 7-8 after Tuesday’s loss. Thankfully for Giants fans, the relief pitching has been solid, despite Sergio Romo’s difficulties.

The top of the lineup is stronger after the return of leadoff man Angel Pagan, but Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval certainly aren’t “Murderers’ Row.” The rest of the lineup has been a disappointment. Brandon Crawford is hitting .230 (with 17 errors), Brandon Belt (.237) is on the disabled list again, Michael Morse has just two home runs since June 6 and has struck out one every 3.5 at-bats, and no one else can be counted on to produce.

– Tom Couzens


What to watch

Baseball, A’s at Kansas City, 11:10 a.m., CSNCA: Jeff Samardzija has 35 strikeouts, seven walks and a 3.08 ERA for the A’s.

Today’s poll

Which Giants player has been the biggest disappointment?

• Brandon Belt

• Matt Cain

• Brandon Crawford

• Hunter Pence

• Buster Posey

• Sergio Romo

• Other

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday results

Should Tiger Woods be given a spot on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team ?

• Yes: 18%

• No: 82%

Total votes: 146

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