Even people in faraway lands know the standard story about the Giants' declining offense this season, and that San Francisco could easily be 31st out of all MLB teams in runs scored (except there are only 30 teams). But now several starting pitchers have temporarily slipped their leash and there's no one to clean up after them.
Since July 20, 2011 San Francisco's chokingly poor 7-14 record has been been hoisted on the back of the team's starting pitchers, who personally took 13 of those 14 losses (Matt Cain 4, Jonathan Sanchez 2, Madison Bumgarner 2, Barry Zito 2, Tim Lincecum 2, and Ryan Vogelsong 1). But during that period Cain, Lincecum, and Bumgarner saw their ERAs get lower and Ryan Vogelsong's ERA only nudged up to 2.48.
Meantime Jonathan Sanchez (4.29 ERA) and Barry Zito (5.24 ERA) fully earned their combined 0-4 record since July 20th, and the Giants' search for a 5th starter has apparently stalled on all fronts. In the demanding universe of the 2010-11 World Champions every starter has to post an ERA that starts south of 3.50 to have a chance of winning-- even the 5th starter.
As a result of Sanchez looking absolutely lost on the mound in his two starts since coming off the disabled list the front office may yank converted reliever Dan Runzler up from Fresno and give the hard throwing lefty a shot a a start or two before the end of the month.
There is promising news. GM Brian Sabean has recalled Brandon Belt from Triple A Fresno to replace Andres Torres who just went on the 15 day DL with a shin bruise. The team may be at the point of privately declaring that Torres' 2011 season is officially a bust and that another solution is now needed at lead-off.
San Francisco's starting outfield has been abysmal at the plate since Opening Day. When longtime backup Nate Schierholtz managed to briefly hit above .290 for a few days, fans were debating just where his statue might be placed outside AT&T Park.
But on September 1st there is a chance that the Giants' first pick in the 2010 First Year Player Draft, the speedy hard-hitting Gary Brown, may get a good long look at lead off. And that would be a treat.