For a team in a three-way tie for the lead in the National League wild-card, the Giants can’t stop losing. They’re setting a new low bar for teams’ second half performances and, despite being nine games over .500, some customers are ready to watch literally anything else.
It's not hopeless! There was a brief surge of fan confidence on Twitter after Yasiel Puig mocked Madison Bumgarner and everyone felt they had to inform the Dodgers outfielder that the Giants have won three World Series in the last six years. And I’m sure last night’s 2-0 Giants victory at Chavez Ravine inspired some form of happiness, but it also cost San Francisco dearly.
The reeling Giants have lost Brandon Crawford and Johnny Cueto to injury tonight.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 21, 2016
That’s a one-two punch that would demoralize most teams squabbling for a playoff spot.
In the top of the second, Crawford took a gamble attempting to go first to third on a Brandon Belt single. The decision was a terrible one, as he was cut down by Andrew Toles at third base and left the game gripping his finger and grimacing. A trainer joined him for the stroll to the dugout and he was eventually diagnosed with a dislocated pinky, putting him in day-to-day status.
Cueto’s issue came in the sixth, when he stumbled off the mound after a 2-2 offering, and came out of it shaking his left leg. After a brief conference with Bruce Bochy and a squadron of staffers, Cueto stayed in the game, only to finish walking hitter Andrew Toles and signaling to the dugout that he needed be pulled. After the game, Cueto was described as "upbeat" by reporters despite facing a left groin strain.
Cueto’s 2.47 ERA and 4 CG in 18 first-half starts got him into the All-Star Game; clearly playing a key role on a team that seemed destined for the post season. His 4.38 August ERA has been appreciated far more by opposing hitters, who now may not have to deal with him at all. There’s an MRI in Cueto’s itinerary for Wednesday so the Giants can get a better idea of what’s going on in his groin before his next scheduled start in San Diego.
Obviously, losing Crawford would hurt the Giants as well; however, he’s expected to not miss more than one game so far, with Ehire Adrianza inheriting time at shortstop. He may even be able to play through it, with the pinky in question being on his glove hand. Crawford has slashed .212/.278/.258 in September and .250/.309/.393 in the second half.
As the NL playoff picture continues to swirl, now is not the time for important starters to suddenly disappear. Then again, with 27 losses in 44 games since August 2, this may just not be the Giants’ even year.