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Giants suddenly faltering

The San Francisco Giants appeared as though they were going to cruise to the National League West title at the begining of July. With Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked all but sunk, perhaps only able to set sights on a wild card berth.

Fast forward to July 27, and the Dodgers are gaining quickly. Los Angeles only trails the Giants by 2.5 games in the division, with San Francisco playing horrific ball. The Giants are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and the Dodgers are 6-4 in that stretch, certainly not setting Major League Baseball ablaze but playing steady.

For San Francisco, this has to be perplexing. Teams with very good pitching don’t often go into prolonged funks, and yet that is where the Giants find themselves. Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner offer one of the best trios in baseball, and yet it has not been enough. The team certainly misses outfielder Hunter Pence, who is currently on the DL, but the problems are clearly deeper than that at the moment.

Offensively, San Francisco is a limited team trying to get by. Buster Posey and Brandon belt are the only two players in double digits for home runs, swatting a combined 23. Posey is also leading the team in qualified players for average, hitting .289. When nobody on the team has a great average or 15 home runs by the end of July, it is obvious the pitching will have to win the day, every day.

General manager Brian Sabean needs to upgrade his lineup in a major way before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. He needs to be scouring every seller, perhaps targeting Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins or Kole Calhoun of the Los Angels Angels. Sabean could do well to look within his own division and ask the Colorado Rockies what it would take to land Carlos Gonzalez. The price tag would be high, but the Rockies are motivated to sell with Gonzalez hitting the 30-year-old plateau this year.

Without upgrading the offense, which also does not have a single player with stolen bases in the double digits, the Giants are going to struggle in October. Yes, this is the team thathas won three World Series in five years largely because of great pitching, but those teams had some pop. Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval are long gone, though, and without some better hitting, teams with great pitching like the Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs will mow through San Francisco.

The Giants still have a few days to make something happen. They have the minor league system to entice an organization into a big move. Evan Longoria would be a perfect fit, so maybe Sabean zeroes in there.

Whatever he does, he has to do something to help the Giants.

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