SF Giants running out of time to solve road woes, salvage playoff hopes

PHOENIX — There’s an old adage that is often applied across sports. Win half your road games, take care of business at home, and you’ve got yourself a playoff team.

The San Francisco Giants have fulfilled half that equation.

They are 43-32 at Oracle Park but just 33-42 away from the shores of McCovey Cove, and after dropping three of four at Coors Field over the weekend, have won only five of their previous 28 road games, a .152 winning percentage. Dating back to almost the All-Star break, no team has been worse away from home, a stretch of futility made only more perplexing given their 17-10 record at home during the same time.

“I saw that stat,” outfielder Austin Slater said, “and honestly, I started laughing a little bit. I thought it was encouraging how close we were and how bad we’ve been on the road. … I believe in the law of averages. If we’ve been that bad recently, it’s bound to swing back our way at some point. Because that’s not the kind of team we are. We’re much better than that.”

With 12 games to go, they are still in striking distance. But there is only so much time to correct course.

A strong finish over their final six on the road, starting with two in Arizona against a team 2½ games up in the wild card standings, could make it all a moot point. But, if they fail to make up that ground, it will be just as easy to point to their second-half road struggles as their missed opportunities against the worst teams in the majors (37-34 vs. clubs below .500) or with their ace, Logan Webb, on the mound (12-14 in his starts, entering Tuesday).

“It’s simple, right? We’re just not playing good enough on the road,” manager Gabe Kapler said after his club was swept during its doubleheader in Colorado. “I don’t think there’s any one thing to point to. It’s a team effort. We’re not playing good enough as a team.”

Digging into the numbers, though, the Giants play like a different team away from their pitcher-friendly home confines.

The offense has been anemic since the end of June, but that has been universal across parks. No matter the venue, they’ve been among majors’ worst group of hitters in most statistical categories.

At home, they’ve survived with some of the best pitching in the majors. On the road, that same group of pitchers has been among the least effective in the league.

“It’s been largely the same people, the same teams,” said reliever John Brebbia, who, for example, has a 2.45 ERA at home this year vs. 4.11 on the road and was as befuddled as anyone else. “As much as I love pitching at Oracle, I don’t feel like a different person on the road versus at home. Maybe some people do, but I haven’t heard that.”

In 27 home games since the All-Star break, Giants pitchers have posted a 3.02 ERA, the second-best mark in the majors. They rank in the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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