SAN FRANCISCO - The trade deadline is four days away, which makes this an awful time for a veteran group to go into a slump. It's still not likely that the Giants will turn into sellers. That could change if the current 6 1/2-game deficit grows this weekend, but there was no indication at the ballpark Friday that the front office is ready to blow any of this up.
Bruce Bochy isn't worried about any of that, anyway.
Asked about the looming deadline, he said his job is simply to win games, which right now means turning the offense around. The Giants lost 3-1 to the Brewers on Friday night, wasting a solid Madison Bumgarner performance a night after doing the same with Dereck Rodriguez. The lineup, which is mostly healthy now, is averaging just 3.62 runs per game in July.
After another lifeless night, Bochy said the lineup needs to "compete harder." This is a group that can seem to float aimlessly for weeks at a time, and Bochy preached urgency.
"It's got to happen now," he said. "We can't keep saying there's a lot of baseball left."
Friday's loss showed a flaw that isn't often talked about. The Giants don't hit a lot of homers, and that has been the focus in recent years when discussing their offensive woes. But they rarely do the little things, either, and on Friday night they were beaten by a powerful lineup that played small-ball.
The Brewers got their first run with two productive groundouts after a leadoff single. Their second run came on a single, sacrifice, stolen base and error. Christian Yelich doubled in the eighth and Ryan Braun flared an 0-2 pitch into right-center to drive in the third run.
On the opposite side, Pablo Sandoval and Gorkys Hernandez failed to get Brandon Crawford in from third with one out in the second inning. Buster Posey grounded out with the bases loaded in the eighth. There was no execution, just a pair of doubles in the second that led to the only run of the night.
"It's gone on a little long, to be honest," Bochy said of the lack of hitting. "You look at the lineup and it's a lineup that should be putting more runs on the board. Some things are hard to explain."
Bochy and the staff have tried to come up with the right words in the clubhouse. They have held several meetings in recent weeks, including one on Friday afternoon. The players haven't been able to find a groove, but they know they're running out of time.
The Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks all won on Friday night. The Giants are 6 1/2 games out of first place and 4 1/2 behind the Rockies and Diamondbacks.
"There are not that many games separating us but there are a lot of teams in there," Bumgarner said. "We've got to get going."