Five Things We Learned From a Tough Giants Homestand

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you had told Bruce Bochy last Friday that his pitching staff would given up 37 runs in six games, he probably would have predicted a disastrous homestand. The Giants do not have a lineup capable of consistently winning shootouts, but luckily they didn't need to Monday or Wednesday. 

The biggest hit of Evan Longoria's tenure in San Francisco was followed two days later by Buster Posey's walk-off. So yes, the Giants allowed 37 runs to the Yankees and Dodgers, but they also salvaged a pair of one-run games, beating the Dodgers 3-2 on Monday and 2-1 on Wednesday. 

Bochy called for urgency Sunday after a sweep that left his team seven games out in the West. They could have been buried this week, but they took a series from the Dodgers and picked up a game. Before a road trip through Cincinnati and Denver, let's take a look at five things we learned on the homestand ... 

Ballpark Changes

When the bullpens are moved -- perhaps to Triples Alley, perhaps as soon as this offseason -- we may look back on this homestand as the one that cemented change. The Giants already were talking about moving the bullpens, but watching Steven Duggar go down and miss a couple days with a wrist injury seemed to make it abundantly clear that a remodel is needed. 

Duggar got lucky. Mac Williamson, who talked to Duggar after last Friday's fall, did not. On Saturday, Bochy said he would be in favor of moving the bullpens. 

"I know they've been there a long time," he said. "But they were there a long time in Wrigley, too."

This is picking up steam, and it now would be a surprise to see anything but a remodel this offseason. 

A Short Leash?

I mean, let's be honest here, if Derek Holland had a 3.84 ERA instead of a 5.34 ERA, the Giants would not have told us that he hurt his thumb while bunting in spring training. 

The Giants wanted to take a look at Tyler Beede, and so they found a way to shoehorn him into the rotation. Stephen Vogt was added Wednesday and a corresponding move is on the way. Henry Ramos played second base the other night in Triple-A, joining Austin Slater as outfielders in the infield. Williamson is starting to heat up. 

Add it all up and it looks like a flood of changes could be on the way if the record doesn't improve soon. Erik Kratz and Gerardo Parra can't feel too safe right now, and it appears Joe Panik needs to be looking over his shoulder. 

Stock Rising

Madison Bumgarner looked like Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday, sitting at 92 mph, hitting 93 a few times, and getting 18 swings-and-misses while dominating the best team in the National League. 

Do you think the Braves might have noticed that? Or the Phillies? Or the Astros or Yankees, who might be thinking about an October matchup with the Dodgers? Or the Padres, who are trying to knock off the reigning NL West champs? 

Yes, it's a depressing thought, but all parties know a trade is likely, and if Bumgarner keeps pitching the way he did Wednesday he'll enter July as the best pitcher available. 

Posey's Pop

We tend to only look at homers when discussing a player's power, but Posey doubled twice against the Dodgers and once against the Yankees, giving him five in his last eight starts. He's currently tied for third in the NL with 10 doubles. 

Posey has just one homer, but his Isolated Power (a stat that measures a batter's raw power) is at .141, significantly improved from 2018 (.098) and just about in line with his career average (.159). There are real signs that he's getting closer to his old form, including the swing he took Wednesday. Two weeks ago, Posey was pulling the ball just 23 percent of the time, the worst rate in the Majors. Check out what he did with a 97 mph fastball on the outer half. 

"I feel like I've been getting in a better position to hit and swinging at better pitches," Posey said. "Generally when you do that good things are going to happen."

Keep That "Beat L.A" Attitude

The Giants are 3-3 against the Dodgers this season and 10-15 against everyone else. They finished 16 games under .500 last year but went 9-10 against the Dodgers. They lost 98 games two years ago but generally played the Dodgers tough, going 8-11, their best record against any NL West opponent. 

It often seems that there's intensity missing from the dugout and plate appearances, but when the Giants see Dodger blue on the other side they always turn it up a notch. They need to find some way to bottle that up and take it into trips like the one this weekend. They would be in a lot better shape if the team we saw Wednesday night shows up against teams like the Reds.

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