So maybe the first half was a few weeks ago technically speaking, but the All Star Break provides us with a faux "halfway point", if you will. The San Francisco Giants and their fans have been probably looking forward to this break for a while, considering that the last month or so hasn't been exactly favorable. Let's take a look at what the season has provided for the Orange and Black so far.
March (1-0) - This was a fairly difficult month to stomach, as the Giants chipped away in their Opening Day start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
April (16-11) - The Giants made short work of a Diamondbacks roster that seemed a bit lackluster, then went to Los Angeles and took two out of three from the Dodgers. Two out hitting seemed to be the name of the game for the Giants, and they would carry on a roll back home. They dropped their first series against the D-Backs at home, but took care of business against the Rockies and Dodgers.
The Giants hit an offensive snag on a road trip against the Padres and the Rockies, which included a tough injury to starter Matt Cain. They would come back home to sweep the Indians. They finished out the month by taking 2 out of 3 from the Padres. And this definitely looked like a team that could compete with a Dodger team that had been picked by many analysts to win the NL West.
May (19-9) - A month which could be described in one word, surge. The only series the Giants had lost was in a three game road set against the Pirates. On the back of some great offensive outbursts and good showing by the bullpen, the Giants just seemed to cruise through May. Especially against tough teams like the Carinals, the Braves, and even the Dodgers.
The Giants however experienced their first major injury to a key player, as Brandon Belt would go down with a broken thumb on May 9th. That did not seem to slow the Giants much though, as they were taking care of business at home and on the road; and while most fans, analysts, etc. were extremely optimistic about the Giants running away with the division, there were a few were cautious of the fateful June Swoon.
June (10-16) - Baseball giveth, and baseball taketh away. The Giants started off June by capping off a series win against the Cardinals. They even took two out of three from the Reds and were gaining a head of steam back home, where they swept the Mets. The Giants would then hit the beginnings of the June swoon as theys had their first major home test against the Nationals. The Giants would only be able to salvage a game from that series.
A familiar foe came into town, the Rockies, and there was hope that this would be the series that got the Giants back on track at home. And while every game seemed to start out well for the Giants, they could not close the deal on those three games, getting swept by Colorado. At this point there were questions as to how the Giants were going to proceed with then-closer Sergio Romo. Then when it seemed it couldn't get worse for the Giants, it did.
Leadoff man and offensive catalyst Angel Pagan went down with a back injury, which he is currently still trying to heal before returning to the lineup. This provided the Giants with a real predicament as to how they would proceed. The loss hit them hard, as the offense was struggling to get anything going. Not only that, but ace Madison Bumgarner and newly-added Tim Hudson had started to show signs of fatigue as well as the overused bullpen.
The Giants dropped a 9.5 game division lead. There were however some bright spots in a month filled with confusion, frustration and struggles. The biggest one being Tim Lincecum's second career no-hitter. Another was the return of Santiago Casilla, who has provided a shot in the arm to a struggling bullpen, and who would be asked to take over the closing duties for the club.
July (6-7) - While bits and pieces of the Giants "May Mojo" seem to be coming back to life, there are still some areas where the Giants are struggling. So far they have been shut out four times this month. The bullpen has been able to turn it around, but they are probably looking forward to the long rest.
Series wins against the Padres and D-Backs have provided some good hope for the Giants as they go into the break on a winning note. This month has already started out better than last July before the All-Star Break, when the Giants went 4-9. They would only win 4 more games that month to finish out 8-17.
While nothing has come easy for the Giants during their recent struggles, they do have a favorable schedule ahead. They play against two sub-.500 teams on the road (Marlins and Phillies), then come back home to play their fourth series of the season against the Dodgers and then the Pirates at home.