Is Giants' bad offense product of tough luck right now?

Mauricio Dubon

The Giants' offense fell asleep yet again Monday night in a snoozer of a 3-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Putting together just two hits, no runs and striking out nine times isn't a recipe for success, no matter how great your starting rotation is. 

Monday night's loss snapped a four-game winning streak, but three of those came against the lowly Colorado Rockies.

The Giants' bats going down quietly isn't new. It's more of a troubling trend through 10 games. But in honor of the small sample size in the ultimate marathon that is a 162-game regular season, the question has to be asked: has the Giants' offense actually just been hit by tough luck? 

Let's start with the bad before showing the good. 

Entering Tuesday, the Giants have the second-worst team batting (.192) in baseball, the third-least amount of hits (61), the third-least amount of runs (31), the fourth-worst on-base percentage (.284) and the seventh-worst OPS (.644). Not great. 

They've been shut out twice and scored just one run once as well while averaging 3.1 runs per game. Sure, batting average is a thing of the past but only three Giants -- Donovan Solano (.323), Evan Longoria (.294) and Buster Posey (.292) -- have batting averages above .200. The majority of Giants are sitting sadly under the Mendoza Line. 

Now, let's get to the good. 

Even while failing to score a run last night, the Giants did hit the ball hard a fair amount of times. They hit five balls with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. However, only one resulted in a hit. The Reds had seven such balls with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph, and four of them were hits -- two coming as home runs that scored all three of their runs.


Evan Longoria hit two balls over 100 mph against the Reds, both were flyouts. Those two outs combined to travel 751 feet and were the third and fourth-longest balls hit of the night. The two above him were the Reds' two home runs. 

Longoria isn't alone. The Giants as a team are barreling up balls left and right, just in the wrong spots. Though the Giants rank 24th in average exit velocity (88.3) and 14th in hard-hit percentage (40.8), they rank in the top 10 in a number of advanced stats that help paint a bigger picture. According to Baseball Savant, the Giants' offense is seventh in sweet spot percentage (36.4), fourth in percentage of barrels on batted-ball events (11.0) and sixth in percentage of barrels on all plate appearances (6.9). 

To keep it simple, the Giants are barreling up pitches at a high rate but not hitting the ball hard enough as a whole. There are a lot of positives to take from those numbers, however, it doesn't tell the whole story. 

The concern right now is at the top of the order. Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater are relied upon to get the Giants going and give them a spark. That's not happening right now. Not at all. 

After grounding out in a pinch-hit appearance against the Reds, Yastrzemski now is batting .121. Slater went 0-for-2 with two walks but also struck out twice, dropping his batting average to .143. Yastrzemski has 14 strikeouts with only four walks and a .212 on-base percentage. Slater isn't much better with 13 strikeouts in two fewer games, but six walks and a .294 on-base percentage. They have to get going to rev the engine of a slow offense. 

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Baseball is a game of ups and downs, full of waves that can take you for a ride or send you crashing into the sand. Luck hasn't been on the Giants' side, there's no doubt about that. We're talking about 10 games here and a team that has a 6-4 record, including an Opening Day loss that saw the bullpen blow a huge lead.

Give it time. The marathon of a 162-game season is back. That doesn't mean an energizer or spark can wait. It needs to happen soon, especially at the top of the lineup.

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