Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

For the Giants, this season isn't about contending for a playoff spot. It's about doing the small things right and building towards future success.

One thing manager Bruce Bochy wants his team to work on is playing better at Oracle Park.

Prior to the just-completed eight-game homestand, the Giants were 10-18 at home. But against the Dodgers, Padres and Brewers -- three quality clubs -- the Giants took five of the eight games.

"I think you look at it as a pretty good homestand," Bochy told reporters after the game. "We would have loved to have finished it off today ... and we could have, we had our chances. But we took two series against two good teams, so good bounce back off a tough series."

The Giants lost two of three to the Dodgers last weekend, but swept a two-game series with the Padres earlier this week. Then, this weekend, they had a chance to sweep the NL Central-leading Brewers before losing 5-3 on Sunday.

"So, better at home, that's what we've been looking for," Bochy said. "Hopefully when we get back it's the same thing, but now we got to hit the road here against some good teams. I like the way we're pitching, keeping it close and we are creating those chances and that's what you need to do. You do enough of it, as I said, odds are somebody's going to come through for you."

Jeff Samardzija started against Milwaukee Sunday and was tagged with four earned runs in five innings.

Despite taking the loss, Samardzija echoed Bochy's feeling that the team is on the right track.

"We're playing good ball right now," Samardzija told reporters. "I think we even showed it today. There were a couple situations there that definitely on my end, if we get out of there with a zero, it's probably a little bit different of a game and we had our opportunities."

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The Giants head down to LA to begin a four-game series with the rival Dodgers on Monday. After that, they head to Arizona for a three-game series before returning home next week to take on the Rockies.

"I love the way we're playing," Samardzija said. "We'll learn a lot about ourselves here in this next week."

MLB rumors: Giants only will make trades if there is 'significant' return

MLB rumors: Giants only will make trades if there is 'significant' return

The Giants are streaking and it has much of the fan base worried that their approach to the MLB trade deadline might have shifted.

Despite the 11-2 stretch that currently has the Giants just 2 1/2 games back of the second NL wild-card spot, most rational fans have been assuming the Giants should and would continue to be sellers as the deadline nears.

A recent report by ESPN's Jeff Passan suggested as such, giving Giants fans a moment to stop being possessed by Jim Cramer's spirit and take a breather.

That moment of relief now has been replaced by the latest report from The Athletic's Jim Bowden which suggests the Giants could buy, sell or hold at the deadline now that they have the opportunity to play meaningful games down the stretch.

Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson all are attractive trade pieces. While Bowden reports the Giants are having "intense" trade discussions with "several teams," Farhan Zaidi will base his decisions based on how the Giants continue to play and what the market is for those players.

Via Bowden:

If the Giants do trade any of their four best trade assets — which at this point are probably Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson — they’ll do so only because the return was so significant, and their future so much brighter, that they felt they had to make the deals. In other words, don’t expect the Giants to just be sellers as everyone (including us at The Athletic) had been assuming.

OK, now you can commence your best "Sell, sell, sell!" impression.

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After sweeping the Rockies in Colorado, the Giants return to Oracle Park to open a four-game series with the lowly Mets on Thursday, so don't expect the streaking to stop just yet.

Giants clubhouse is having fun, but knows trades could still come

Giants clubhouse is having fun, but knows trades could still come

SAN FRANCISCO -- How do you turn a $170 million team full of guys with multiple rings into an underdog? Turns out it's pretty easy. You just have to fall really, really far behind in the standings. 

Nobody saw this coming from the Giants, who have won 12 of 14 to sneak back into the thick of the Wild Card race just a few weeks after it was reasonable to start scouting the top of the 2020 draft. The turn was sudden, and the clubhouse is certainly enjoying it. 

"It's a lot of fun when everybody is writing you off," catcher Stephen Vogt said after Wednesday's sweep-clinching win. "It's a lot of fun when you're the underdog. I think we have a really good team here and we're showing it."

There remain some questions about how sustainable this is but that's not the biggest issue facing the Giants right now. Farhan Zaidi has been waiting for this trade deadline sale since he got the job, and he all of a sudden finds himself faced with difficult questions. Can he really break up the bullpen and trade Madison Bumgarner when the team has a shot to make the postseason?

Only Zaidi knows the true answer. As fans wait, players do, too. They're well aware of the possibilities and players have quietly been discussing Zaidi's choice for a couple of weeks. They're trying to prove that they're worth a real shot in August and September. 

"With the value that's been put on prospects and young guys these days, a lot of times these front offices aren't looking to sell, you know, but they're definitely leaning towards that side of things, is what it seems like," starter Jeff Samardzija said. "When you go out, the coaches, the front office, they're all watching the games. Win or lose they're paying attention to how it's going and how you're playing. When you go out and play like the way we have -- even in our losses we've been right there and been close -- I think that says a lot. 

"They definitely see that. They're smart. They understand how (the team is playing) right now. I don't know what (the front office's) plan is, but if we keep going and doing what we're supposed to as a team, I think it'll be pretty interesting come a month or two."

The expectation throughout much of the organization is that this will still be a sale of some sort, with a balancing act after the July 31 deadline. The Giants may trade from their bullpen to bolster a needy farm system, then add reinforcements from a surprisingly strong Triple-A roster. They could deal Bumgarner and turn that spot over to Dereck Rodriguez, or try to find a cheap alternative from a team that's selling everything that's not nailed down.

The odds are low, even with this winning streak, that the Giants will be intact on August 1, and players know it. But maybe that doesn't really matter. It's a confident group, one that won't throw in the towel if the deadline goes as we all expected all along.

"I don't think we ever had a doubt about the talent we had in the clubhouse," shortstop Brandon Crawford said, "And that we could win some games and surprise people and get to the postseason."