Giants' Top 10 goals for the second half
Eye on the prize...
At times, the Giants have called their first half "disappointing," "embarrassing," "baffling," and behind closed doors, many more colorful words. On Thursday, Bruce Bochy just used "horrible."
A second half brings a fresh start, but that doesn't mean as much when you're 27 out in the division and 17 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. The Giants still have more than two months of baseball, though, and there are things they can accomplish as they prepare for another Even Year.
Here are 10 goals for the second half...
Play .500 ball
The Giants would need to go 47-25 down the stretch to finish as a .500 team. That's not happening.
A much more modest goal: Play as a .500 or better team in the second half. This roster was well below that in the second half last season and first half this year. If management really wants to compete again in 2018, these guys need to at some point prove that they can have a prolonged stretch of not-awful baseball.
Pass the Padres
This is an important one. This season has been embarrassing enough, but finishing behind the Padres -- who came into the season trying to lose 100 games -- would be a new low. The Giants are five games back at the break. Their immediate goal should be to get back into fourth, and they can make up ground this weekend -- and get some revenge for the way last season's second half started.
Again, this is key: Do not finish the season behind the Padres.
Make sure Bumgarner is Bumgarner
The ace will return to the mound Saturday and he said earlier this week that he feels normal. Still, there's a lot riding on these next 10 weeks, for player and team.
If Bumgarner ever wants that $200 million mega-deal, he'll need to be Bumgarner. If the Giants want any hope in a future postseason, they'll need Bumgarner to be Bumgarner. And yes, if the rebuild ever gets desperate and the Giants need a huge trade chip, they'll need Bumgarner to be Bumgarner.
Bring up more kids
This season has seen plenty of rookies, so there aren't many fresh faces left in Triple-A. But Chris Shaw certainly looks like he's going to earn a September call-up, and perhaps he'll show that he can fill a hole next April.
It would also be a smart move to have Tyler Beede and maybe Andrew Suarez knock some of the nerves off in games that won't matter. Both could be rotation options next year.
Get Duggar healthy
I spent two days in San Jose recently for Bumgarner starts and heard this over and over again: Steven Duggar has a chance to be a star.
Coaches, scouts and teammates all mentioned him as someone who can be a big part of the solution. One told me he's Crawford-ish, in that he'll bring a good glove and get better and better at the plate because of his competitiveness.
Flexor and hamstring injuries have kept Duggar off the field all year, but if the center fielder can get healthy, it could be a short trip to San Francisco.
Get Belt to 30
The first baseman is on pace for 29 homers and he'll shatter his previous high of 18.
Would getting to 30 homers finally quiet the weirdos who hate OBP and defense and only care about homers and RBI no matter what park you play in? No, of course not. Some people will never give it up. But it would be a nice accomplishment for a player who has been a very productive hitter the past three years.
Make a decision with Parker-Williamson
The left field plan failed from the start, but it would still serve the Giants well to know what they have in these two. Both are back in the minors (Parker on a rehab assignment) and both have struggled.
Is either an outfield option in 2018? Can one of these guys bring power to the bench? The Giants need to find out, which is why it seemed odd that Williamson was optioned over the break.
Fix Matt Moore
On opening day, I asked a member of the team's core for a prediction. "Matt Moore is going to have a huge year," he said. It made perfect sense, but Moore instead entered the break with the worst ERA in the National League. Long term, the Giants need Moore to be a No. 3 starter. Short term, he needs to pitch well enough that picking up his team option makes sense.
Nobody seems to know exactly what the problem has been, but fixing it is one of the most important parts of the next 10 weeks.
Through nearly 400 career plate appearances, Tomlinson is batting .292. He doesn't hit for power, but he's a nice piece on the roster and he's probably underused.
The Giants have long dabbled with the possibility of Tomlinson playing some outfield and he'll get a shot early in the second half. It should be an extended look, though. Give him plenty of starts in left. Give him a few innings in center. See if he really is a potential super-utility guy for the bench.
A couple weeks ago, with the Rockies coming into town, a Giants regular looked up at the lineups and said, "Maybe we can play spoiler a bit?" That can be a theme down the stretch.
The Rockies and Diamondbacks are going to be trying to get into the postseason. The Dodgers are going to be shooting for 100 wins. Playing spoiler would bring just a bit of buzz to a season lacking it.