Ten questions facing Giants in second half of season
Will they add another one?
The Giants (57-33) enter the second half of the season with the best record in baseball, and are eyeing a fourth World Series title in seven years...
10) Will Bochy find a way to rest his aces?
Johnny Cueto is on pace for 236 innings and Madison Bumgarner is headed for 232. For a team dreaming of a full October, finding ways to save a little energy would be a good idea. -- Alex Pavlovic
9) Will Peavy keep this up?
With a 2.60 ERA in his last nine starts, Jake Peavy is looking like the guy who was sharp after the break the past two seasons. The Giants are hoping the 35-year-old has another second-half run in him. -- Alex Pavlovic
8) Can Crawford take a run at the MVP?
Thanks to his defense and clutch hitting, Brandon Crawford is second in the NL in WAR (4.2 per FanGraphs). A Gold Glove shortstop with 100 RBI on a division champ would have a serious shot. -- Alex Pavlovic
7) Can Bumgarner or Cueto take a run at the Cy Young?
If Clayton Kershaw returns in the next couple weeks and continues his pace, this might not be a race. But at the break, Bumgarner and Cueto would be in the top three on a lot of ballots. -- Alex Pavlovic
6) Will the Dodgers ever go away?
The division champs the last three seasons have suffered more injuries than the Giants, but they're getting healthy. Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu recently returned to the rotation and Kershaw isn't far behind. They're 6 1/2 back at the break, a hot week from making this a real race. -- Alex Pavlovic
5) Which Samardzija shows up?
Through May the Giants thought they had a Big Three, but Jeff Samardzija has a 6.02 ERA in his past eight starts. Bring the April version back and this team runs away with the West. If the June version stays, it's a problem. -- Alex Pavlovic
4) Will Dave Groeschner and his guys catch a break?
The training staff was worked hard in the first half, but the Giants expect to have all their key injured players back over the next month. Health determines championships as much as anything. Something else will happen, it always does. The Giants hope it's minor. -- Alex Pavlovic
3) Will the bullpen fix itself?
The relievers are confident that this is a good group, and they should be. The arms are good. The biggest problem has been inconsistency, and Sergio Romo's return helps put guys in more familiar roles. Still, better results are needed. Which leads us to ... -- Alex Pavlovic
2) What will the front office do?
The prices are sky high on impact relievers, but Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans have a history of finding the right under-the-radar fit. They could use another late-game arm, and Bruce Bochy will never complain about adding another veteran bat to the bench. -- Alex Pavlovic
1) Will the Giants make life easier on themselves?
The Wild Card Game was exciting and all, but that's a dangerous path. In an even year, the best way forward is to start the NLDS as a division champ, forcing another team to come into AT&T Park and face Bumgarner and Cueto. The Giants are three up on the Cubs and Nationals, on pace for home field advantage in the NL. The bid to lock that up restarts Friday. -- Alex Pavlovic