The effort was their highest scoring game since May 11 and matched the team’s highest-scoring game this season. The Giants, who are tied for third in the National League in team batting average, but only rank seventh in runs scored, were in desperate need of a good night of offensive production, as the hitting attack had struggled following injuries to center fielder Angel Pagan and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the latter of whom returned to the lineup earlier this week.
With struggles like the team’s pitching staff has endured all season, but particularly in recent weeks, it is unacceptable to have even an average offense, and according to their run production numbers, that is exactly what they have been thus far. Simply put, if they can not turn their pitching around, the Giants are going to need a lot more offensive performances that resemble Saturday’s in order to succeed.
Perhaps the most encouraging performance on Saturday came from catcher Buster Posey, who went 2-for-4, lifting his batting average back up to .300. He also hit his first home run since May 26. Though he had a fantastic four-hit game in St. Louis on June 2, Posey has largely struggled since late May. His average had dropped from .317 on May 26 to .296 entering Saturday’s game.
Just as exciting is the fact that Hunter Pence hit his 10th home run of the season, and is now on pace for 27 homers, which would be the most any Giant has hit since Barry Bonds hit 28 in 2007. The kind of power production Pence is capable of providing would be a huge boost to this team, and it is something that has not been part of a successful Giants team since the Bonds and Jeff Kent-led squads of the early 2000s.
After Pence’s terrible .219-hitting slump following his acquisition by the Giants last year, it should be interesting to see if he can keep up his success as the season moves along. One good sign is that he is only on pace for 106 strikeouts this season, which would be his lowest total since 2010. A key storyline for this team moving forward will be whether Pence can maintain his plate discipline and be a key part of this offense in the second half. Maybe that translates to the entire team; the Giants’ success moving forward should be dependent on whether their offense fights or folds.