By John Shea @real_johnshea on August 3, 2014
Nobody is exactly sure how good the San Francisco Giants actually are. After surging to the best record in baseball through the season's first 63 games, the Giants have tumbled back toward planet Earth, relinquishing a 9.5-game division lead to fall 3.5 games back of the LA Dodgers in the NL West. If the Giants are going to reclaim the West and make a push for their third World Series title in a span of five seasons, five players need to step up.
Vogelsong was masterful in his most recent appearance, a complete game two-hitter over the NY Mets. The Giants needs more starts like that from the back end of their rotation if they're going to win their division. Vogey has been mostly solid throughout the 2014 campaign, despite registering a misleading 6-8 record. The 10-year vet owns a 3.74 ERA in 127.2 innings pitched over 22 starts, and is one of baseball's most dependable No. 5 starters.
The Giants' slick-fielding shortstop has cooled off significantly after a fast start to the 2014 season. Although he's had big hits at times, Crawford has been a non-factor in countless clutch situations for the Giants. The fourth-year player has already posted a career-high in RBI in 2014 (46), but owns an inefficient .238 average. Crawford has also recorded a gaudy 15 errors at his position, the same number he posted in 149 games last season.
The Giants figured Belt was ready to breakout in 2014 after an impressive power surge during last season's second half. Belt has been a key part of the Giants offense all season, but has struggled to stay on the field. The slugging first baseman missed 50 games with a broken thumb early on before missing an additional 12 games with a concussion. He's managed to blast 11 home runs in 48 games, though, and is crucial to the Giants' success.
The 2012 NL MVP is having a solid season, but needs to take his game to the next level for the Giants to win the West. Posey owns a .286 average with 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 101 games in 2014. His numbers are glaringly more impressive while at first base, causing some to question whether the fifth-year backstop should permanently make a switch to the infield. Regardless of where Posey plays, his run production rate will impact the Giants.
The biggest non-injury related reason for the Giants' plummet into the Wild Card race is the lack of production from left-fielder Michael Morse, who is crippling San Francisco's chances both at the plate and in the field. Morse's severe lack of outfield range has hurt the Giants in the worst way. He's managed to record just two home runs and eight RBI since June 5, decreasing the likelihood of him being re-signed in the offseason.
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