Ray Ratto: Only Thing Keeping Them Alive Is That NL Stinks

The San Francisco Giants had a pretty good run to end the first half of the season. They won eight of their last 10 games and were 57-33 at the All-Star Break.

Well, they’ve been reeling ever since.

The Giants have lost 16 of their last 24 games to fall to 65-49 overall. They lead the Dodgers (64-50) by just one game in the NL West.

What has gone wrong in the Bay Area?

“Well, like most issues of this matter, it’s not one thing,” CSNBayArea.com columnist Ray Ratto said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Their bullpen went south and just recently sort of re-found its equilibrium. They struggled to find a third starter to complement Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. The hitting utterly cratered – to the point where Bumgarner has been as good as he’s ever been and has been on the losing end of five straight games. And in general, everything that could go foul has gone foul. It’s not one thing, it’s not one player. It’s the things that they’ve come to rely on have failed them – and they’ve failed them now for almost an entire month.

“The only thing that is keeping them in the argument for a playoff spot is the fact that the National League stinks,” Ratto continued. “Chicago, they’re fine. Washington is fine. Every team after that, you just kind of cringe. The Dodgers have a million guys on the disabled list. Miami is not to be trusted. St. Louis, their longest winning streak of the year seems like it was two games. Pittsburgh is treading water, the Mets are treading water, and everything after that is rampant mediocrity.”

Still, the Giants have won three of the last six World Series – and have done so with players still on their roster. It’s still possible that they could right the ship and go on a deep postseason run, right?

“There’s no question about that,” Ratto said. “This is not a permanent condition necessarily, but it’s been as extended as their really good run in the first half was. So I think people sort of don’t know what the Giants are after nearly 110 games. They went through a run where they almost couldn’t lose, and part of that was due to the fact that they were playing bad teams, and the schedule since the All-Star break has been far more daunting. They can’t find a fourth starter they like. Their fifth starter is very problematic. Their bullpen has been seriously questionable for most of the year, and for the last five years, it was one of their strengths. So I think what we have here is a lot of, ‘I don’t know who they are.’ And most teams, I think you know who they are by this point. The Giants, you don’t really know if you can trust them day in and day out, and if you can’t trust them day in and day out, you have an identity crisis about how good this team is as opposed to how good this team can be.”

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