SAN FRANCISCO — It was staring Brian Sabean in the face.
This Giants team, the one the Cardinals destroyed 7-2 Thursday afternoon, is no different than the team Sabean put together last season, the one that finished 10 games under .500.
How could Sabean not see that?
He added two starters during the offseason — Michael Morse and Tim Hudson. Two. And what did Sabean get? A good May. Morse hit .289 and smashed five dingers, Hudson's ERA was 1.46 and the Giants' record was 19-9 during that month. Last season, the Giants' record was 14-13 during May. If Sabean's goal was to improve the Giants' for one month at the beginning of the season, he knocked that sucker out of the park.
Unfortunately for him, a good May doesn't guarantee a good season. Far from it. The Marlins' record was 21-8 during May of 2012 and they won 69 games that year.
Forget May. Take away that month and the Giants' record this season almost is identical to the Giants' record last season. This season, the Giants' record during April was 16-11. Last season, the Giants' record during April was 15-12. Almost identical.
This season, the Giants' record during June was 10-16. Last season, the Giants' record during June was 10-17.
Why would Sabean expect anything different?
Maybe Sabean expected Madison Bumgarner to dominate as the Ace of the pitching staff. He pitched five innings Thursday afternoon and gave up four earned runs and took the loss. At AT&T Park this season, his record is 3-5 and his ERA is 5.16.
Maybe Sabean expected Matt Cain to pitch well. He did not pitch well last season — eight wins, 10 losses and a 4.00 ERA. But he pitched extremely well in 2012 — 16 wins, five losses and a 2.79 ERA. Maybe Sabean thought 2013 was a fluke year for Cain.
It was no fluke. Cain is getting worse, not better. He has one win this season, six losses and a 4.38 ERA. He throws the ball right down the pipe more often than any pitcher I can remember.
Maybe Sabean expected Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro not to get injured, but I don't know why Sabean would expect that. Pagan and Scutaro got injured last year. This isn't new for them. They are injury-prone players and Sabean neglected to get them good backups. Pagan has a bulging disk in his lower back. Scutaro also has a bad back. The Giants hope one or both of them return to the lineup sometime soon. The Giants are in hope mode.
Maybe Sabean expected Brandon Belt not to get injured. He has missed the past 50 games with a broken thumb. That's no excuse. Players get injured. The A's lost two starting pitchers — Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin — to season-ending elbow injuries during spring training. But the A's didn't fall apart. They still have the second-best ERA in the American League without Parker and Griffin.