SAN FRANCISCO — The window is quickly shutting for the 2018 Giants, but after losing five of their last six games, Friday’s starting nine attempted to prevent it from closing altogether.
Manager Bruce Bochy and members of the Giants’ front office met for nearly an hour before Friday’s 13-10 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates to discuss the direction of a club that began the day two games under .500 with just 46 left to play.
“We just talked about some things, which we do three to four times a year,” Bochy said. “We talked about the club and ways we can get better.”
Although Giants players weren’t involved in the meeting, they appeared to feel a sense of urgency at the plate as San Francisco tied a season high with 13 runs and scored 10 in the first four innings.
With their backs up against the wall, the Giants leaned on their backstop to lead the charge against the Pirates. Although every starter had a hit by the fifth inning, catcher Buster Posey was the primary offensive catalyst as he recorded his second four-hit game of the season and extended an early lead with a two-run single in a four-run third inning.
The Giants carried an eight-run edge into the seventh, but the final innings were tense for both sides as Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli launched a grand slam off reliever Pierce Johnson to cut Pittsburgh’s deficit in half. In the bottom of the inning, former Giants reliever Kyle Crick hit Evan Longoria in the back with a fastball before brushing back Joe Panik with another four-seamer.
Longoria stayed in the game and scored, but exited in the top of the eighth and was replaced by Chase d’Arnaud. The Giants third baseman was visibly upset after taking a pitch to his back and several members of the roster voiced their displeasure with Crick from the dugout.
As Crick’s Pirates hang around in the wild-card race, the player he was traded for attempted to propel the Giants back into it Friday. Right fielder Andrew McCutchen set the tone for the evening with an opposite-field home run to lead off the bottom of the first and drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the first third-inning run.
McCutchen’s name was certainly discussed in the Giants’ Friday meeting, as he’s a trade candidate who is destined to garner interest from contending teams if the Giants elect to place him on waivers. Moving McCutchen would provide the franchise with enough financial relief to steer completely clear of the $197 million luxury tax threshold, but the Giants will hang onto him if they can string together more performances like Friday’s.
Placing veterans like McCutchen and reliever Sam Dyson on waivers will remain an option for the Giants unless they begin to gain significant ground in the division or wild-card races over the next few weeks, but it will be difficult for the team to part with free agent-to-be, starter Derek Holland.
Although Holland could slot in nicely with a team looking to boost its playoff rotation, the Giants’ starting staff is already short-handed and the organization lacks high-end pitching prospects deserving of late-season big-league showcases.
Holland has been one of the Giants’ most consistent players all season and he logged six innings of three-run ball before his ERA took a hit when Johnson allowed two base runners who reached against Holland to score.