When the San Francisco Giants run silent, you can hear gnats mating at a thousand yards, but at least the lack of sound they are producing is happening faster.
With Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Atlanta, the local Wiffle Ball team has amassed 40 runs in 16 games, an average of 2.5 that is so preposterous that the San Diego Padres would bully them in the schoolyard. In fact, in those 16 games, they had two games in which they scored 15 runs, making the real number 25 runs in 14 games.
Extend the season back further and you get barely more than the same – 111 runs since July 31, an average of 3.3 runs. Since the MLB average per team per game is 4.45, the Giants are losing by a run every day.
This, however, is not news to those of you who have followed this team as it barrel-rolls into Lake Oblivion. These are the same numbers they caked up in 2011 when the Buster Posey injury obliterated their collective will and and sent them careening into much the same position they are in today.
Bereft of hitters and at a complete loss as where to find others.
The positive here is that they are playing faster games. At a neat 3:00 per game, they have shaved four minutes of their average time from 2017 and a full 10 off 2016. Commissioner Rob Manfred would be proud – if he was watching, which he probably isn't.
What is more distressing though to those who find the Giants irresistible despite all their attempts to be repellent, their offense has gotten worse as their minor leaguers have come to display their wares. That may seem logical based on the fact that minor leaguers don't tend to thrive against big league pitching the first they are confronted by it, but dropping from 3.3 runs to 2.5 is borderline frightening for the future.
Therein lies the problem with optimism for the future. It has to be manufactured out of scorecards that are littered with routine grounders to short. There is no phenom lingering at the edge of promotion, no Ronald Acuna just waiting to break. Indeed, the names that have been offered you by the Giants over the years have almost uniformly failed to stick, especially if they play the outfield.
The trick for Brian Sabean, Et. Al., thus becomes having to (a) develop their way out by doing something they haven't done in a quarter-century – create a homegrown outfielder or two. Indeed, the most accomplished outfielder the Giants have drafted in this decade plays for the Detroit Lions – wide receiver Golden Tate.
And we only restate the problem because the lack of an answer is years old. They have struck a variety of valuable ores in the infield, true, but the issue of age is now a profound one from Buster Posey to Evan Longoria and all points inbetween, and the outfield production is essentially an unfounded rumor.
Compared to the A's, who are winning with everything but starting pitching, the Giants are losing with nothing but starting pitching. The comparison will gall Giants fans who regard the A's as unworthy of notice, but people notice. They notice now.
And if this isn't true, then the only other explanation as to why the Giants have become such an easy collective out is that they have given up on the season and are going to take their 75 wins and 3.8 runs per game and call it improvement – which it won't really be.
Unless you really do have a fetish for time of game, in which case you may want to take up bowling. That goes by very quickly, and you can drink during the game.