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The Giants are unable to win a third straight game yet again

Written by on May 10, 2024

The longest road trip of the San Francisco Giants’ season is over. Never speak of it again.

Even after losing to the Rockies on Thursday, the Giants are playing .667 ball over their past three games (a 108-win pace!), so perhaps it’s not the time to get hyper-negative. Never look a gift series at Coors Field in the mouth.

Still, the Giants went 3-7 on the trip, and it felt much, much worse than that.

The Giants left San Francisco with two catchers on the roster, and they came home with two different catchers because of injuries. Keaton Winn entered the road trip with five runs allowed in his previous 23 innings, and then he got knocked out of the first inning in Philadelphia before allowing seven runs in 10 pitches in his next start. The Giants gave up six or more runs a half-dozen times on the trip; they’ve scored six or more runs in just a half-dozen games all season. On the last day of the road trip, going for a sweep against the Rockies, the Giants debuted their new “We’re looking to score a single run in Coors Field” lineup. They scored a single run.

Every fan and observer is prone to recency bias, so keep in mind that the biggest problem with the series win was that the sequencing was wrong. It didn’t allow Giants fans to feel better right now. It was still a series win for a team that was desperate for one, and it came in a ballpark that likes to hang the Giants from the flagpole outside, but it was still a road trip of malaise and general doom.

Winn looked like he had a chance to go deep into Thursday’s game, and then he gave up six runs after just 10 pitches in the fourth inning (with an inherited runner scoring after he left the game to make it seven runs total). If Winn’s problem in Philadelphia was a 102-degree fever and rain (understandable), his problem in Denver looked like he was tipping pitches (concerning). If one of the fidgety goobers in your fantasy league drops him, you should still pick him up because he has obvious talent and a bright future, but it was another unsettling start right when the Giants were just getting used to his uniformly excellent starts.

There were other nits to pick in the game. With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the first inning, Thairo Estrada was thrown out trying to steal third base for no apparent reason. With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the fourth inning, Tyler Fitzgerald squared around to bunt, and he bunted it foul, possibly out of self-preservation (it was heading toward his face). That led to a quick 0-1, which became a quick 0-3 to end the rally. The Giants did not play like a serious team looking to complete a sweep.

This team is frustrating for obvious reasons, but there’s something even more pernicious going on: The Giants can’t string wins together. At no point have the 2024 Giants approached anything resembling momentum. They were looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season on Thursday, and they’re still waiting. It’s one thing to win three, lose four, win two and then lose three, with the whiplash at least allowing you to feel quasi-optimistic for several days in a row.

Is it weird for teams to go this long into the season without a three-game winning streak? In short, yes. This is the longest the Giants have gone without a three-game winning streak to start the season since 1977. A table of when the Giants started their first three-game streak in each season:

Season

  

Game no.

  

2024

39

2023

20

2022

5

2021

6

2020

25

2019

14

2018

21

2017

37

2016

21

2015

15

2014

3

2013

2

2012

11

2011

6

2010

1

2009

12

2008

8

2007

13

2006

5

2005

4

2004

6

2003

1

2002

1

2001

1

2000

16

1999

1

1998

3

1997

2

1996

8

1995

9

1994

1

1993

5

1992

9

1991

10

1990

32

1989

7

1988

3

1987

1

1986

9

1985

23

1984

25

1983

23

1982

4

1981

20

1980

34

1979

1

1978

2

1977

39

1976

40

1975

35

1974

1

1973

4

1972

68

1971

6

1970

2

1969

4

1968

7

1967

9

1966

4

1965

3

1964

6

1963

1

1962

1

1961

2

1960

7

1959

1

1958

8

Pick a bad Giants team that’s burned into your memory. They probably showed more momentum over a three-game stretch than the 2024 Giants have to this point in the season. The Giants went an entire decade where they started a three-games-or-longer streak within the first two weeks of every season. This year’s team might or might not be genuinely bad, but everything feels so much worse because they can’t even offer up a desert mirage that gets you irrationally optimistic before it fades away.

The Giants probably won’t set an all-time record with their streak. I’m not sure what the MLB record is, but I do know that manager Lou Piniella promised to let his 2003 Rays team give him a Guy Fieri hairdo if they won three games in a row, and that didn’t happen until July. It’s a little early for that sort of motivational gambit, but it wouldn’t hurt to see if manager Bob Melvin could be talked into getting a Fieri. (Then inquire if Fieri could be talked into getting a melvin.)

The longest San Francisco drought came in 1972, which is perfect because that season was the official start of the darkest period in franchise history. The Giants didn’t get a three-game streak until late June of that season, and you can read the Sacramento Bee on the game here. If you don’t want to click on the link, just know that a) the attendance at Candlestick was 2,871, and b) the article includes the words, “Atlanta outfielder Dusty Baker of Sacramento will miss the Giants two-game set because of a military commitment.”

Which is another way of saying that momentum doesn’t have to happen any time soon for this year’s team. It came earlier for the 1985 Giants, who lost 100 games, and for the 2017 Giants, who probably should have lost 100 games. For whatever reason, this team just can’t stop running over speed bumps.

The season is far from over, of course. If you’re playing the drinking game at home, take a shot. But it wouldn’t be any less weird for the struggling newbies from April and early May — Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler, Blake Snell — to have the May and June that the Giants were hoping for all along. If the Giants could just string a few wins together, you’d have a good idea what that kind of scenario would look like.

The Giants cannot string a few wins together, though. If it’s wearing on you, you’re not alone. It has to be wearing on the team and everyone around them.

(Photo of Wilmer Flores and Charlie Blackmon: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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