SAN FRANCISCO – The calendar remains the Giants’ friend. At least that’s what manager Bruce Bochy is preaching to his players.
But if the Giants can’t turn things around on a night like Friday, when can they?
A 10-2 loss to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to inflict more damage than what showed on the scoreboard.
They had the man they wanted on the mound in Matt Cain. They had a soldout AT&T Park crowd behind them (though a vocal portion wore Dodger Blue).
Most of all, they had a chance to halt this downward slide they’re on and make a stand against the hottest team in the National League West.
It didn’t happen. And though 77 games remain in a wide-open division race, losses like Friday’s leave their mark.
Bochy talked optimistically before the game that it’s still early July, and the Giants are well within striking distance.
But they’re going the wrong way fast. They’ve lost 15 of their past 19 and fell 5 ½ games behind first-place Arizona.
“We’re getting tested,” Bochy said after the game. “Hopefully you get stronger when you get tested. This is a tough group and they’re going through a very difficult time now. … It’s not like they’re quitting. They’re probably trying a little too hard. You stay behind them and keep believing.”
Their belief in Friday’s series opener rested with Cain, who brought a 1.82 ERA into the game since June 2. The wheels came off early for the right-hander, and with little explanation.
He gave up eight earned runs and walked four in just 2 1/3 innings. This from a pitcher who issued just three walks in his previous four starts combined. Most perplexing, Cain found himself in three-ball counts on six occasions despite getting ahead of hitters early in the count in several of those scenarios.
Not in the mood to analyze his misery, he sounded like a man who wanted to simply delete Friday from his memory bank.
“I got ahead of guys and then didn’t finish them off,” Cain said. “Then the times I got behind guys, I made bad pitches.”
Will he watch video of this performance to pinpoint what went wrong?
“I try to really not watch any part of this one.”
Adding insult to injury, former Giant Juan Uribe did the biggest damage with a seven-RBI night. (No, that’s not his career high. He also drove in seven in 2004 at Montreal, while with the White Sox).
Still, a crowd of 41,911 remained feisty until the end.
In the seventh, with the outcome well decided, a spirited chant of “Beat L.A.” rang throughout the ballpark.
The Giants need to get up off the canvas quick, or all the spirit in the world won’t help them.
A couple postgame injury updates: Giants outfielder Andres Torres left the game in the fourth with a calf cramp, but Bochy expects him to be available Saturday.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp departed in the third with left shoulder irritation. He received a cortisone shot and has been ruled out for Saturday but hopes to return Sunday.