Why Giants' offense picked perfect time to come alive


There were times over the course of the first six weeks of this season when it was fair to express concern about the Giants offense, even if it didn't matter in that particular game. The starting pitchers were so good and so dependable that Gabe Kapler could wait for some of his hitters to find his form, and calmly insist after wins that the offensive explosion was coming eventually.

The lineup has fully arrived over the last couple of weeks, and the timing couldn't be better.

The thing is, the Giants are on such a roll right now that it's not even fair to say the pitchers are struggling. But the rotation certainly has needed more help than it did in April -- something that was especially true on Friday night -- and the hitters have delivered.

The Giants have seen some cracks in their pitching over the last couple of weeks, but since they got swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park, they have won eight of 10 behind a lineup that's averaging 6.2 runs per game during the stretch. Kapler had a bullpen game set against a red-hot Chicago Cubs team on Friday, but Giants hitters made sure this was a bullpen game for the Cubs, too.

The Giants had a huge second inning and rolled to an 8-5 win. They hit four homers for the fourth time in 57 games, turning the stress level down on a night when Scott Kazmir filled in for the injured Logan Webb but was scheduled to get through the Cubs lineup just once. 

Kazmir lasted two innings. Jake Arrieta did on the other side, too, thanks to a hard-hitting Giants lineup that all of a sudden is second in the Majors in homers and sixth in runs. 

"I think when you go down 2-0 against a team like the Cubs you know it's going to be a bit of a fight, and we're in a bullpen day. We obviously don't have Kevin Gausman on the mound at that point or any one of our horses," Kapler said. "We're going to be going through a lineup like this with Conner Menez, and that's no disrespect to Conner -- he's a talented young pitcher, but you know you're going to have to score some runs. To see our offense step up the way they did, we've been stringing together pretty good at-bats up and down the lineup for quite some time now, and in large part I think that's responsible for our recent success."

The highlight of this 10-game stretch might have come in the second inning Friday, with the Giants down a pair after Kris Bryant's no-doubter. Six of 10 hitters to come up to the plate notched hits, with Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson homering. All six hits left the bat at an exit velocity of at least 104 mph. 

The laser show was followed two innings later by back-to-back homers by Jason Vosler and LaMonte Wade Jr., two of the best examples of the depth Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have built. Vosler is available off the bench right now because guys like Darin Ruf and Mike Yastrzemski are on the IL. Wade Jr. is starting at first because Brandon Belt is still sidelined. 

The hits have kept coming to the lineup, but the lineup has continued to hit. The four-homer outburst was the fourth of the season already, and first at Oracle Park. The Giants had two four-homer games last year, five in 2019, and two in 2017 and 2018 combined.

RELATED: Vosler, Wade hit back-to-back homers

It's the kind of offensive show we just haven't seen around here in recent years, and it's perfectly timed. The Giants have scored 15 runs in these two games against the Cubs, staying in first in the NL West even as the heavily favored Dodgers and San Diego Padres continue to play good baseball.

The Dodgers got a solid win in Atlanta earlier in the night and the Padres saw Blake Snell flirt with a no-hitter before edging the New York Mets. The Giants held serve, though, leading to yet another win for a group that keeps watching players go down and keeps shrugging it off. 

"It's just fun. It's fun to be in this locker room," Vosler said. "It's fun coming back to this locker room after a win -- there's a little party scene going on. Winning kind of cures all."

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