Okay, by now we’re all very well aware that the Giants offense has sucked lately. Not only have they sucked, but they’ve been downright terrible. No one is hiding this fact, no one is refuting it, and no one is denying it. Everyone knows that the Giants’ offense is presently incapable of winning a ballgame in which the starter/relievers give up more than two runs. Want to know how I know this? Because over the past 8 games the Giants have played, they are averaging only 1.875 runs per game. For those of you that aren’t already aware, that’s not good. That’s not good at all. Now, most fans’ reactions to this sluggish offense has been: “Who can we blame? Who is at fault? Why aren’t we hitting over .300 with runners in scoring position anymore? Why, why, why, why, why, whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhy?????!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!” I’m here to tell you to calm down, San Francisco. Everyone just slow down for a minute and understand that it’s a long season. Take a breath, sit down, and cool your jets. The popular choice for town scapegoat has been poor Pablo Sandoval. After an offseason of relentless conditioning, Sandoval came into camp looking rather slim. For a historically large man, coming into camp a little thinner tends to make headlines (Example A: CC Sabathia) and create a ton of hype around how being in-shape will boost a player’s numbers and make him into an All-Star, MVP, best-player-ever. Thus, everyone apparently expected Sandoval to hit .400 this year and lead the Giants to another World Series victory. While the parade down Market St. part is obviously still possible, Sandoval is currently hitting .162 on the season. So far, the weight loss isn’t really doing him much good at the plate. SO EVERYONE FREAK OUT AND BLAME EVERYTHING ON THE PANDA BECAUSE HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BEST PLAYER EVER THIS YEAR. (AP Photo) No, stop, calm down, and take a breath. A quick glance at the Giants’ lineup reveals unsightly numbers from arguably the three most talented and productive hitters in the lineup. Pablo Sandoval is hitting .162 Hunter Pence is hitting .197 Buster Posey is hitting .227 That’s bad. Instead of pinning all the blame on Pablo Sandoval, I think we need to investigate other possibilities of just why this team is hitting so poorly. Here are four people (or groups of people) to blame, other than the Panda, for the Giants’ offensive woes. Option #1: Blame Buster Posey Me: “This is all Buster Posey’s fault.” Random Giants fan: “What?!! Why? You can’t blame Buster!” Me: “Well, why not?” Random Giants fan: “Because he’s Buster Posey. Duh. He’s MY Buster Posey. He’s YOUR Buster Posey. He’s SAN FRAN-FREAKIN’-CISCO’s Buster Posey. Absolutely not his fault.” Yes. Sure. He’s all of our Buster Posey. We love him, he’s great, he’s awesome, he’s the best player ever, forever. I understand that it’s impossible to criticize beloved Buster Posey around these parts, so let’s take a look at Player X’s slashline (batting average/on base percentage/slugging/on-base+slugging) since the 2013 All-Star break: Player X (NOT BUSTER POSEY): .240/.328/.338/.666 Now let’s compare those numbers over the same period to Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence: Pablo Sandoval: .262/.340/.401/.741 Hunter Pence: .287/.366/.474/.841 While those numbers aren’t exactly All-Star caliber, they are definitely more serviceable in the middle of the order than Player X’s numbers. Now what if I told you that Player X was the face of the franchise and by far the most talented hitter on the team and one of the best hitters in the league. He also won the MVP award in 2012. Hah, tricked ya. Player X=Buster Posey. Shocker. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) News flash! Buster Posey has hit .240 since last July. Whoa. That’s not very good. But he’s Buster Posey, he can’t be in a slump! Well, he is, yet he continues to hit third or fourth in the lineup every night. My point here is that Buster Posey is the player we should be most worried about in the Giants lineup right now. Pablo Sandoval did just fine over the second half of last season and Hunter Pence looked like a monster. Buster Posey? Not so much. His second-half slump has carried over into this season, but not enough people are talking about it. Maybe it’s time we start taking a little blame off of Pablo Sandoval and start to distribute it a little more evenly between Hunter Pence and, more importantly, the almighty untouchable Buster Posey (gasp!). Option #2: Blame Everyone We can’t just pin the blame on a few players here, can we? The team as a whole hasn’t been scoring runs, so doesn’t it seem a little unreasonable to pick and choose only a select few scapegoats? The dreaded day we all knew was coming: The Day the Giants Forgot How to Hit, came to fruition on April 12, 2014 when the Giants lost to Colorado, 1-0. Since then, San Francisco has played in seven more games and as noted above, they have scored only 1.875 runs per game. During this time, the team as a whole has hit .192 overall and a paltry .136 with runners in scoring position. Sure, there are a few outliers among this group. Ehire Adrianza is 1-for-1, Hunter Pence (??!!??) is 2-for-5, and Angel Pagan is 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position over the last eight games. Everyone else? Bad. Aside from those three aforementioned players, no one is hitting above .200 with runners in scoring position since April 12th. This option may be the best and easiest of all. If the team isn’t doing enough to score runs and win games, then the team should be blamed. Adrianza’s one at-bat doesn’t count and Pence doesn’t really count because he’s still hitting under .200 overall. The only person that counts is maybe Mr. Luscious Locks himself, Angel Pagan. He’s been really good all season long. But even still, he can’t win games by himself. Baseball is a team sport and should be evaluated as such. So blame everyone. Option #3: Don’t blame anyone This option basically treats the recent slump as just that: a slump. Maybe all this talk about the terrible offense is being overblown and we’re all just overreacting. After all, the Giants only forgot how to hit eight games ago. That’s less than 5% of the season. Before April 12, the Giants were hitting .255 as a team overall (not bad at all) and an otherworldly .315 with runners in scoring position. This option stands strong on the idea that San Francisco will magically remember how to hit again and go back to their .315 average with RISP and win 98 games. Eight games is too small of a sample size to react the way we are all reacting, rushing around trying to find someone, anyone, to blame for each new agonizing loss. For the first two weeks of the season, the Giants boasted the best offense in the National League by far. So obviously, this team has the potential to swing it with the best of ‘em. Potential. Poooootential. P-p-p-p-p-potential. Interesting word, this potential. Potential provides us with hope. It provides us with reason to believe. It basically provided us with the 2010 and 2012 World Series Championship teams. Those guys lived up to their full potential. Go ahead and tell me what Cody Ross, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, and Edgar Renteria have done in the major leagues since 2010. Those dudes are not superstar players, but they helped the Giants squeak into the playoffs and played like superstars once they got into the Dance. The good ol’ days. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Brandon Hicks, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Ehire Adrianza, and the rest of you typical Giants, show us what you got. Potential. This team’s got it. Option #4: Blame Bruce Bochy How could we blame Bruce Bochy if he’s not even playing in the games? Good question. While Bochy doesn’t get paid to hit baseballs for a living, he does get paid to decide when the guys that do get paid to hit baseballs, actually hit the baseballs. Bochy has been very stubborn about his lineup configuration up to this point in the season, simply making Bochy noises and mumbling “small sample size” when asked about re-shuffling the lineup and dropping the struggling hitters down in the order. This team is still struggling and hasn’t shown many signs of breaking out of the team-wide slump any time soon. Maybe it’s time Bochy shakes things up and throws out an unconventional lineup that could either fail miserably or get this team rolling [read: hitting] again. Here is my suggestion to Bruce: 1. Angel Pagan 2. Brandon Hicks (.400 OBP, it’s more reasonable than it looks) 3. Brandon Belt 4. Michael Morse 5. Buster Posey 6. Hunter Pence 7. Pablo Sandoval 8. Brandon Crawford 9. Pitcher’s Spot This lineup prioritizes guys that are hitting and getting on base. What a concept. While this shouldn’t be permanent and I hope to God that this is not what the lineup looks like two months from now, it could be just the spark this offense needs. – I don’t know who or what to blame for this offense’s struggles and neither do you, most likely. But now you have four viable options for whom to tack onto your dartboard to take out your frustration. Maybe one day this team will start hitting again, but for now, we all can just sit and wait while the merry-go-round gets serviced and we all keep punching walls and throwing chip bowls across the room with each successive episode of Buster Posey grounding into inning-ending, bases-loaded double plays. Ian Osborne We really miss Scutaro Larry Jensen I think someone needs to look at some detailed statistics, WAR of course but more importantly “BtRuns”. Sandoval is running at -4.9% in 2014 which is almost the absolute bottom. Sure we are only 25 games in, but his career numbers are a bit hollow for him to be looking for a $100m deal. Much like Beltran when he was in SF, Sandoval might put up bigger numbers but how do those numbers look when broken down by situation? Not good. Sure he hit 3 HRs in game 1 in 2012, sure he was the series MVP but that’s yesterday’s newspaper. Enough Panda hats have been sold already, time to dump him before he has even less value.