Tracy Ringolsby

Giants know how to rebound from tough stretches

San Francisco overcame two six-game losing streaks last season en route to championship

Giants know how to rebound from tough stretches

SAN FRANCISCO -- It only seems like the worst of times for the defending World Series champion Giants.

Oh, they are struggling to open the season, no doubt about it. The Rockies just departed AT&T Park after leaving the Giants with a six-game losing streak and a 3-7 record which equals the fourth-worst start for the franchise since the Majors Leagues were created in 1903.

San Francisco scored only nine times in the six losses, and it scored just three runs in the three games against Colorado. Wednesday also marked just the fourth time the Rockies swept a series at AT&T Park since it opened in 2000.

There a quiet in the Giants' clubhouse. It, however, is not a silence of concession.

These Giants have had their struggles before. It's just that stumbles along the way are more obvious when they come at the start of the season before they can be hidden in a season's worth of work.

Posey's diving stop

"When you go through a stretch like this, it is definitely magnified when it's the start of the season," said catcher Buster Posey.

Six-game losing streak? San Francisco had two of them last season, and the Giants still raised the World Series championship banner as part of the home opening ceremonies prior to the 1-0 loss on Monday.

Those stumbles, however, weren't showcased on as grand of a stage. One was in mid-June and the other was in late July.

"The offense is looking for that one game to get us jump-started again," said Posey. "Hopefully it comes sooner rather than later."

The Giants' pitching hasn't been bad. Tim Lincecum gave up four runs in his five innings on Wednesday, and three of those came on a first-inning Nolan Arenado home run. Lincecum got ahead of him 0-2 with sliders, but wasn't charmed the third time he offered up a slider in that at-bat.

And it's not like the offense is coming to the rescue right now. San Francisco is 4-for-47 with runners in scoring position its past seven games, and it snapped an 0-for-19 funk in those opportunities when Angel Pagan singled home a run in the first.

Pagan's RBI single

"This club has been through it," said manager Bruce Bochy. "We have a lot of experience to draw on. Last year, we had stretches were we were as bad as we are right now. We just have to pick it up. We have to get healthy, but right now, the only thing we can do is go out and give it all we can."

Bad stretches last year? Yep, even on their way to a World Series championship, the Giants stumbled at times.

San Francisco opened the season by winning 43 of 64 games, and it was 10 games up in the National League West on June 8. The Giants lost 18 of their next 23 games, and they found themselves watching July 4 fireworks having fallen into second place in the division, a game back of the Dodgers.

They rebounded to regain a 2 1/2-game lead on July 23, but then lost 13 of the next 18 games before finishing the regular season with 25 wins in the final 42 games, to earn one of the NL Wild Card spots.

"It's not automatic pilot for 162 games," said Bochy. "You have to work your way through some challenges. We've got a tough group. They are getting tested early. They'll come out of it."

Hey, this is, after all, a franchise that engineered one of the game's greatest comebacks in history in winning the NL pennant in 1951 thanks to taking two of three from the Brooklyn Dodgers in an NL playoff after the two teams finished the 154-game regular-season schedule tied for first.

Comeback? The 1951 Giants were 13 games back of the Dodgers as late as Aug. 13. They had the worst 14-game start to a season in the franchise history (2-12). They finished with a 98-59 record, Bobby Thomson delivering the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to finish off the Dodgers in the playoff for the NL pennant.

Bobby Thomson's shot

As recently as 2012, they lost their first four games of the season, were still playing at a .500 level 38 games into the season, but won the NL West by eight games en route to the second of their three recent World Series championships.

"This is a humbling game," said Bochy. "You have to keep the players believing."

The Giants have been down the road before and found success.

The challenge is to not get lost along the way this time around.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.