"Anytime you lose three regulars, it changes your lineup," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You're going to miss those guys."
They were certainly missed against Astros starter Scott Feldman and four relievers, who combined to allow three Giants to reach scoring position.
With no compelling reinforcements available in the Minor Leagues, the Giants' braintrust is scouring the waiver wire for potential pickups to bolster the offense. Left fielder Cody Ross was such an acquisition in 2010; he proceeded to win National League Championshp Series MVP honors as the Giants surged to the World Series.
With Panik's immediate future uncertain, much speculation has fallen upon Chase Utley, the Philadelphia second baseman who's a candidate to be jettisoned as the Phillies overhaul their ballclub. Fox Sports has reported the Giants and Phillies are discussing a deal involving Utley, 36, who's batting .196 in 70 games. But he's only one year removed from his sixth All-Star season, prompting the belief he could recapture much of his dormant skill if he were to join a contender such as the Giants.
Another possible solution: Recalling catcher Andrew Susac from his Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment and installing him behind the plate, moving Posey to first base and stationing Brandon Belt in left field.
Until the Giants make a dramatic move, they're left to rely on the current contingent that must confront the formidable Washington Nationals for a four-game series starting Thursday.
Bochy cited his team's resolute attitude as a source of hope.
"It's a tough group out there," he said. "We've dealt with a lot and there's nothing you can do except keep playing and hope somebody picks us up. Injuries are part of the game. You have to deal with it."
Third baseman Matt Duffy echoed his boss.
"You don't want to make excuses," Duffy said. "We're definitely missing those guys. But every team goes through points in the season where they're not 100 percent."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.