Inbox: What's with Giants' slow start?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers questions from fans

Inbox: What's with Giants' slow start?

Can anyone seriously answer why the Giants are losing so many games? I know a lot of Giants fans are frustrated, but I'd seriously like to have an actual real answer. Thank you.
-- Denise A., Fresno

As is the case when the Giants have sailed to and through the postseason, the April malaise was a team effort. The Giants struggled in every aspect of the game at various junctures during the month. However, their inability to score runs was their most glaring shortcoming. Even the worst teams grab a three- or four-run lead once in a while. The Giants almost never created this luxury for themselves. Thus, their pitchers had to perform with no margin for error.

You've heard this before and you'll hear it again: Scoring four runs a game is part of the Giants' basic formula for winning, because they steadfastly believe they can consistently limit opponents to three or fewer runs. But without the offense doing its small but significant part, the whole equation dissolves.

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If Gary Brown had lived up to his potential as a Giants first-round pick, we wouldn't be in this current mess. Free agency or a trade is the only quick fix. Can the Giants trade for Ryan Braun without sending Milwaukee our best prospects?
-- Ed B., San Francisco

This is pure speculation, but if the Giants were to broach the subject of a Braun deal with Milwaukee, I suspect that the Brewers brass would be able to smell the desperation seeping from AT&T Park. I also believe that the Brewers would indeed ask for top prospects such as right-hander Tyler Beede, outfielder Bryan Reynolds or left-hander Andrew Suarez.

At 33, Braun conceivably has a solid year or two left, if not more. But I doubt that the Giants would seek a "quick fix," to use your term, such as Braun. Especially a quick fix who comes with a hefty salary and heavy (PED-related) baggage.

Have there been thoughts about giving Kelby Tomlinson center field and moving Denard Span to left? Or even putting Kelby in left? He has the speed.
-- Todd C., Eureka, Calif.

The Giants considered using Tomlinson in the outfield a couple of years ago to broaden his considerable skills as a utility player. The club ultimately decided that staying sharp at second base, shortstop and third base was enough of a challenge for him. Thus, I don't foresee the Giants asking Tomlinson to fill the left-field void, especially in the middle of the regular season. But I can envision Tomlinson eventually playing the outfield part-time, because I think the Giants (and Tomlinson himself) would embrace his adapting to a "super-utility" role.

Did you forget about Jeff Kent at second base on your all-time Giants team? He has Hall of Fame potential. Robby Thompson was cool, but he comes in second to Kent in my book.
-- Robert J., Pasadena, Calif.

Mine, too. You're right: I completely forgot about Kent, probably due to advancing senility. However, I can assure you that I don't forget about Kent when I fill out my Hall of Fame ballot every year. He belongs in Cooperstown, and I can't understand why so many of my counterparts snub him.

The Giants could use a steady lineup every day. Joe Panik should hit second and Brandon Belt should bat fourth behind Buster Posey. And they've got to get a better left fielder. What's your opinion on this?
-- Barry K., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Through the years, I've come to believe that batting orders are somewhat overrated. Sure, certain players fill certain roles better than others. Then again, elite individuals such as Willie Mays and Barry Bonds would have amassed impressive statistics no matter where they hit (well, as long as they remained in the top five). As for the left fielder, I wholeheartedly agree, though I wonder when the window of opportunity will open again.

Who is the player to be named later in the Chris Heston deal with Seattle?
-- Luis L., Lancaster, Calif.

The teams have until July 1 to strike an agreement. Expect the Giants to take as much time as they need.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. 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.