When will the Giants do something that will fix this team?

All in all, a week’s set of games that went badly don’t end a season, particularly when the week started with a huge lead, and ended with a still-sizable one.  But there were a lot of troubling trends to be dealt with.  And a losing streak is normally when changes start to happen.  One has already started to be seen, but the others?

Let’s take a look at what’s wrong with this team:

Non-Romo BullpenOkay, this one gets a pass for now, because a likely fix is the return of Santiago Casilla.  Boy, I never thought I’d hear that out of my mouth…or keyboard.  Whatever.  Casilla brings back better stability to the late-inning rotation, taking a little pressure off of Gutierrez (who wilted in the act of being a relief-stopper on Sunday).  Casilla also is the only reliever who I’d expect to be able to step in and fill in for Romo when Romo needs an offday.  I don’t want Casilla to be a closer, but he can be the backup in the role.

Romo – The fix is not replacing him (yet).  There’s actually a pretty easy fix here, and Andy Baggarly sees it as well as others: Hitters are diving to hit Romo’s slider, and making contact that’s dumping the ball to the outfield.  This is to be expected, since the strength of the slider is how it moves away from right-handed hitters.  This fix?  Keep hitters honest.  Throw an inside fastball here or there.  It’s not about the threat of hitting batters…in a closer situation, a batter might do that sacrifice to get on base.  It’s about keeping hitters honest.  If they think Romo could throw inside, they won’t be as prepared to dive off the plate after the slider.

Second Base – This one is troubling.  Brandon Hicks got off to a great start.  He hit a few, big dingers.  He plays a good defensive second base.  He has a name that fans love.  But he went cold in May.  When the wins kept coming in, that was okay.  Now that they aren’t…  Well, we didn’t see Hicks in the last two games of the series.  The backup, Ehire Adrianza, isn’t exactly heating things up either.  But the Giants are getting the third-worst production from second base in all the majors leagues by OPS.  .556 is just barely ahead of the Oakland A’s at .550 (wow) and quite a bit ahead of the .462 the Padres are getting.

But here’s something interesting: the bottom half of the league in 2nd base OPS is littered with contenders.  Aside from the Giants and A’s, you have St. Louis (27th, .563), Atlanta (26th, .591), Washington (22nd, .648), Baltimore (21st, .648), Los Angeles Angels (19th, .661) and Dodgers (18th, .675), and Miami (16th, .685).  Oh, you know, that’s only every current National League team over .500.  And you can throw in another contender at #15 with Toronto.  That are a lot of teams that might be looking for help at the deadline.  And while a lot of bad teams with good second basemen might mean they might consider trading, there aren’t likely to be many available.  The trade rumors of Chase Utley have already begun, but that price will be high.

The Giants might have a couple of aces up their sleeves, though.  Joe Panik has gone a little cold in Fresno, but that cold streak still leaves him at a .314 batting average and a .375 on-base percentage.  Panik is a very Scutaro-like player, not a lot of power or speed, but a great swing and batting eye.  In 277 at-bats, the 2011 first-round pick has only 33 strikeouts, and an uncharacteristically low 25 walks, but that’s still a great ratio.  And he has 12 doubles, 4 triples and 5 home runs.  Even in a hitter’s paradise like Fresno, that’s worth looking at.  Meanwhile, Matt Duffy is batting .340 in a much less-friendly Double-A Richmond, with a .395 OBP.  Duffy’s an 18th round pick from 2012, but he’s gotten better every season.  He’s not the pure hitter that Panik is, but he does have good speed, with 17 steals in 20 attempts this season, and he had 25 last year.  But he does have 10 errors on the season, while Panik has five.

The team has indicated they have no interest in bringing up either one after so little time in the upper minors, but clearly second base is the position most in need of an upgrade.  If the Giants are going to consider the high prices of trades, they should also know what they’ve got in their own pocket first.

The Bench – I don’t have an obvious fix here, other than getting Brandon Belt back.  But clearly, the Giants don’t have a great bench to help them in tough situations.  Finding bench players is both easy and hard, but the Giants shouldn’t be relying on Ehire Adrianza in key moments.