Kevin Pillar said it simply.
“Sometimes you gotta look yourself in the mirror and decide how you want the rest of the season to go,” the center fielder said.
The reflection shows a team that entered Thursday 2 1/2 games back of the wild card and victors of 10 of 12 games, and they’re starting to believe.
It was a different Giants clubhouse that returned to Oracle Park to begin a four-game set with the Mets; a team that had scored 62 runs during its seven-game road trip. A team that seemed destined to be trade-deadline sellers had given an argument to its front office that perhaps this squad does not have the toe tag it once appeared to wear.
Would a team that for so long could have been looking toward the trade deadline now be looking at the wild-card standings? Yes — for the most part, at least.
“You take peeks, and it’s cool to see we’re right in the thick of it,” Alex Dickerson said. “You definitely kind of feed on the fact that we’re climbing up, and right now we’re playing great baseball and we’re definitely in it.”
The Giants leapfrogged the Padres, Rockies, Mets, Reds and Pirates. Pillar has been checking the standings, too.
“I think more so recently. It kind of felt like we got a little momentum and we started winning some games and, yeah, I’ve been looking at it a little bit,” he said. “It’s still a little bit early. But … three weeks ago, [you look] and you’re near the bottom, obviously, the bottom of our division, bottom of the National League, and then you see yourself kind of moved up in our division clearly moved up in the wild-card race and you gain that confidence.”
Mike Yastrzemski and Bruce Bochy disagreed.
“I have too many other things to focus on,” the outfielder said.
“You’re looking at a lot of teams right now,” Bochy said. “It can be a little confusing of who to pull for.”
Fair enough. Whether the Giants’ eyes are straying or not, it likely will be their bats that decide their fate. The Giants were on historic pace in the first half, their collective batting average hovering around .220. That number entered Thursday’s action at .238 and nearly out of the cellar in the NL.
The Giants enjoyed their time away from the spacious confines of Oracle Park. Did they pack the right bats for the trip home?
“It’s always going to be a little more challenging here than a hitters’ park,” Bochy said. “That said, we’re going to be facing some good teams here and some really good pitching.”
The Mets are throwing Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom to begin the series. The Padres visit town next.
“Going out there and scoring a lot of runs makes you feel like we can do it every single day,” Pillar said. “You do it a couple of days in a row, and then you truly believe that there’s no lead that you can’t overcome.”