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Murph: Is the sky falling on the 2016 Giants? Not so fast…




Is the sky falling on the 2016 Giants, or is it time to keep calm and not panic?

The answer is an emphatic YES.

That’s what this post-All Star Break haze has done to Giants fans. It has the nattering nabobs of lunatic fringe-ism screaming that this was bound to happen; that three-fifths of the starting rotation is a walking gopher ball; that the lineup without Hunter Pence, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy was bound to crash; that the bullpen will forever be an atrocity in 2016.

Yes, that previous paragraph was sponsored by legendary KNBR caller ‘Salty’.

There is another story here, though: The Giants are in first place approaching the trade deadline. The Giants will, in effect, acquire trade assets by August in right field (Pence), second base (Panik) and third base (Duffy), when each bat returns in the coming fortnight. As for the bullpen? Maybe a healthy Cory Gearrin in the 7th, a dominant Sergio Romo in the 8th and good ole Santiago (Antacid, Please) Casilla in the 9th.

As with all things in life, when you ponder both sides of the story, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

It’s cavalier to dismiss the Giants frittering away 5 1/2 games of their eight-game lead without acknowledging elephants in the room. Jeff Samardzija’s starts have turned into a problem. Jake Peavy is sliding backwards in his last two starts. Matt Cain is forever a mystery. The bullpen, which used to be the obvious trade deadline priority, is now fighting for position with the need for a starting pitcher to calm the waters.

The problems are real, sports fans.

Whether that means Albert Suarez for Cain, or a minor-league call-up, or Samardzija needing to study film for hours to find out why his location mistakes leave the yard, the issues are front-burner with the rotation all of a sudden.

And yet — the 58-41 record going into Tuesday night. The idea that it was wholly unrealistic to expect the Giants to run away with the West. The 95-win pace. The knowledge that Brandon Crawford will not make three errors to lose a game again anytime soon. The fact that Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto remain in black and orange.

There are very real things to like about the 2016 Giants, slump be damned.

The pivot is now to the trade deadline, and arms dominate the thought process. The nine-game road trip through Philly, Washington and Miami to start August looms. And, of course, the knowledge that it will all likely come down to the final weekend against the Dodgers Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at AT&T Park.

It’s probably something we should have figured all along.