Jeff Chiu/APGiants left-hander Madison Bumgarner is a big reason the Giants have the best record in baseball.

Jeff Chiu/APGiants left-hander Madison Bumgarner is a big reason the Giants have the best record in baseball.

Giants' need to start addressing big-picture questions

Isaac Newton wrote, “and to every action, there is always an equal and opposite or contrary reaction.”

Who could have known Newton was predicting what would happen to the 2012-13 Giants?

Everything went right for the Giants in the 2012 postseason. Nobody except the most fervent fan thought the Giants were the best team in baseball, or even the National League. Almost certainly, the Giants would have lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Cincinnati Reds, but in the first inning of the first game, the Reds' best starter, Johnny Cueto, was injured, so the Reds were short of starting pitching. The Giants won that series.

From that point, they were rolling and eventually swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

This year, Newton's law has caught up with them. They have been hit by serious injuries. Ryan Vogelsong has been out since May when he suffered a broken hand while batting. Marco Scutaro has been playing through an injury to the little finger on one hand. Angel Pagan is likely out the rest of the year with a hamstring injury. Pablo Sandoval has missed games with a foot injury, and has not been the fearsome hitter he was in the postseason last year. Tim Lincecum has continued his struggles from last year, after pitching brilliantly in relief in the 2012 postseason.

General manager Brian Sabean has been fielding questions about what he's going to do this season, but he's been cautious in his answers. He got burned two years ago when he traded pitching prospect Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. I can't be critical of Sabean for that trade because Beltran seemed to be just what the Giants needed at that point, but he did not help the Giants, and now Wheeler is in the majors, looking very much like a pitcher the Giants could use for their rotation.

Sabean can't admit the obvious to a spoiled fan base, but I'm sure he will be devoting his time to preparing for the future. The Giants are playing in a division that does not even reach mediocre, but it's unlikely they can even win it this year. Forget the wild card. No NL West team will qualify.

Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy have to struggle for the answer to these issues:

Can Mike Kickham become a successful starter? Kickham has had three starts that can only be described as disastrous, but he has the pitches to be a winner. He has been moved to the bullpen, but I think the Giants have to stick with him.

What to do with Lincecum. I continue to think his future is in the bullpen. He's been woefully inconsistent as a starter for more than a year now. The question is whether that will be with the Giants. His contract is up after this year.

Start the decision process on Sandoval. He's got one more year on his contract, but the Giants should think long and hard about a new one. Pablo is very popular with fans, but his weight problems are going to get worse, leading to more injuries.

Finally, the Giants need to heed the words of Isaac Newton. He knew what he was talking about.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on Email him at

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