SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Panik has spent much of the past week in the trainer's room, but I finally ran into him after today's game. I didn't take notes, but I didn't really need to. Panik's face kind of told the whole story.
He had a smile on his face in large part because he's optimistic about the future. He's a competitor and he's disappointed with how his season ended (when I mentioned that he hit over .300 as a sophomore he pointed out that he wishes he had done it over more games) but he also is sure that next year will be better. Panik said doctors have repeatedly told him that the condition -- the Giants are calling it inflammation but it's pretty clear it's a bit more serious than that -- is not chronic, and that he'll be fine long-term.
Panik said surgery was never discussed and he just needs a couple months of rest and rehab to get back to normal. He started his offseason workouts in December last year and said he'll be on the same schedule this year, and he should be a full go when camp kicks off next February in Scottsdale.
There's some sadness about the death of the Tortoise Race, but there might be a more exciting race next year. Panik looked like a candidate for 200 hits before he got hurt and Buster Posey is currently fourth in the league with 167 hits. Matt Duffy leads the National League with 76 hits since the All-Star break. What does this all mean? The Tortoise Race might be dead, but the Giants can go into the even year thinking that their two, three and cleanup hitters might be vying for the batting title.
How's that for optimism after a 5-0 loss to the Diamondbacks?
OK, about that loss ... it was the fifth shutout loss to the Diamondbacks in nine matchups here at AT&T Park this season. Seriously.
"I wish I could explain it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm buffaloed, to be honest. There's no rhyme or reason. There's no reason why they're doing this. We just can't get it going."
[INSTANT REPLAY: Leake falters, Giants shut out again by D'backs]
Even with those five shutouts, the Diamondbacks have a 4.05 ERA on the road this season. So ... yeah, getting blanked in back-to-back games by that staff is pretty demoralizing. The Giants haven't scored in their last 30 innings against the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
"I'm a little stunned, to be honest," Bochy said.
It's easy to blame injuries this season, and the Giants lost another key starter on Friday, but the lineup that got shut out on Saturday included Pagan, Duffy, Posey and Crawford, all of whom are part of the regular starting lineup. Marlon Byrd is a big league starter and Kelby Tomlinson has done a pretty good Panik impersonation, so it's not like Patrick Corbin shut out the River Cats.
"We're a little banged up, but still, we threw out a pretty good lineup, I think," Bochy said.
It's bizarre for this group to have so much trouble against the Diamondbacks of all teams. No wonder Bochy busted out his yearly "buffaloed."
--- Bochy thought Matt Cain had good stuff, but had to "chip a little rust off." That was Cain's second career relief appearance.
--- Bochy mentioned that Mike Leake dealt with some forearm tightness recently, and that's part of the reason he watched him closely and went to his deep bullpen early. The other reason: Leake gave up eight hits in three innings.
"I just couldn't get it going," he said. "They got me early and I couldn't react fast enough."
Leake downplayed the tightness, saying it's just the usual end-of-season feeling for a pitching arm. He called it a "tired" feeling and said it's "nothing to worry about."
The outing was Leake's shortest in two years, and he's allowed 12 runs over 14 2/3 innings in his last three starts. How does Leake sum up his time in orange and black?
"I think I've done average," he said.
--- There wasn't much buzz around the ballpark the morning after the Giants lost a Madison Bumgarner start, but Trevor Brown was all over the place. After Brown spent a chunk of his morning going over the Diamondbacks lineup with Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy, I talked to Vogelsong and then kind of tracked Brown the rest of the morning. Here's a story recapping his first day in the big leagues. He really is an interesting prospect ... you don't find many catchers that athletic, and as I wrote in that piece, the offensive standard wouldn't be that high if Brown shows he's capable of catching and backing up a couple other positions. That'd be a hell of a tool in the age of small benches.