With more than a third of the season down, you may have noticed the Giants haven't exactly captured the royal essence befitting a defending World Series champion. The reasons are abundantly evident.
The pitching has been shockingly impotent, the bats mostly untimely, and the gloves too often should be accompanied by a laugh track.
All of which has led to murmuring in the streets of China Basin. Though it hasn't reached the panic stage, the feeling is that it could, with the Giants visiting three cities over the next 10 days.
"We've had, as we well know, our struggles on the road," manager Bruce Bochy said, referring to a 10-17 record away from San Francisco. "We've talked about this. It's time to hunker down."
Three games at Arizona, beginning Friday, three more in Pittsburgh and another three in Atlanta represent quite the formidable task. Though this journey can't bury the Giants, it could provide a fairly accurate indication of who they are in 2013.
And, yet, those who live for Giants baseball and fear a 2-7 road trip should take three salient factors into account before diving into the nearest bottle of tequila.
Factor No. 1 is that the starting pitching thus far is highly uncharacteristic for a staff managed by Bochy and coached by Dave Righetti.
San Francisco, as of Thursday afternoon, had allowed more runs than every National League staff other than Milwaukee. A full 60 percent of Giants starts have failed to meet the generous "quality start" standard, including 16 of the last 21 games. As bad as it has been, it would be impetuous to assume this will remain so throughout summer.
Factor No. 2 is that the five Giants starters are destined to represent the vast majority, if not all, of the rotation for the remaining 103 games.
The franchise is invested in Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong. Those commitments have paid off with two World Series championships in three seasons. That's two more than were won in the previous 52 seasons in San Francisco.
The brain trust is not likely to bail on these guys while wearing the rings they furnished -- nor should it. Nor is it an affordable option.
Factor No. 3, and the one emitting a bright light of hope, is that standings in early and mid-June have all the significance of a penny at the gas pump.
The Giants are second in the N.L. West, trailing Arizona. They are three games above .500 (31-28), with the sixth-best record in the league. They are nowhere near the edge of doom, for these numbers should not even be considered bleak.
San Francisco swept A.L. champion Detroit last October to win the World Series. The Tigers on this date last season were five games below .500 (26-31) and six games behind the Chicago White Sox in the A.L. Central.
Before that World Series, the Giants had to get past St. Louis in the NLCS. The Cardinals on this date last season trailed Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the N.L. Central and, moreover, had the ninth-best record in the league.
Before that NLCS, there was this local wish/hope for a Bay Bridge World Series between the Giants and the A's, who won the A.L. West. Oakland on this date last year was 26-32, one day removed from the division cellar and seven games behind Texas.
The point here is that perspective should be maintained, if only because we know what is possible, or even probable.
The manager and coaches and players understand this, even if some of their fans struggle with the concept.
There is no identity crisis here. The Giants know who they are and how they have to win games. They need "to keep the game close and stay out of the big inning," as Bochy so neatly summarized in the glum aftermath of Wednesday's loss to Toronto.
So now it's off to unfriendly ballparks, where the Giants will discover if they can represent themselves with a bit more, um, magnitude.
They're the defending champs, after all. And even if they haven't looked the part, they have at least three reasons to believe they're only a few adjustments away.