The Giants can turn their season around starting right now

The San Francisco Giants have started their season off miserably. They’re 11-18 overall after going 9-17 in April. Their bullpen has given them headaches, their starting pitching has had some issues (like Madison Bumgarner’s ill-fated dirt bike ride), and their offense has been struggling. They’re last place in the NL West, which is not where they’re used to being.

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But all is not lost. Not only are there another five months left in the season, the next ten games the Giants play could change the way their entire season looks. And you can watch the Giants try to start their much-needed turnaround when they take on the Cincinnati Reds in Friday’s Free MLB Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. You can stream the game for free on the Yahoo Sports MLB page, on our Free Game of the Day tab or in this very post, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. MLB’s local blackout rules apply.

In their next ten games, the Giants face just two teams: the Reds and the New York Mets. The Reds are doing better than anyone could have hoped through their first month-plus: they’ve got a 14-14 record, and they’re sitting in third place in the NL Central. The Mets are currently 12-15, and sitting in third place in the NL East. But both teams have key weaknesses that the Giants can exploit.

Seven of the Giants’ next ten games are against the Reds, and that’s a huge advantage for the Giants. Why? Because the Reds’ starting pitching is atrocious. Their starters have a combined ERA of 5.72, which is by far the worst in the majors. Two of their starters, Bronson Arroyo and Rookie Davis, have ERAs over 7.

So how in the world do the Reds have a .500 record? Their hitters and bullpen have been picking up the slack. But just like all hot starts, that won’t last forever. Especially with the Reds’ bullpen usage: their ‘pen has thrown more innings than any other bullpen in the majors. Cincinnati’s relievers have thrown 117.1 innings. Second place is the Milwaukee Brewers at 108.2. The Reds bullpen has thrown so many innings, and they’re going to get tired. The Giants can absolutely take advantage of this.

The Giants need to get it together, and their next ten games could be a big help. (AP Photo)

The Mets started the season as a fearsome team, but injuries have turned them into a shadow of what they once were. Their pitching staff is without ace Noah Syndergaard, who will be out for months, and young Stephen Matz, who is also injured. And they’ve got Matt Harvey, who hasn’t looked great, and Robert Gsellmen, who really hasn’t looked great. This is the time for the Giants to feast upon Mets pitching.

The Giants need to do well during this 10-game stretch. If they go 7-3, they can make it back to .500, and build up a little confidence. And that confidence will be vital. Because after they’re done with these ten games against the Reds and Mets, things get a lot harder. They face their bitter rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Chicago Cubs, AKA the defending World Series champs. If they can’t dig themselves out of this hole sooner rather than later, the rest of the season becomes even more challenging.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher