Giants continue to dodge a decline

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On Thursday, the Giants played the first of the 13 games they will play over the next four weeks against the two teams regarded as their primary competition in the NL West, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are without Hunter Pence, without Matt Cain, without Brandon Belt, and of course, Pablo Sandoval is gone for good, having left for Boston during the offseason.

Because of all of these absences and the Giants’ awful struggles in spring training, these first days of the 2015 season feel like a crossroad for them