It hasn’t been easy sledding for the San Francisco Giants lately and that stung even more following the death of franchise icon Willie Mays last week. The Giants have played through several tributes for Mays over the last week but struggled, losing five in a row on the road.

As it turns out, a trip home and perhaps a little magic was all the Giants needed to get back in the win column on Monday. All of San Francisco's uniformed staff wore Mays' No. 24 on their backs in the Giants' first home game since his passing on June 18. Maybe they should wear it again following a walk-off win over the Chicago Cubs to end the losing streak.

Giants manager Bob Melvin was proud of his team and happy to grab a win on such a meaningful night for the franchise.

“We all got to wear No. 24, and that's pretty cool. All the stuff pregame, it certainly gets your attention, and we've been thinking about this all week and finally win a game for him,” Melvin said, per ESPN. “Whether it was Rickwood or whatever, we had trouble winning games during his tributes, so it was good to be able to do it at home here.”

It was fitting that the win came on June 24, with 24s being donned all around the ballpark to honor one of baseball's true legends.

Giants clinging to playoff hopes as July approaches

San Francisco Giants players celebrate after the game against the Chicago Cubs at Oracle Park. All Giants players wore the number 24 in honor of Giants former player Willie Mays.
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants thought bringing in Bob Melvin would help take them to the next level. That hasn’t been the case three months into his tenure as manager, although he hasn’t had much to work with on the pitching side with injuries and inconsistencies plaguing San Francisco's staff.

Eight pitchers on the Giants' 40-man roster are currently on the injured list. San Fran ranks 25th in team ERA and starting pitcher ERA. Only five teams have fewer wins from starting pitchers than the Giants.

At 37-42, the Giants are well behind the pack in the National League playoff picture. With the Los Angeles Dodgers firmly in the lead in the NL West, the Giants have to turn to the wild card standings for their playoff hopes.

As of June 25, the Giants are tied with the Cubs as they face a three-game hole for the final playoff spot. Six teams separate the Giants from a playoff position right now, with nine NL teams separated by only four games.

If San Francisco can pass a few of those teams before the All-Star break begins on July 15, they could force the front office to make some moves before the trade deadline two weeks later. The Giants are usually aggressive in free agency so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they did the same over the next four weeks.

Are three games and a whole clump of teams ahead of them worth trading for some help? Or does it make more sense for the Giants to wait things out before deciding whether to trade off some pieces?

Regardless, time is running out for the Giants to decide. How they play over the next three weeks will help determine their answers.