The San Francisco Giants and a losing streak. Barry Zito out to stop the bleeding, presumably with some dental floss and some Scotch tape.
The San Jose Giants and a fantastic team. Their used tissues have more hope in them than the entire big club has.
My plan was to flip back and forth. I have some flipping skillz, honed from several years of Sunday football watching, and there was no reason they couldn't work in this situation. I watched the introductions for the Stockton/San Jose game, putting prospect faces to prospect names. Whoops, it was 7:08 p.m.. Those flipping skillz were rusty.
The Giants had a runner on third, Manny Burriss, and one out. Obviously, the Dodgers had the Giants right where they wanted them. Pablo Sandoval hit aground ball, and Burriss counted to five alligators before breaking for the plate. The inning ended without a runshortly after, and I flipped back to the San Jose game.
Not much going on. The Ports pitcher had a nice curve, and the A-ball ump had a funny definition of "checked swing." The little Giants went down in order. The commercials for the Giants/Dodgers game were probably over, I thought.
One to nothing. Someone in blue circling the bases. Then Zito, crafty lefty that he is, walked the next batter.
At that point, I stopped flipping back and forth regularly. When the San Jose Giants were at commercial, maybe I'd check in with the Giants/Dodgers. I didn't need to see Zito decompose again on live TV. I didn't need to see another quad-A guy look like Lefty Grove against an awful Giants lineup. I watched Buster Posey rope an opposite-field double, Angel Villalona hit a ball 400 feet, Madison Bumgarner get out of trouble with his easy delivery and beautiful fastball, and Edwin Quiarte look like a major league-ready reliever. Bumgarner gave up one less walk than he did all of last August, but he was able to wriggle out of a bases-loaded jam with some good pitching.
Zito was not able to wriggle out of any jams with good pitching. I didn't watch more than a couple of pitches. I guess he looked good at one point, getting the fastball up to 88 mph and striking hitters out. Whatever.
My only regret is that the San Jose Giants aren't on TV every night. Even though Comcast Hometown Network uses tin cans and string to get the sound from the ballpark to your cable box, it's better baseball. Last night I watched hitters who could get on base, and I watched pitchers who could throw strikes. The Giants game last night was a metaphor for the state of the team -- awful, awful, brief period of hope, and then awful. That brief period of hope for the season was between 6:46 p.m. on April 9th, 2009, and 7:10 p.m. on April 10th, 2009. I hope you enjoyed it. The Giants had just won their first series of the season, and they even hit a little bit. Then came Zito. Then went the offense.
I don't think the big Giants will lose 120 games this year -- they're just having their roughest stretch of the season at the most noticeable time. It reminds me of the start of the 2000 season in a way. I knew the Giants were one of the best teams in the league that year, even when they were losing every home game to start the season. The 2009 Giants aren't one of the best teams in the league, obviously, but I'm still going to stick with my original prediction of kinda okay, even if they'll lose more than they win. But I'd love to have the San Jose Giants as a nightly option when a San Francisco Giants game starts to get all San Francisco Giantsy.
Note: if the above contains too many words and whatnot, here's a visual representation of the battle in my heart last night. The one on the left represents Madison Bumgarner and the San Jose Giants. The one on the right represents Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants. It was an epic battle for my attention and affection.