Well, that was embarrassing. The apologist lobe of my brain keeps feeding me little factoids, like the World Champion Giants looked just as bad at home last year as late as June, and they were just fine. Don’t make too much of a bad series. Coming into the Braves series, Giants hadn’t lost a series since the first one of the season. They were doing well, and one nightmare series shouldn’t shatter the team’s confidence.
But when a team looks that bad -- when the ace can’t find the strike zone, when the young horse is that easy to hit, and when the bullpen combusts that spectacularly -- it’s appropriate to wonder if you’ve seen the series that you look back at in December and say: there. That’s where it started. Right there. That was the beginning of the end. When two good teams enter Thunderdome and one good team leaves, it’s completely normal to freak out a little.
Just as long as you catch yourself, though. I think the apologist lobe has it right. The Braves were able to take advantage of a Giants team that was just a little askew. Lincecum was just wild enough. The Giants hit at least a half-dozen balls right at someone in the series -- not the typical almost-hits that every team doesn’t get, but the kind of lasers that would be extra bases if they were six feet in either direction. Brian Wilson is giving up more hits than he normally will if he pitches in the exact same way. Still holding onto the idea that the Giants will be better than a .500 team, and it will take a while for me to let it go.
A quick look at the competition:
- It comforts me to watch the Padres unable to escape the tractor beam of being the Padres this year. Brad Hawpe is a pretty good replacement for Adrian Gonzalez in the big picture, as both are carbon-based life forms. You can hardly tell the difference.
- It pains me to watch Matt Kemp not waste his natural talent. Doesn’t that guy know that loafing is so much easier? Take a load off. Enjoy the sun. There are all the sunflower seeds you can eat when you get back in the dugout, so what’s the point of working a walk?
- The only thing surprising about the Diamondbacks is that Daniel Hudson has been rocked, and not in that pleasant, Iron Maiden kind of way. You could extrapolate almost every player’s start to 162 games and think, yeah, that’s about right.
- The Rockies are good. It’d be a lot cooler if they weren’t. As soon as Jonathan Herrera remembers that he was a career .277/.353/.346 hitter in Colorado Springs, I’ll feel just a little bit better. Any day now. Aaaaanny day.
So I’m confident that the Giants can compete against that group, and it’s still just April. But, yuck, what a gross series. What a way to quash the good vibes from the series win in Coors Field. Yuck.