SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 5: Buster Posey warms up before an at-bat on Tuesday afternoon. He was called out on a fastball eight inches off the plate before he left the on-deck circle. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
For a split-second, with the bases loaded in the third inning, I was relieved. Jorge Cantu was coming up where Adrian Gonzalez’s lineup spot used to be. The drop-off from Gonzalez to Cantu is like the drop-off from Ozzie Smith to Garry Templeton. Finally, after a season of annoying Padres games that were followed by annoying Padres games, the Giants were able to catch a br...
Why? Why did my brain think that the Padres wouldn’t be annoying if they got rid of Gonzalez? Stupid, stupid brain. The Padres got rid of the one guy who you could point at and say, "Oh, that guy beat us? Well, that stinks, but at least it was him. He’s really, really good."
With that guy, that solitary player, gone the Padres have the chance to be even more annoying. It’s like evolution coming up with a cobra that can sneeze anthrax powder -- totally redundant, unnecessary, and extra terrifying. Also, the cobra was defanged, so it has to gum you to death, which it does with great zeal. The gumming hurts just as much.
Madison Bumgarner didn’t look especially bad today -- he pitched to the corners well enough, and his breaking ball had some bite. He just got Padred. San Diego battled for ten pitches, took extra bases, and worked walks. That’s what the Padres do. This was a Padres game.
Want more evidence this was a Giants/Padres game? The pitcher for San Diego looked hittable and got into trouble, but only gave up one run. Then the Padres turned to sixteen different relievers with plus sliders, and the Giants couldn’t score a run against them.
And I understand the grumbling about the umps. If the pitch to Buster Posey in the top of the third is a strike, then Nick Hundley strikes out looking in the bottom of the third. If the pitch to Buster Posey in the top of the third isn’t a strike, then the Giants take a 2-0 lead and get at least one more at-bat with the bases loaded. It would be the first thing to complain about if Bumgarner didn’t fall into the vortex of comebacker-booting insanity that has sucked in many a Giant pitcher this season, or if the Giants could have put together another successful rally at any point during the game.
This still feels like 2000. The role of Kevin Elster was played by the entire Dodger team. And Padre team. Several times over the first week. No need to panic. This is still a good team.