Dave Flemming summed up the feeling in the sixth. The Giants had runners on second and third with no one out. Eli Whiteside was up. The score was 3-1, and Flemming said, "The Giants are in a spot where a ground ball could bring them within a run."
That seemed like Giants baseball in 2011 condensed into a single sentence. Man, I hope this backup catcher, who is only playing because our hearts were broken last week, can manage to make the right kind of out here so we can get a little bit closer. It was so obviously how the Giants were going to lose.
But the Giants-can’t-hit narrative writes itself. I have 53 different pre-written stories for that one already in the can. I can go back in the archives, find a post-game thread from 2007, substitute Miguel Tejada for Luis Figueroa*, and spend the rest of the night playing Galaga. I was prepared.
When the Giants score four runs for Tim Lincecum, who is striking out all sorts of fools without giving up a walk, yet they still lose? I don’t have anything for that. There isn’t an interesting spin to put on that. That’s just annoying.
Ah, yes. Thank you, Nate Schierholtz. Not only did you tie the game, but you knocked in the go-ahead run. And in doing so, you gave the Giants a win, and you gave me the opportunity to jump on the Start Nate bandwagon with both feet, using the endorphins of a late-inning comeback as liquid courage.
So, yeah. Start Nate Schierholtz. I skirted the issue last week, using weasel words to leave every possible out and reduce the chances of it looking like a stupid post. If he returned to the .250/.300/.380 guy we’re used to, I could say, "Hey, I didn’t explicitly say he should start!" If he morphed into his best-case scenario, I could link to that post and be like, "Called it, dorks." This sort of foresight and planning is why I drive a Corolla with a spoiler, peons.
But all it took were a couple of well-timed singles to make me dance on the tables, as it were. Nate! Nate! Nate! We know he can field. We know he can throw. We know he can hit triple-A pitching. The last step was for him to hit major-league pitching. And for the last 500 at-bats, he couldn’t. It was split over two seasons, and in a part-time role, but at very few points did he look like a major-league hitter -- at least, the kind who could start as a corner outfielder, defense be damned.
Now I’m using this night of heroics to pretend I’m brave. I was for Nate before I was against him a couple of years ago. I’m just coming back to the fold. Ross in left, Torres in center, Nate in right. It’s UZR porn, and if Nate can hit a little bit ... oh, man.
Here’s your chance for a rebuttal -- make a good argument why Nate shouldn’t start. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmmm. Right. Right. Good points, all. Oh, wait, what’s this?
Nate! Nate! Nate! Nate! Nate!
*Figueroa, who had five at-bats for the Giants in 2007, is hitting .306/.381/.376 in triple-A this year. He’s only 37. GET ON IT SABES!!