Post-game thread: Our long national nightmare, etc ...

Without getting too Behind the Music on you, this site is here because of the Giants newsgroup, which was like a messageboard that wasn't that easy to find, so it kept a lot of the riff-raff out. Gregg Pearlman was the unofficial curator of the newsgroup, and it was he who discovered one of the fundamental truths of baseball:

The Earnest Ragging Principle ... states that if you are harshly critical of a player -- as long as your criticism is honest and heartfelt -- that player will turn around and do something to help his team significantly and make you look like a fool.

Another condition is that the criticism must be without forethought along the lines of, "Maybe if I really hammer J.T., he'll come through." Also, if you catch yourself earnestly ragging a player while you're doing it, the positive result won't happen. The key is, if it's going to happen, it has to surprise you and make you look like you don't know what you're talking about.

Got that? You can't complain about Chris Stewart coming up with the bases loaded and two outs and secretly hope that he comes through. That's not how it works. You have to resign yourself to failure -- there can't be a doubt in your mind. And then baseball makes you look stupid.

So of course the lineup with Orlando Cabrera hitting fifth is the one that scores eight runs. Because while the Giants might not have the greatest hitters in the world, they will always have six better options to hit fifth in the lineup. Lineups don't make that much of a difference, and, really, hitting Cabrera second would ostensibly do more damage because it would lead to more at-bats for him. But aesthetically, it's way easier to deal with the idea of Cabrera batting second. Bat control, or veteran approach, or not giving away at-bats ... there are old-timey ways to explain that away.

But even people who stopped learning things about baseball in 1968 are like, "Whoa. Orlando Cabrera hitting fifth?" This makes it perfect for the Earnest Ragging Principle. And when he hits fifth tomorrow, there will be someone who thinks, "HEH, IF IT WORKED YESTERDAY MAYBE IT WILL WORK TODAY," and screws it all up. This was nature's gift to us, but it was only good for today.

Who cares? The Giants had their first blowout win since using a year's worth of runs against the Tigers on July 2. Even if they hadn't, they had Ryan Vogelsong pitching like the old Ryan Vogelsong, which is the same as the old new Ryan Vogelsong, which is much different than the young old Ryan Vogelsong. Point is, dude's good. The best non-trophy story of the last decade, and that includes Cy Youngs, Pablo's emergence, and the Barry Zito contract. Truth!

This was the win we were begging for. If it had been a 1-0 win, with the lone run coming in the 12th inning on a single/steal/error/fly ball combo, it still would have felt pretty sweet, but then you'd have to deal with those nagging voices. "Not sure how long they can keep winning like this." Instead, the voices are optimistic, hopeful. "Boy, if Cody Ross could come around, and if Torres was 75% as good as he was last year, and if Beltran gets hot, and if Pablo stays hot ..." After getting drubbed the past five games, it's much better to hear those voices.

Star-divide

Switching topics really quickly ...

Here's what the lineup should be for the rest of the season, assuming that Belt will never win a job:

CF - Torres
2B - Keppinger
3B - Pablo
RF - Beltran
LF - Ross
1B - Huff
C - Whiteside/Stewart
SS - Cabrera
P - Pitcher

You can quibble about the bottom parts -- flipping Cabrera with the catchers, or hitting the pitcher seventh -- but that's the lineup for me. There are still a lot of starts for Schierholtz against soft-tossing lefties (Torres could rest) and tough righties (Ross could rest) with this arrangement.

It's not Murderer's Row, but it's time to stop mixing and matching. Cody Ross tied his career high in walks today in his 85th game. Maybe that's a fluke, but it's good enough for me. If he's really more patient now, he'll be a very, very nice player going forward.

 

Year Age Tm PA BB% SO/BB
2005 24 LAD 26 3.9% 10.00
2006 25 TOT 298 7.4% 2.95
2007 26 FLA 197 10.2% 1.90
2008 27 FLA 506 6.5% 3.52
2009 28 FLA 604 5.6% 3.59
2010 29 TOT 569 6.5% 3.27
2010 29 FLA 487 6.2% 3.33
2010 29 SFG 82 8.5% 3.00
2011 30 SFG 310 11.6% 2.00
8 Seasons 2532 7.3% 2.97
MLB Averages 8.5% 2.03
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/3/2011.

He plays. Torres is the best defender in center, and he's probably not the awful hitter some are making him out to be. He was good the last two seasons, whereas Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz were not. Tie goes to the guy who's done it before (with great defense in center, at that). I'm not sure how this is a question.

That game was fun. The previous five were not. More fun games, please.

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