Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. If you still think the Giants have a chance to win the division, if you still think the Giants with this roster can still make the playoffs, congratulations. You're a better fan than I am. You're a better Giants fan than most. You have the true faith. You should be proud. Make sure to redeem that faith for extra fan points when the Giants make the playoffs. Those extra fan points will allow you substantial privileges, such as all the mustard packets your pockets can hold when you buy a hot dog at a game.
The Giants were five games back last year on August 30th. The time for cheeky but-last-year reminders is past. The Giants are in a worse spot than they were last year. It took an epic collapse for the Padres to allow the Giants to win. The Diamondbacks would have to collapse like the Giants did in August. They don't have Orlando Cabrera. Teams don't just collapse like that.
If you think it's rude to blame Orlando Cabrera for everything, please note that he didn't have a hit tonight. Look it up. Blaming Carlos Beltran is for n00bs.
Is there anyone who watched that game and got upset? Like, when Soriano hit his bomb, was anyone like, "OH, DAMMIT, OH NO OH NO, THAR GOES THE DIVISION!!!!"? Because, boy, that was a waste of negative energy. This game was hilarious. You could feel it build up to the punch line. The punch line was you. There go another three hours you could have used to learn a foreign language. Poof.
Ryan Vogelsong was okay. He got hit hard at times. He kept his composure. If he went another inning, he could have had the quality start. That's about what we should expect. Because he's Ryan Vogelsong. Ryan Vogelsong. The guy was the answer to a trade-deadline riddle just a few months ago, just like Mike Villano or Nate Bump.
I think Vogelsong played in Malta last year. Dude wasn't supposed to be good. He gave the Giants everything he had this year, and he was the best story of the season, and you don't have to restrict the topic to "Giants" when making that statement. When the FAA investigators pore over the wreckage of this season, they'll find that the black box has amazing things to say about Ryan Vogelsong. He's been a pleasure. Looking forward to watching him next year.
The rest of the team tonight: barf.
But! But! This is the perfect moment to talk strategy! Free from emotion, free from caught-in-the-moment nonsense, let's talk strategy. In the top of the whatever inning, the Cubs had runners at second and third with two outs. Tyler Colvin was up. He has a 2011 line of no/no/nope. He's been worse than Tejada duct-taped to Rowand with a sack over both of their heads. But Colvin is left-handed, and the Giants' pitcher was right-handed. So the Giants walked the bases loaded to get to Geovany Soto, who is sort of okay, even in a down year.
With the bases loaded, a hitter knows what to look for with a 2-1 count, a 3-1 count, or a 3-2 count. There's all sorts of count leverage that wasn't there before. If a pitcher has an open base, and he chooses to throw to the hitter who has the platoon advantage, he can be crafty. He can work around the hitter, still trying to retire him at the same time. With the bases loaded, that doesn't work. Throw strikes or die. With runners on second and third, NL hitters have hit .243.394/.381 this year. The OBP reflects the freedom to nibble. With the bases loaded, NL hitters hit .271/.311/.417 in 2011. That's the highest average and slugging percentage of any runner-specific situation.
So for next year, let's hope the Giants never, ever, ever, never, load the bases when they don't need to.
Guess what, super fan: The playoff tickets cost the same for all of us, even if we give up on August 30th. So come on down. Grab a beer. Sit down and say, "Fuuuuuuuuck. What a year. What a wild year."