Well, that was that. The next goal is to get close enough to the Diamondbacks to allow us to blame the whole season on Scott Cousins. Buster Posey is worth, what, twenty wins? Thirty? So the Giants still have a shot to stay that close. There's nothing better than childishly saying "But if it weren't for ..." after losing. It makes you feel better, and it annoys the other side. Win/win. Except for the losing.
When Cody Ross hit a leadoff home run, every single Giants fan watching said, "Well, there's our run." It would be a tired joke if it were a joke. It wasn't a joke. No one who said that chuckled afterwards. It's not funny.
It's amazing to think where the Giants were at the trading deadline. That seems like a half-season ago. They were in first place by a couple of games, they had just traded for Carlos Beltran, and they had all sorts of home games coming up, most of them against sub-.500 teams. Since the start of August, the Giants have had seven series at home. They lost five and split two. A team that goes almost two months between series wins at home isn't a team that deserves the playoffs.
While the addition of a fifth team to the playoff hunt is already repugnant on a couple of levels, this really makes it hit home: The Giants would still be in the thick of the playoff chase right now. This team, this tired, offensive wasteland would be just a game or two behind the Cardinals for the fifth spot. And if they actually outlasted the Cardinals? They'd play a one-game playoff against the team with the fourth-best record to see who would advance to the NLDS. That record would belong to the Diamondbacks.
How would that be fair? What haven't the Diamondbacks already proven that they'd need to prove in a one game playoff? Just ugly. Think of this Giants team the next time you read about a realignment proposal that would add another playoff team. This team should be relegated to The Football League, not be in line for a one-game playoff.
The Giants could still win seven games in a row, and the Diamondbacks could lose seven games in a row. It's baseball! But, yeah. You're forgiven if you start to rosterbate furiously for the next week or four months. Prince Fielder is a free agent, don't you know? Maybe the Giants can trade Matt Cain to free agency for him.
And that joke in the first paragraph about what the next goal is? That one was supposed to be silly, but there are two legitimate goals: stay over .500, and stay in second place. Losing the division isn't humiliating after a World Series championship. Things happen. Slipping to 80-82 while the Dodgers pull ahead? That'd be pretty humiliating. Though maybe that would mean the Giants' first-round pick would be protected, so they wouldn't have to give it up when they sign Raul Ibanez.
See? I can be optimistic in the face of a loss, too.