For a while, there, the angle was easy. The Giants were familiar again, an imperfect-yet-compelling ex-spouse that you took back despite their obvious flaws. Perhaps the ex-spouse was beautiful enough to launch a thousand ships, but always apt to drug you and steal your car. Perhaps the ex-spouse was a kind and gentle soul who looked like Fred Breining.
You get to set up your own dichotomy. One part really good, one part really bad. Pitching and hitting. It was like it should be. Superlative pitching, expletive hitting. That's the Giants we know and love. Know and usually love.
It wasn't even that they were that bad in the early part of the game against Jamie Moyer. They were patient. They had runners. They just couldn't get the right hit at the right time -- the same combination of misfortune and miserable that hampered them last year. And the whole time, there was some dude pitching his brains out and generally being awesome. Felt like home.
But then the Giants scored four runs. Four. One more than three. Two more than two. This was the sixth-straight game in which they've scored four or more runs. The last time they did that was in 2007, when they did it eight times (4/30 through 5/7).
And then Brian Wilson melted into a puddle of goo, and then he slipped in the goo, and then he was covered in the goo, and then the goo got up and dusted the goo off and calmly picked up a save.
You read that last sentence, and you're like, "But Brian Wilson isn't 49!" I told you, we'll get to that.
The hitters I kept thinking back to today:
1. Melky Cabrera
What if he's really as good as he was last year? What if he's better? Crazy talk in the offseason. Suspiciously optimistic talk in the spring. Almost plausible now. I was bullish on Melky coming into the year, if only because I didn't want to accept that a 21-year-old with a .360 on-base percentage could turn into dust that quickly. I wanted to believe in the best-shape-of-his-life stories.
2. Brandon Crawford
Every time he has a multi-hit game, I will point out just how awesome it would be if this guy were merely competent. Not good. Not above-average. Just as good as, like, Brendan Ryan or Jason Bartlett. That would be phenomenal.
If he's actually better, if he turns into the guy who was projected to go in the first round of the draft instead of the guy who hit his way into the fourth round? Oh, man. Giants baseball: Hope that everyone's better!
And how. He does have a pretty, classic left-handed swing, so it's easier to trick yourself into believing progress has been made. I'm tricking myself right now. I want to believe, and right now Crawford looks good.
Brian Wilson came out in the ninth, throwing 89 m.p.h.. They were mostly sinkers that he was using to catch the fringes of the strike zone. At some point, he became Huston Street, relying on guile and command. No one cleared this with me. I didn't sign off on this. And then he turned his ankle and started throwing zitonian fastballs. No one signed off on that. It was more than a little negligent to leave him out there, but all's well that ends well, right?
Just, uh, don't do that again, Boch. Dude was hurt and throwing meatballs. If it's his ankle, I'm not too worried about the next outing. But, man, after one pitch at 85, he should have been gone.
As long as Wilson's ankle is fine, I'll give his new pseudo-Huston approach a chance. My evidence that he could be okay is as follows (warning: big ol' .gifs): this pitch, this pitch, and this pitch. He'll still scare the hell out of me. But he seems like a pitcher who can learn to survive with diminished velocity, like Street.
Also of note: Madison Bumgarner threw 7.1 innings in Coors Field and allowed a run. That's a 22-year-old who did that. And we're not even surprised. He's amazing because we have to remind ourselves that he's amazing. Turns out Bumgarner is still amazing. Might be the best pitcher on the staff. I wonder what Beau Mills has done so far this season.