The last time the Giants walked ten times and lost: May 29, 2001. That was the 18-inning, 1-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. The losing pitcher was Ryan Vogelsong, whom we never heard from again.
As a contender for the most frustrating game of the year, this one had a lot going for it. Horrible defense. Runners left in scoring position all night. Lincecum bunching up all of his base runners at the worst possible time again. Feckless homegrown hitter after feckless homegrown hitter.
But it could have been more frustrating. The Giants walked 10 times tonight. Ten! Baby steps. And the way it could have been the most frustrating game is if Melky Cabrera didn't double down the line, and if only the Blanco walk in the third came around to score. That would have been most frustrating loss of the year. All it would have taken was a Melky Cabrera grounder to second. A half-inch in any direction. Double play. And the Giants wouldn't have used those walks at all.
You could almost picture Bochy harrumphing that a buncha walks don't do crap. Need to drive the ball, et cetera, et cetera. Instead, the Giants actually made the Rockies pay a little bit. Made them sweat, at least.
So it wasn't the most frustrating loss of the year. It had a comeback that went nowhere, horrible strikeouts at the worst time, and runners, runners, runners just hanging out, waiting for someone to drive them in. But it wasn't the most frustrating loss of the year. Because at least they got some runners, right?
Ha ha ha ha, just kidding. That was the most frustrating loss of the year.
We're past the point of freaking out over Lincecum. At least, I am. You can't just pretend the first three starts of the season didn't exist, but since then, I'm pretty convinced that he's the same pitcher he was in 2010, at least, just without a single scrap of luck. He's missing bats and he's making fewer terrible mistakes over the heart of the plate.
That doesn't mean tonight wasn't frustrating to watch. Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating. The secret word. Y'all supposed to scream when you hear it. Frustrating. The purple muppet in the corner will slow it down and help you with the pronunciation. Carlos Gonzalez bloops a double down the line? Of course he's going to score. Tulowitzki reaches third on a two-base error? Of course he's going to score. That's how his season has gone so far.
And when he's trotted out in the seventh with a fastball that's slowing down and 100 pitches? Well, you knew another run was coming in. But we're a few starts removed from a completely unrecognizable Tim Lincecum. That guy was freaking me out. This guy is just frustrating.
Gregor Blanco walked to lead off the game again. He starts again. This is not negotiable.
Actually, I'm thinking Bochy can get a punch card for leadoff walks. And after each one, Blanco can bring the card to Bochy, who will punch out a little hole. And when Blanco gets a dozen, he gets a free sandwich or a $50,000 bonus or something. They can let human resources hash that part out.
Just about everything good this week has involved Gregor Blanco. I know it's easy to get too excited over a hot stretch of play, but at least he can get a damned sandwich.
I'm not sure that I remember watching a hitter struggle to hit fastballs quite like Brandon Belt. Up and away. Middle away. Middle up. Pumping them right by him again and again. So frustrating. I have no idea how that's supposed to be fixed. The good thing is that the Giants don't either, so at least we're covered.
Buster Posey's gutter slump isn't something that can be covered in a paragraph or two, so let's save that until tomorrow. Until then, let's sit around and wonder if Emmanuel Burriss really is the worst hitter on a major-league roster right now. Here's the only double Burriss has had since 2009:
In the last 100 games Burriss has played in, that's his only double. It hit two feet in front of home plate. He has absolutely no value to a team if he isn't walking, and he isn't going to walk because he hits a double every 100 games. He's like Chone Figgins without all the positive attributes. I'm pretty sure that Bochy's had it with him, judging by his decision to send up Schierholtz in the ninth.
Speaking of whom, Schierholtz swung at one pitch in the last at-bat of the game.
Go on. Guess which one he swung at. No, seriously, guess. Come on. Be a sport. Keep in mind that Rafael Betancourt works left-handed hitters away. He has never hit a left-handed batter.
Here's a chart of the pitches Betancourt has thrown to left-handers over the last two seasons:
That's from the catcher's perspective. Do you believe Schierholtz was thinking the other way when the fastball came on the outside half of the plate? The last fifteen words of that sentence were unnecessary, and the answer is "no."