May 5, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park. Recently, he asked the Mythbusters if they'd test to see if a cow could actually jump over the moon. (Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE)
Dumb people aren’t curious. They don’t ask questions. They either don’t know that they should ask or are too embarrassed to ask and that causes their ignorance to persist. They say this game will humble you (if you’re a player), and I submit it can make you look like a dumb fan if you don’t ask questions (seriously, people who don’t know that they’re called "runs" and not "points" – ask somebody!)
The Giants make me ask a lot of questions. In this particular game:
"Why the slavish devotion to splits?"
"What’s wrong with working the count and drawing walks?"
"Why only look at four pitches from a new pitcher late in the game?"
"Why didn’t Pill run home on that groundball in the sixth?"
"Why is Theriot playing?"
"Why did Theriot struggle so much with those pickoff attempts on Kottaras?"
"What was Posey doing on that ground ball in the top of the seventh?"
"What are you swinging at?"
These are not rhetorical questions and they don’t really take up much time to answer, it’s simply the volume of questions the Giants inspire on a day-to-day basis that I find to be most troubling. Well, first, I find it kinda hilarious and then troubling. The daily "Lineup Jumble" and the "Whack-a-mole" plate approach are comical at this point. The Giants might as well run the Wildcat while they’re at it. Somehow, the offense and the defense have become a gimmick, entertaining so as to distract from the questionable assemblage of talent.
Flemming’s color guy, Bill Schroeder, commented during the Giants’ sixth-inning rally that put them ahead, "Just don’t pull that ball. You pull a ball, you wind up putting it on the ground." He was saying that as a compliment to Buster Posey who had hit the ball up the middle to score Melky Cabrera, Melky Cabrera who had tripled pulling the ball into the left center field gap. In the previous inning, Madison Bumgarner had pulled a slow curve down the left field line. The point I’m trying to make is ALL THE GIANTS DO IS PULL THE BALL. THAT IS THEIR ENTIRE APPROACH. THE HITTING MEETING BEFORE EACH SERIES IS JUST A BUNCH OF GUYS SITTING AROUND A TABLE WHILE BAM BAM POINTS TO A DRY ERASE BOARD WITH ONLY THE WORD "SWING" WRITTEN ON IT. The first 4 innings of this game was a tribute to weak contact and could’ve been photographed and put in a book called The Joy of Pull. Their "swing first" approach is just… well, let’s all be thankful that Randy Wolf decided to hang some curveballs.
But then there’s the pitching. I don’t know how much I need to write about Madison Bumgarner here. Grant already sings his praises far better than I ever could and the jubilance in the game threads is obvious. He is a remarkable presence on the mound and the roster. His success and skill at such a young age defies what Bruce Bochy thinks about young players on offense. Bumgarner has earned his place by being dominant, unflappable, and far better than any other option the Giants have in the organization. It’s tough to be gimmicky with Bumgarner and the rest of the pitching, though a case could be made that throwing Mota in there for the eighth over Sergio Romo (despite his rough outing last night) was a bit of a gimmick.
So yeah, the Giants are kind of a gimmick team. They’re going to hang around .500 for most of the year and the only consistency we’ll be privy to is the inconsistency. Today’s win was great because winning is great, but besides the obvious – Madison Bumgarner – there wasn’t anything on display that was different from the losses that preceded it. Which raises the question: why?