I mean, they didn't have any demons. Buster Posey didn't even have his driver's license in 2002. Our demons. Which I made a big point of pretending to ignore this afternoon. So moving on ...
It would have been swell if Matt Cain threw a second perfect game like a 16-bit Johnny Vander Meer. I had a concept album written and recorded in the event of consecutive complete games, but I'll save it for the next time. My manager told me that the 22-minute spoken-word passage was too much, but he's a hack. It would have been worth it. There was a Moog solo in the background. Matt Cain. But it wasn't to be. Matt Cain was pretty danged ordinary.
He had something of a perfect-game hangover. Or "he pitched like a pitcher subject to the same ups and downs that pitchers often do." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. He was literally -- literally! -- perfect the last time out, so it was a little jarring to see him less-than-perfect. But he still pitched tough. The difference between pitching tough and having a bad game is a broken-bat dunker down the line at the exact wrong time, but because it's Matt Cain, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. On account of him being better than us, and all.
What's the difference between Cain on Wednesday and Cain tonight? A little tweak here. A mechanical adjustment there. A fastball that wouldn't nick the edges. A curve that wouldn't flop over for a first-pitch strike. It makes you really appreciate how fluky-special Wednesday was. There were 19,781 games before the first Giants perfect game. Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, and Juan Marichal pitched a bunch of them. Those guys were good, but they never had a complete game. Makes you appreciate it a little more when you watch Cain pitch with a ton of effort.
That was the Game 2 of 2012. Era-adjusted.
So that was the first time we got to see Mike Trout in an adversarial effort. To which I remark: Holy crap. He roped a single, stole second, took third on a medium-deep sac fly, and scored on another sac fly. Even on the last out of the game -- an innocuous groundout -- I thought he was going to keep running for a two-run, inside-the-park solo homer.
The only possible response is to laugh at Jeff Sullivan and the rest of the Mariners fans. Hahahaha, nice going, guys. We have, what, A.J. Ellis to worry about? He's already 48. Enjoy this Trout goof for the next 20 years.
I want my 20-year-olds to look like I did -- pimply, about 90 pounds, and listening to Big Head Todd and twirling to impress the girl who is also twirling for some reason. Trout is already a fully formed player. A freaky man-child. It weirds me out to think that he looks so comfortable at the plate now, when we're doing the is-he-isn't-he shuffle for Brandon Belt four years later. That isn't to pick on Belt. That's just to say Mike Trout is a molten pile of talent and nonsense.
And why would I pick on Belt? He has a .379 on-base percentage now. After going 2-for-2 with two walks, he's at .261/.379/.428. We spent all this digital ink on the guy being a future middle-of-the-order hitter, and it turns out he's 2003 J.T Snow?
Oh, god, how I'll take it. The alternatives can be so much worse. Belt looked good tonight, roping a double that just missed going out, and attempting to decapitate Erick Aybar with his single. That, and the two walks. I'll admit to reading too much into his rough stretch earlier in the month. Got caught up in small samples for no good reason. I've been pretending like I know what I'm talking about for almost a decade. You'd think I'd learn to ignore small samples.
And you might suggest that we're in the middle of a small sample now, and that if you think Belt has turned a corner, that's only because you're seeing what you want to see. That's a fair argument, except
As I've mentioned several times today, I have a soft spot in my heart for Jerome Williams. Not so soft as to root for him against the Giants, but soft enough to hope for good things. I'm thrilled that he's in the middle of a successful comeback. Is it greedy to want both him and Ryan Vogelsong? Yeah, it probably is. But I still root for the comeback.
This is scary, though:
Angels starter Jerome Williams, who started Monday, has been rushed to the hospital with breathing problems, his wife, Sarah says. #Angels— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 19, 2012
Best wishes to Jerome. Still pulling for him for the foreseeable future.
So LaTroy Hawkins is pitching on the same team as Jerome Williams and it is 2012 and where is my flying car and holy god what is going on.
The little play of the game of the year of the season: Matt Cain throwing a perfect strike to Buster Posey in the fourth inning. It looked easy, but it was a play that could have been screwed up 183 different ways, even if Cain had caught it cleanly. It's always worth appreciating the plays like that.
If Sergio Romo could perfect the sequence he threw to Torii Hunter, he'd truly be unstoppable: Hanging slider on the inside, fastball in on the hands, perfect slider off the edge. The last thing you expect from Romo is a hanging slider, then you get one, foul it off, and it ticks you off. Then you look for the hanging slider, and you get a fastball on the hands? What a bunch of crap. So you look for the slider, thinking that you'll react to the fastball. But then you get the perfect, no-dot slider that everyone talks about.. Three pitches. Perfect. It gets one of these:
The ol' gunslinger. Good on you, Romo.