That was a Giants/Padres game, alright. That was almost the Platonic ideal. It's comforting to sit back and watch outs traded so freely, so quickly, as a string of drool hangs from your chin down to the sofa. If you pluck the string of drool, you'll find it's an A-flat. But you can't lift your hand to find out. Giants and Padres, lulling you into a state of meditation. You turn off your brain like someone who just put their eight kids to bed so they can watch Real Housewives of Helena. Giants/Padres is your boring reality show, and you love it.
Except there were bookends of excitement. There were two double plays that reminded you why you watch baseball in the first place. The second one will get all the press -- and if you haven't seen it, that's the one to watch right away -- but the first one deserves to be remembered and highlighted, too:
There's so much that goes right on that play. I can't remember a double play where everyone who touched the ball got to show off a little bit. Just as you were settling in to get bored in all the right Giants/Padres ways, you saw the beauty of baseball. Later, you saw an even better, even more remarkable double play to save the lead. Those plays were mesmerizing. Get that drool out of here. This turned out to be one of the games of the year. There were people flying around the infield and the outfield. There were well-timed hits, and there were celebrations.
You thought you were settling in to watch boring baseball -- the Giants and Padres taking a low-scoring game deep into the restless night. Nope. It turned out to be a ridiculously exciting game. Besides, all baseball is good baseball. It's like the old line about sex and pizza. Even when it's bad, you're probably still covered in marinara sauce.
Of course, you realize that the Giants just won the first two games of a three-game series, right? We'll worry about that later.
Yet once the excitement wears off, you'll realize this was a phallic victory. You might think I meant Pyrrhic victory, and it was one of those too. But it was a phallic victory as well. Because the baseball gods can be total dicks. Pablo? You had to take Pablo from the team right as they were rolling? Aw, man. We've seen the no-Pablo lineups. A whole lot of Arias. More Burriss. Charlie Culberson gets involved.
So revel in the victory tonight, and worry about Pablo tomorrow. Because it's worth worrying about. Oh, man, how it's worth worrying about. A lineup without Pablo is going to be frustrating. Roll around in the walk-off win like a beagle in stink for now. Tomorrow you're waking up under a bench at the Greyhound station, your clothes will be crusty, and your head will hurt. But have fun tonight, and all!
I'm legitimately out of opinions on Brandon Belt. If he hits well for the next month, I won't believe it. If his slump continues, I'll still believe he's just about to break out of it. What could I possibly add? Matt Williams used to go through awful slumps as a young player, too. Eugenio Velez went through a historic slump last year. Either Belt is like Matt Williams, or he's like Eugenio Velez. Or maybe he's somewhere in the middle, unless he's better or worse. Remember you read that here first.
And when Belt struck out in his first two at-bats -- in a game that he wasn't supposed to play, which brings up all sorts of Clerks references -- I thought of movies I'd like to watch. Because thinking about Belt isn't going to do any good for, like, a month. When Joe Thatcher started him off with a perfect, outside-corner strike to lead off the ninth inning, my brain crawled out of my nose and went to the can. Forget it. I checked out.
But he worked a walk. He fouled off tough pitches, and he held up on tougher pitches. Look at his command of the strike zone:
Beautiful. Because of that, Belt scored the winning run. Seems like I should have an opinion on that. Nope. You're not tricking me this time. You're not getting me involved.
(Alright. I was proud of the big ol' ball of awkward. Heckuva at-bat. Still no idea what it means! Ask me in 2015 because I'm still gathering evidence for the time being.)
Madison Bumgarner seemed a bit off tonight, falling behind several hitters and missing his spots a lot. I remember thinking about a way to say "Everyone has their off nights, alright!" without being trite and boring.
That was what I consider an off night for Bumgarner. He threw seven innings, allowed two runs, walked two, and struck out nine. He's the same age as a prospect in AA. Between him and Posey and Vogelsong and Cain, I can't imagine there being a better time to be a Giants fan since Mays, McCovey, and Marichal. Imagine if Tim Lincecum gets going again. There is so much homegrown majesty on this team, I can't stand it.
And I want more, dammit. I'll whine until I get it. Until then, this Bumgarner cat's pretty far out.