I don't know if you've ever been on a houseboat for an extended period of time. They're fun! The best way to describe them is as some combination of house and boat. But by the third or fourth day, they smell like the seventh ring of hell. You're just floatin' around on a lake, carrying all of the plumbing from the past week underneath you. It's like a floating New York City tenement from the late 1800s.
I've been on a few where the goal of everyone was to get as drunk and boisterous as possible. And there was always someone who gravely miscalculated. Three or four too many, too quickly. And when the time came to pay for their crimes, they had to journey through those rings of hell. There was no Virgil to guide them, not as if they needed some Roman dude to say, "Go into that acrid 4'x6' rectangle, shut the door, and may God have mercy on your soul."
And everything turned awful at that point. Violently, miserably awful. The worst of the worst -- the opposite of everywhere they'd rather be. Compared to the overall time spent on the trip, this part didn't last very long at all. But while it was happening, it was the worst possible place on Earth for that person. It negated all of the fun they'd seemingly enjoyed to that point.
Invariably, after the actual purging, there's a calm. Our hero has made it through the worst, and he or she embraces the calm. The only thing to do is just lie down and go to sleep. Or maybe the toilet can serve as a makeshift pillow, propping them up as they drift into unconsciousness.
The circumstances are still awful, of course. There's a weird film on the floor that, if left alone for a few months, has the potential to grow fluorescent marigolds and paisley crabgrass -- things that nature has never seen. The defeated is rolling around in this, possibly covered in a little bit of their own sick. It's almost certainly the lowest point of their journey.
But it doesn't feel like the lowest point of their journey. It's awful, but strangely calm. There's an acceptance, a letting go. And in the morning, there was a chance for redemption.
That's where the Giants were today. Peaceful. Asleep. Rolling around in a layer of misery and filth. The worst had already passed, yet it was paradoxically still going on.
The rest of the party was kind of awesome! After the first series of the season, there was way more fun than unpleasantness. But it's a good time for a break. Take some time off, Giants. Go somewhere where it isn't hot and sticky. Come back refreshed. Things will get better, I'm sure. Let's all forget about this ……. now. Well, at least by Friday. Forget about this by Friday, everyone.
Tim Lincecum gets a rest. A nice, extended rest. He'll come back in a week. He'll probably get a start against the Astros at home -- the alternative is against the Braves in Atlanta, which is a bad idea for several reasons. It's hard to imagine a better scenario for Lincecum than the Astros at home.
And if he futzes that up, I don't see how there's any way the Giants can keep him in the rotation. The wait-and-see portion of the program is almost over. Something's broken. Maybe rest can fix it -- by this point, rest for Lincecum is the same thing as unplugging an electrical device and plugging it back in. Could work. It's worked before! Probably isn't going to work. Worth trying.
I guess that means Brad Penny, right? If Lincecum screws up his next start, Brad Penny is in the rotation? Good gravy, it's come to that. After all of the offseason speculation and debating this winter, it's July and we're talking about Brad Penny replacing Tim Lincecum in the rotation like it makes sense. That's a Cormac McCarthy passage, right there.
Everything is ashen and choked with the hellfire of the prairie with the cinders floating down and singeing the hairs on the back of your neck that were already burnt black and Brad Penny might replace Tim Lincecum in the rotation and the sun hides behind the dust like a demon gunman waiting to spring out of his foxhole.
So hard to watch. The joy we had at watching the Vogelssaince … this is our penance. This is the debt that was left unpaid. It's one of the most miserable feelings I've ever had as a fan, watching Lincecum struggle like this.
Hector Sanchez is not the missing ingredient. My theory is that he doesn't help Tim Lincecum more than Buster Posey would. It's still a theory, but it's kind of like the Theory of Gravity. It makes a lot more sense to dig into the real scientific debates than it does to disprove that one. Worth a shot. Move on. Posey starts four days, Sanchez starts one.
If Posey needs more rest, well, that's different. But if the idea is to match pitchers with personal catchers, the idea is wrong. And we're all on the same page.
/Bochy raises his hand
Alllllllllll on the same page. Every single one of us.
/Bochy lowers his hand, mumbles
In the third inning, Gregor Blanco checked his swing on an 0-1 pitch. The third-base ump ruled it a swing, and the Pirates fans erupted. It wasn't an especially important pitch; it wasn't a huge point in the game. But Pirates fans loved it, and they were loud.
It was good to hear. It was amazing to hear. Is that patronizing? I think it might be. I don't mean it to be.
I remember what 1997 was like. I remember this game, which I watched with 10,000 frozen individuals who were there even though they were told the Giants were eventually going to fade. Their run differential wasn't good enough, or their rotation wasn't good enough, or …. And I remember how loud those crowds used to be, even if the overall noise was something of an illusion created by the sparse crowd during those night games. On the weekends, it was just loud.
I've been pulling for a 1997 season for the Pirates for a while -- one where a single star leads a bunch of players having better-than-expected seasons to places they weren't supposed to go. So I'm happy for them, and I'm pulling for them.
Still wish they could have just kicked back for another two days, though, dammit. That was humiliating.