SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 17: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants is clearly distracted by the latest Greg Papa creation, Hunter's Prey. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
I can think of no better counterpoint to the Apocmelkypse than watching the other heralded, semi-heralded, and totally forgotten players acquired during and prior to the season play a game as though they weren't a guy short. Sure, they're playing a short-handed Padres team forced to start Ross Ohlendorf, but the Giants are a team that has proven itself quite capable in coming up short against inferior teams. And there was every chance that a post-suspension hangover affected play heading into this series. There's still a very, very good chance that the Giants score 1 run the rest of the weekend, but in terms of a bounce back game, you couldn't ask for anything better than this. First:
His best start since the perfect game. Crisp pitches, never really in trouble... in other words, he was The Horse, The Ace, The Hoss, The Horssace (pronounced like Versace) , The Guy. It'd be easy for people who never watch the Giants to say that they lost The Guy two days ago, but the Giants have shown time and again that they are more than one player. That has certainly been a high priority for management in the post-"home runs at AT&T Park by the home team" era. The offense, the whole team, isn't just built around one guy. It's really tough to look at Matt Cain sometimes and not think, "He's The Guy." The Giants scored 10 runs tonight, so, they didn't even really need him to be The Guy, but Matt Cain couldn't help himself.
THE NEW GUYS
Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence, and Gregor Blanco have big roles to play for the rest of the season. They were always going to be a big part of the post-Melkpocalypse narrative and tonight we got to see a glimpse of the next 6 weeks. Charlie Culberson, Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin, cash, and however much postage costs to send a player a Spring Training invitation was the cost of a pennant race. The relative value of all this depends on how much the future matters to you versus the present season. From a post-Amelkalypse standpoint I think it's totally worth it. The Giants had enough warm, talented bodies on hand who are capable of generating offense, and two days after the most devastating news of the season they demonstrated those capabilities.
He didn't look totally lost at the plate tonight. He didn't look like he was poised to go on a hitting tear. He just looked like a guy who belonged in the big leagues. If we couple that thought with the historical numbers, then it's not difficult to envision that he will also cushion the blow post-Mapelockalypse. Of course, I would sound entirely too reasonable with this modest prediction if I didn't factor in the fear that he was terrible the year the Giants won the World Series, and when he was good last year the Giants did not make the playoffs. Ergo, if Pablo is *too* good, they will not make the playoffs.
By the way, I'm fine with people calling the Giants rascals or some variation of the word. If they want to heap their anger towards unfair systems and/or perceived injustices on an entire organization, then I say let them. Not because it makes those people look petty, ridiculous, misinformed, or wholly ignorant of how reasonable people approach complicated or serious situations (all accurate characterizations, I contend!), but because we can savor the arc of their righteous indignation. First, we're offended and annoyed by their accusations, chest thumping, and moralizing. Later, we smile like juiced Cheshire cats (oh wow what an apt description of him post-Apolcalypsemelky) as the Giants go ahead and win anyway.
So, stick that notion in your back pocket as we endure the next few weeks of post modern grandstanding.