If you really wanted to curate and absorb all of the post-game chatter about that game, you'd hear a lot about the Giants arriving in Chicago around 3:00 a.m. CT last night. That was after a three-hour flight, which was after a long game, which was played against a team that can cause symptoms similar to radiation poisoning with too much exposure. And there's a good reason for people bringing that up. It makes a difference.
But you don't really want to curate and absorb all of the post-game chatter about that game. You're a sick monkey, but you're not that sick.
A bigger concern than the lack of rest, though, was the iffy start from Madison Bumgarner. He wasn't on the plane last night. He was well-rested. But for whatever reason, he couldn't put hitters away today. Joe Mather fouled off four two-strike pitches before taking a walk to start the game. The only reason I had ever heard of Joe Mather before today was that he was a part of one of my favorite collaborative ventures ever. Yet Bumgarner couldn't get him out.
The two-strike unfortunateness happened again in the fourth. With two outs and an 0-2 count, Bumgarner gave up a single to Anthony Rizzo. It came on a fastball down the middle. It's not an exaggeration to suggest that pitch cost the Giants the game. Four runs and some honking-bike-horn baseball later, and the Giants were down big.
One of those things, man. One of those things.
As is, it's hard to come down too hard on a team the game after a road sweep. I'm secretly thrilled they scored four runs, to be honest. The 2011 Giants would have had four hits, ineffectively sprinkled around the middle innings. Chris Volstad would have dominated instead of being annoyingly effective. Never forget the Legend of Brandon Backe:
The Giants didn't have one of those games this time. They made it close. They had some chances, and all that. And, what, are you going to be unhappy with Madison Bumgarner and be an ungrateful twit? Of course not. It'd be swell if the Giants won their next 30 games to move 34.5 games up in the West, but that's just a touch unrealistic. As such, you'll get games like today.
Alfonso Soriano murdered the Giants today, with a two-out single and a two-out homer. This is notable because Soriano had a heckuva chance at being a Giant via a trade, but he didn't want to play in San Francisco. He said it was too cold, but he probably didn't want his numbers to suffer, which would have hurt his contract push in 2029.
I'm not sure how to feel about that. On one hand, I'm offended that anyone wouldn't want to play on the Giants. On the other, I really wouldn't have looked forward to Soriano starting in the Giants' outfield in 2014. And you know he would have, too. He was going to be around for the next two years, especially if the Cubs were picking up most of his salary.
So I've resolved not to despise Soriano, so long as he's not destroying the Giants on a day when their left fielder looks like he's swinging a fishing pole. Because that's just rude.
Gregor Blanco looks like he's swinging a fishing pole. He's a useful player -- good guy to have on the bench. But he's pretty miserable as a starting corner outfielder. His last two months before today: .214/.298/.300
Xavier Nady started more games in left at Fresno than any other position. That's an omen. And while I think Blanco's defense and speed still make him more valuable than Nady, I could certainly use a bit of a Blanco break. We probably don't have a choice.