You know I'm in the mood for? A game where it's perfectly appropriate to blame one player. I want a game where it's obviously Unpopular Player's fault, and we can spend the night coming up with plans to mow "DFA" into his front lawn. I think what I'm saying is that we should get Cody Ransom back in the offseason. After he goes 0-for-5 with an error, we can blame him for losses past and present. It will be cathartic.
As is, we have to flip the switch to boring. Just one of those games, consarnit. Ryan Vogelsong gave up six hits and a home run (to the pitcher!) in five innings. He allowed four runs. Alex White gave up six hits and a home run in four innings. He allowed a run. So it goes.
The Giants reached base 16 times and hit two home runs. They scored only five runs, mostly because they were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and they left 10 runners on base. So it goes.
Marco Scutaro hit a sharp line drive with a runner on third and one out that could have tied the game. Instead, it was right at the first baseman. So it goes. This wasn't a game that lent itself to a lot of blame.
Except … well … I hate to do this, but …
When you go through the lineup, you can find a way that almost everyone contributed, even if only for a single at-bat. Pagan had three hits, Scutaro had two. Buster Posey had three, including a two-run homer. Hunter Pence had a home run, Brandon Belt had two singles and an RBI fielder's choice. Gregor Blanco was 1-for-3, and Brandon Crawford worked out a pair of excellent walks.
And then there was Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval left six runners on base, going hitless in five at-bats. He opened the game by grounding into a double play with two on and no outs. It wasn't the archetype of a bad Sandoval game -- he averaged five pitches per plate appearance -- but it was still a lousy game. It was certainly enough to be the difference in a one-run game. If you're skeptical of that claim, well, he also made an error that set up the last two runs for the Rockies.
Sandoval has hit .244/.305/.289 since returning from his hamstring injury. The walk and strikeout rates aren't bad -- ten walks and 13 strikeouts in 90 at-bats. But that power. Oh, that power. Since coming off the DL on August 13, Sandoval has one more double and triple than Melky Cabrera, who was suspended on August 14. Everyone else on the team is hitting for more power than Sandoval. Brandon Crawford, Gregor Blanco, Ryan Theriot … well, not Theriot, but everyone else.
The good news is the last time Sandoval looked this bad, it ended with a parade. The bad news is that you probably spent way to much money on merchandise that had a "World Champions" logo on it. The good news is that merchandise is awesome and validates your existence.
The other good news is that Sandoval isn't this bad. He's in a gutter funk, and because he hits in the middle of the order, his failures are going to be more noticeable. Leave out a bowl of Nilla Wafers, turn out the lights, and get some sleep. Good Panda's gonna come, I promise. Good Panda's gonna come and make everything better.
That's the theory, anyway. The other theory is that he's out of shape and a liability, and he needs another come-to-Jesus-Matty-and-Felipe moment like his benching in the 2010 playoffs. I don't like that theory so much. I'm a leave some Nilla Wafers out instead.
So, no, this wasn't a blame-one-player kind of game. But it was close. Turns out those blame-one-player games aren't very fun. I was nostalgic for something terrible. It's possible the Cody Ransom idea was a bad one. Check back with me in the offseason. And hurry back, good Pablo Sandoval.