Theory: It is absolutely worth it for a closer to blow a lead in the ninth if it leads to a walk-off win in the tenth. What was previously a very nice, solid win in regulation became a game that made you shout profanities at your TV. Profanity-yelling wins are the best wins.
Sergio Romo is just looking out for you, you know.
If you believe in karma or a just universe, you probably turned your TV off when the Phillies tied the game. Because if the Giants have consistently broken hearts with late-inning comebacks off normally solid relievers, that means they're karmically due to pay that feeling back. Except karma is nonsense. The idea of a just universe is nonsense. Here's a picture of Shane Victorino making out with a World Series trophy. And you believe in a universe that balances out the bad things? Shame on you.
No, this is just one of those seasons, at least in the early going. Remember, there were only two walk-off wins in 1991. Three in 1976 and 1998. There isn't a quota for these things, yet the Giants already have five. It's May 8. The odds are that the Giants won't win the World Series again, but a neat consolation prize would be a season with a dozen walk-offs or so. It beats the "Buster Posey injury year" designation of 2011 and the "gee, super idea to waste all this pitching" designation of 2009.
They just need to get to a dozen. They're on pace! On pace usually means that it will happen, just like Brandon Crawford's on-pace total of 24 home runs. Walk-offs are fun. Thanks, Sergio Romo!
(I would have just gone to bed if they had lost this game, dammit. Not a must-win game. Probably a must-win-to-not-lash-out-at-the-dinner-table game.)
If there's something better than walk-off wins, it might be winning the games where Buster Posey rests and Barry Zito starts. House money, and all that. Except we're probably well past the point where we should groan and roll our eyes whenever Zito's turn in the rotation comes up. I do it too, but I'm going to make a concerted effort to stop. I don't believe in the whole "streak" nonsense; I don't believe that just because the Giants are 26-13 in Zito games over the last two seasons, that means anything about Zito's talent as a pitcher.
Except it does mean something in a lab-rat way. As in, if we're basically rats in a cage getting nummy pellets in response to a specific stimulus, we're probably well-trained about now. Zito games are fun! All hail Barry Zito! I will not complain the next time I have tickets to a game and it ends up being Zito pitching, which is what happens EVERY DAMNED TIME.
But I'll amend the damning with faint praise to include this: When Zito has his command and control, he moves from a pitcher you begrudgingly accept to a pitcher you actively want on your team. This was the 26th start in his career without a walk, and he's 21-5 in those games. That might not seem like a huge revelation, but it's not exactly a given for a pitcher to do well when he doesn't walk anyone. Zito gave up 16 runs over two walk-free starts in 2009, for example.
Usually, though, when Zito is throwing strikes, he's a good pitcher. Good enough, at least. Good enough to be 4-1 with an ERA under 3.00, which is going to last forever. Don't forget about what we said about on-pace stats up there.
When Zito gets an RBI, I feel like I have at least a small idea of what it felt like when Erick Dampier hit one of his two career three-pointers, or what it felt like to watch Tim Howard's goal live.
Hot stat from FanGraphs: Zito has made contact with every single swing at pitches in the strike zone this year. I've often daydreamed of a player whose lone skill was to foul off any pitch, no matter how far out of the zone. Like, he was raised by a crazy, mad-scientist father, and all he did all day was practice the art of fouling baseballs away. Put him in as the leadoff hitter, and the other team can choose between a 100-pitch at-bat or a free baserunner. Would you try to get the foul ninja out? Thirty pitches into the at-bat, maybe you'll regret it.
What I'm trying to say is that the Giants should pick up Zito's option.
I still like Kevin Frandsen, you know. John Bowker is slugging .662 in the Central League, too, in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't.
The more I think about it, the less annoyed I am that Bruce Bochy pinch-hit for Brandon Belt in the 10th. The choice was Posey leading off against a left-hander, or hoping that Belt reached and got Posey up with a runner on base. I'm as big of a Belt fanboy as is reasonable these days, but that still doesn't mean he had much of a chance against Bastardo.
I would have hit Belt and pinch-hit with Posey after that, but I can almost understand the urge to have Posey lead the inning off when he's guaranteed the platoon advantage. Not crazy about it. But it's not as irritating as it initially seemed.
Andres Torres is the best human being in the history of the world. Therefore, this article gets added to the Andres Torres Is the Best Human Being in the History of the World section. He's a good fifth outfielder. A popular fifth outfielder. And he's stretched when he's asked to be the lefty-thumping part of a starting platoon, so it's easy to get discouraged when you see him in the lineup.
But when he comes into the game and gets the game-winning hit, well, that's kind of the reason the Andres Torres fan club wanted him back this offseason. He's like a cup of cocoa with the little marshmallows in it on a cold day when he does something right.