Giants lose to Dodgers, slink under .500 for first time since Opening Day

Victor Decolongon

Over his last four at-bats, Yasiel Puig has a lower OPS than Kirk Rueter does for his career.

Star-divide

My Twitter timeline is filled with people freaking out about real-world problems. This seems a wholly inappropriate time to worry about a game on June 25th. Or baseball in general. But if you're here, you're interested, so …

The last time the Giants were under .500 this late in the season, it was 2008. You usually spit after mentioning that season, maybe make the sign of the cross. If you're wondering why you feel like this, it's because it's pretty danged rare to feel this uncomfortable with a team this late. We're spoiled.

But if there's a template on how to feel bad, here's a dandy of a two-step process: 1) lose a four-game series to the worst team of the decade, even when you skip their best pitcher, and 2) lose a series against the Dodgers. Since taking a series against the Rockies on May 26, the Giants are 10-17. You might say, whoa, 10 wins? What manner of accounting trick is this? The Giants have been outscored 86-118 in that stretch. It's felt worse.

Buster Posey hit a home run. Brandon Belt hit a home run. That's a month's worth of home runs. The Giants scored five runs, enough to win a quarter of the games they've lost this season. Mike Kickham didn't look that bad. Heck, he even looked pretty good at times. Brandon League looked awful, and that's always funny. There were positives.

Over his last four at-bats, Yasiel Puig has a lower slugging percentage than Neifi Perez.

Those aren't really positive notes. They're dammit-positive notes, all tinged with a ring of sadness. Belt and Posey homered, but it wasn't enough. The Giants mounted a cruel comeback, but it wasn't enough. Kickham wasn't that bad, but his being in the game at all is indicative of a farm system that's in a bad way. Laughing at Brandon League is … usually funny … but pointing out that Puig was hitless just draws attention to what he's done to this point. Nothing's funny. Nothing's good. The Giants are a hard-to-watch baseball team right now.

Clayton Kershaw pitches tomorrow. He's won exactly one fewer Cy Young than Tim Lincecum, who's opposing him. A two-time Cy Young winner against a guy who's won it just once? Say, that's a positive note! Finally, an advantage!

On a night like this, in which everything tastes like diapers, I'm fond of thinking of July 4, 2010. I don't bring it up often because it's kind of tacky, but that was the day I was convinced the Giants were never going to win in my lifetime. The Giants lost in Coors (because they always did) in extra innings (of course) because Bruce Bochy pinch-ran Eli Whiteside for Buster Posey in the eighth inning (probably still the silliest thing I've ever seen). The Giants moved to a game over .500, and they were 7.5 back. A much worse predicament than right now.

The things you think are a big deal in June or July sometimes turn out to be nothing. The things you don't worry about in August -- the Giants were the second-best team in the NL when they traded for Carlos Beltran -- turn out to be everything.

That's it, that's all I have. There's nothing interesting about this game. It's all gravel and ash in the cereal bowl. Giants draftee Nick Vander Tuig pitched eight strong innings to win the College World Series. That's something. But people in Los Angeles are happy about that. Aw, crap. Let's see ... Brandon Belt has been hot. Kickham might be an ace lefty reliever some day. You weren't bitten by a cobra tonight. And the Giants still have a better record than the Dodgers.

Onward and upward, gentlemen. Onward and upward.

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