And then the Giants went into Dodger Stadium and got swept.
Clayton Kershaw allowed two earned runs in 8 innings. His career ERA against the Giants shot up from 1.28 to 1.33. Sit on it, Pottsie. Just sit on it. You didn't think you'd be invincible forever, did you? Looks like your luck is running out, .05 earned runs at a time.
That's it, that's all I have to make you feel better. Someone's handheld recording of a KPIX newscast of something that happened over 15 years ago.
Wait, no, I have one more thing to make you feel better.
Unless you're a cat.
It feels like this season has been a study in pitching for the spoiled Giants fan. For years and years, we watched good pitching and didn't have to think about it. Matt Cain's pitching? Wheeeeeee. Good game. Tim Lincecum's pitching? Wheeeeeeeeee. Good game. The hitting was another matter, but the pitching has been stellar since 2009. It was a brainless kind of good pitching. Good pitcher pitch good make hitters look bad which good.
And then this season came. There's been unpleasantness. Awkwardness. Confusion. Matt Cain isn't just Matt Cain, he's a person who makes you ask questions. How many hanging breaking balls are too many? How many breaking balls should a pitcher get away with? How many home runs should be hit on bad pitches? How many bad pitches can a good pitcher throw before he's bad? Every pitcher in the rotation has gone through it this season.
Except for sweet, sweet Chad Gaudin.
But you get the idea. It's not so easy this year. Tim Lincecum had a good start. I'll fight you if you say otherwise. He had another good June start, which is almost certainly fantastic news. He had some idea of where the ball is going again. That's a big deal. That means a lot more than the pitcher who had absolutely no idea where the ball was going. That would be the pitcher who could uncork a hanging slider just as easily as he could walk the pitcher just as easily as he could throw the world's greatest changeup. He looked better than that.
We're off track, though. Back to the idea of this season being a study in pitching. I've watched thousands of baseball games in my life. I thought I had some idea of what it meant to be a good pitcher, but I didn't. I've realized that if a good pitcher is at 183.391 for seven years, he can suddenly be at 183.392, and everything falls apart. Those numbers don't mean anything specifically. They're just there to show how ridiculous it is that pitchers are expected to be so fine, so mechanically perfect every time out. If you're at a 183.392, whoops! You're terrible now, and xFIP has cuckolded you when you were out getting milk! Sorry about that!
It never happens to Kershaw, though. Not against the Giants. He never has that .001 slip-up. He never has that hundredth-of-an-inch mistake that changes the at-bat, the inning, the game.
Tonight, it happened to him. He walked Marco Scutaro on five pitches, and he got behind Buster Posey, 2-0. For a minute, Kershaw was mortal. Posey sat on a get-it-in curveball, and he punished it. If you can enjoy a game in a season that doesn't end in a championship, you can enjoy a moment in a game that doesn't end with a win. That moment was glorious. It didn't feel like the Giants were going to win, but it felt like they had a heckuva chance.
That's the disappointing part.
Other than all of the losses to our blood rivals.
So Hector Sanchez isn't good at catching baseballs, and the rest of the world is finding out about it. This is like when Dookie broke and everyone else was in on our little secret! So exciting! And then Green Day was awful. But for a while we were cool.
Wait, so I guess that means that if the analogy holds, that eventually Sanchez will be good instead of awful? Alright, I'll buy that.
Sanchez dropped an exchange when a runner was stealing, then he made a miserable throw to second on another stolen base attempt, and that was all before the wild pitch that was sloppily handled, at best. And, of course, there was stab stab stabbing. It was, as the kids say, a regrettable performance. He was also oh-fer-the-night because everyone was because it was Clayton Kershaw.
To Mike Krukow's credit, he wasn't shy about it. The NBC Bay Area cameras lingered on Sanchez after every messup. It was hard to watch. But welcome to the other side of the curtain, rest of the world. Hector Sanchez is not a positive contributor to the Giants as presently constructed.
I'm still a believer in his long-term future. I might be alone tonight, but I still believe. He's young. Catching is a finicky, horribly tough trade. But if you can find a left-hander who can hit a little bit without swallowing his glove? Gold. A switch-hitter? Oh, baby.
Right now, he's swallowing his glove. The place to hash that out is in the minors. It's what 22-year-old catchers do. It's why there aren't a lot of 22-year-old catchers starting in the majors, and it's sure as shit why there aren't a lot of 22-year-old catchers sitting on the bench, catching every fifth day.
Feels like I'm being tested. This isn't really happening, right? You all see how much sense that last paragraph made, right? Rod? Rod Serling? Q? Is that you, Q? Where am I? Should I go toward the light? What's going on?