The Giants ran out lineups like this in 2007 and didn't get no-hit. They had a 3-4-5 of Winn, Feliz, and Ortmeier for this game and didn't get no hit in 2007. Jose Castillo hit in the #2 hole more than any other hitter on the 2008 Giants, but they were never no-hit. Eugenio Velez hit leadoff more often than any other hitter on the 2009 Giants. They had a hit in every game that season.
It's really, really hard to be no-hit.
The Giants accepted that challenge. They embraced it. They gave the challenge a sloppy kiss and threw up all over the bar. They were no-hit for the first time since 2003, and they didn't really make any loud outs. They didn't make the Reds dive into the stands or chase balls into the gap. And when the Reds made a mental error, when Homer Bailey forgot to cover first base, the Giants' only legitimate runner was thrown out on the bases.
Bailey pitched exceptionally well, of course. The temptation is to make all sorts of jokes like, "Congrats to Homer Bailey for his two-hitter (team-adjusted)!", but that's kind of unfair. The Giants are hitting like a collection of Santiago Casillas, sure. But Bailey pitched well enough to dominate the Rangers in Arlington.
There are funny parts, if you squint. As in, it's funny that people are calling this "rock bottom." Man, we don't even know what rock bottom is. This is Billy failing algebra because he kept cutting class to get high. You can fall way, way further than that. Billy hasn't woken up on a bus, missing a finger and unsure where he's going. He hasn't stolen his grandfather's coin collection and pawned it. There are false bottoms beneath the sub-floor of rock bottom. That isn't to say the Giants are automatically going in that direction. But if you think getting no-hit to drop a little more under .500 is rock bottom, the night is dark and full of terrors, my friend.
Okay, getting no-hit and falling behind the Dodgers for last place is pretty damned close to the bottom.
It's embarrassing, this no-hit business. And you're not going to get a lot of sympathy from anyone. The Giants have been on an incredible run, and I'm not just talking about 2010 and 2012. We've had the privilege of watching Barry Bonds break the single-season and career home-run records. We've watched MVPs and Cy Youngs. Jonathan Sanchez no-hit the Padres at home. Matt Cain threw a perfect game at home. We weren't really thinking about the Astros at that point, and if you want to go back to the Billy analogy, the Astros at that point were like him getting arrested for stealing powdered creamer from a gas station. We didn't care. Why should we?
And of course those other two seasons. Everything listed is more exciting than anything that's happened in the history of the Padres. Their entire franchise history. And we're going to wallow in the misery of being no-hit? Well, yeah. But don't expect anyone else to understand. They'll understand when they get here.
The Bailey/Lincecum matchup was already poignant for me, as I'll always link Bailey, Linecum, and Phil Hughes together in my mind. They were the three-best pitching prospects in the game at one time, and the question of the offseason was who was the best of the three? Bailey got a lot of votes. Hughes got a lot of votes. Lincecum had a few supporters. And then they went their different ways. Bailey was a conundrum for a while, and at one point he was even a non-tender candidate, if I remember correctly. Hughes showed flashes, but he's been even more confusing than Bailey ever was. And Lincecum did his thing.
Then Lincecum stopped doing his thing. His first inning prompted a bunch of there-goes-Lincecums, I'm sure. He's reached that status. He winged one to the backstop, then he fell behind a hitter, then he allowed a booming extra-base hit. Then he cruised, striking everyone out. Then he allowed a home run. There goes Lincecum, he said, in the same tone of voice he usually reserves for his there-goes-Zitos.
Bailey's on the way up. He can get better. He's developing late, like Max Scherzer, and he still has latent potential. Pitchers don't always have to enter a black hole when they approach 30. Bailey vs. Lincecum is always a good way to remember that. When it goes down like this? Damn. Just damn, son. That's a little bit too strong of a message.
Oh, good, I was worried you were too chipper about that game. That'll learn you. Just think about how happy Mat Latos is right now.
So the Giants have lost eight of their last nine, and 10 of their last 12. In doing so, they've dropped below .500. In about an hour, they're going to be in last place. They're going to hold closed-door meetings, open-door meetings, and screen-door meetings. They're going to say the right things, put their heads down, and not give up. They're going to win a couple games eventually, and everything won't seem quite this bad, even if they might not ever be close to as good as we hoped before the season.
It stings tonight, though. It stings. Maybe it is rock bottom. It doesn't have to be.