Giants avoid sweep, drop series finale to Marlins

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked this game about taking care of a dog, it would reply, "Oh, sure, dogs, easy. Just put a big bowl of onions out for them when you leave for the weekend, and they'll be fine."

That's because this was a stupid game.

If you asked this game about the moon landing, it would say "Faked. No doubt about it. You can tell because everyone kind of floats around when they jump in the video. Horrible CGI."

That's because this was a stupid game.

If you asked this game about Hector Sanchez's receiving behind the plate, it would say, "Well, he's already a solid defensive catcher, so he doesn't need to play everyday in the minors. Hasn't needed to be an everyday catcher for a couple years."

That's because this … well, you get the idea. What a stupid game. Get that out of your mouth, game! What are you, stupid? Don't touch that! Get down from there!

Technically, the Giants have played at a 121-win pace over their last four games, which is totally just as amazing as what the Dodgers have done recently. So there's no sense getting too worked up over a meaningless Sunday loss. But, boy, that game was stupid. Let's count the ways:

1. One-for-11 with runners in scoring position
Grarrrgggfffff. You stupid, stupid game. Hunter Pence had a two-out single to score a run, and it felt like it was time to break out the 30-year-old scotch you got for graduating law school. I'm guessing on that one. Because I'm going to need a lawyer pretty soon, and I'm hoping it'll be one with some amazing scotch, so I'm looking to make inroads now. Regardless, it felt like that hit was cause for celebration.

Other teams -- and I've looked this up -- do that all the time. When other teams get 11 runners in scoring position, they might get two or even three hits. If they're feeling extra froggy, they might go for four. I realize it's a little cheap to continue banging this drum in a three-game series in which the Giants scored 25 runs. But that doesn't mean it's not frustrating to watch in a one-run game.

2. Hector Sanchez did this


He was also 2-for-3 with two walks, so he's not the only reason the Giants lost the game. It's not time to jump on the Hector hatewagon, not that it ever was. His failings aren't his fault. They're the fault of an organization that thinks his hitting makes up for the 80-percent reduction in defensive innings he has to take as a major-league backup.

His hitting does not make up for it. Maybe some day. Not now. And, for the second season in a row, it's painfully obvious that he needs time to learn the art of catching.

Look at that clip. Sanchez is looking away as the pitch is thrown, then he stabs at the ball with an overhand glove without moving his body. The runner scored from second. From second.

There was also a catcher's interference call. Here's a list of the catcher's interference calls in San Francisco Giants history. Including Sunday, there have been 49 catcher's interference calls in San Francisco history. Guess who has the last four! No, go on, guess.

The last non-Sanchez on the Giants to get a catcher's interference call was Eli Whiteside in 2011. Since then, Sanchez has four CI calls in 590 innings. If he gets another, he'll have 10 percent of the catcher's interference calls in San Francisco history, despite being a backup. A fella's gotta have goals, you know.

But, whatever. The good news is that when he's accrued enough experience to become an adequate defensive catcher, he'll either be deep into his arbitration years, or a free agent looking to help a team that doesn't have Buster Posey. Good times, good times.

3. Madison Bumgarner had his worst outing since May 27
It was a good run, and that isn't to say he isn't allowed one of these games every so often. It's mentioned to point out that this was a stupid game.

Since that game: 91 innings, 2.77 ERA, and the opponents are hitting .190/.254/.285 against him. The Giants are just 7-7 in those games.

4. The sixth-inning sequence
Sanchez walked, and then Roger Kieschnick singled. Two on, no outs. Then Joaquin Arias bunted.

I know what you're thinking. Stupid, right? Technically, sure. The Marlins win expectancy went from 51.8 percent to 52.2 percent on that play. It went up. Win expectancy is based on hundreds of thousands of innings in major-league history. It's not voodoo. Average teams in that situation are more likely to lose when they bunt the runners over, even if just slightly.

Ah, but the Giants aren't an average team. They're a singles team in a doubles world. They have to string together hits; they can't wait for a double, triple, or homer to score the runner from first. I don't have the math handy, but I'd guess that because the Giants generally don't hit home runs, their win expectancy didn't really budge at all. And considering that Marco Scutaro was coming up -- one of the game's greatest contact hitters, and probably exactly who you want at the plate with a runner on third and fewer than two outs -- maybe, just maybe, a bunt made sense there. At the very least, it wasn't indefensible. Considering the strengths of the team and the hitter coming up, it wasn't indefensible.

Scutaro popped up on the first pitch.

Because this was a stupid game.

5. Andres Torres's defense
Oh, Andres. I still have your poster hanging on the back of my locker door. You'll always be the best. But, goodness, something happened to that defense. There's always a split-second of hesitation, a last-second judgement call that goes incredibly wrong. And it always, always, always seems to come with runners on base at the exact wrong time. It's kind of amazing, really.

The party line was that Torres read the ball better in center, and that was why he was struggling so much in left. I was a subscriber. I remembered just how magical he was in 2010, and that seemed to be a pretty good explanation. It looks, though, as if Torres is a 35-year-old center fielder with dodgy reactions in the outfield now. I want so, so badly for him to be good again. But he keeps clanging the ball at exactly the wrong time, and he's not exactly replicating 2010 with the bat, either. It's hard to watch.

Any game that makes me think unfortunate thoughts about Torres is a stupid game.

This was a stupid game.

Get that out of your mouth, game. What are you, stupid?

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