We're at the stage of the season where the morbid curiosities don't sound so bad. A 15-inning, no-hit loss? I mean, that would be interesting. You can't deny that. It would be the kind of game you'd talk about in 20 years. If the alternative is some kind of garden-variety, torpid snoozefest, give me the 15-inning no-hitter. And someone running through a wall. And a bear on a unicycle. Entertain me, you awful people. Entertain me.
Instead, the Giants lost in the regular way: They scored fewer runs than the other team. No one is going to talk about this game in 20 years. Boooorrrrrring.
Before you start complaining too much, note that Jhoulys Chacin is having something of a magical year. If you're a fan of Baseball Reference's WAR, note that Chacin has been the fourth-most valuable pitcher in the National League this season. He was something of a Jonathan Sanchez-type for years. Boy, if he ever figures out how to throw strikes …. And he did. So now he's good.
He strikes out fewer batters than Barry Zito, and he does it in Coors Field, but whatever. I'll play along.
This brings us to the topic of the evening. Because running down how the Giants lost is boring. They couldn't hit Chacin, and they couldn't turn three (three!) double plays in the sixth inning, which would have saved runs. The pitcher-starting-a-double-play play is the most difficult play in sports, but when it happened in this game, Jean Machi did it well enough. It was the Gold Glove-caliber shortstop who dropped it for no apparent reason. Oh, baseball.
Right, the topic of the evening. What are you looking for in the final month of games? You're watching this team in late August. You're a dork. You can't help yourself. But you're my kind of people. What gives you hope? What nuggets or kernels or tidbits are you glomming onto as if they're the secret to immortality? I'll start.
I like that the Giants scored four runs after looking helpless for most of the game.
I know, I know, that's some sort of weird capitulation. This is giving into the void. TAKE ME, DARK VOID. TAKE ME AND DO AS YOU WILL. Pretending like there's some kind of moral victory here is … kind of awful.
But I've watched a lot of Giants games this year. And this kind of loss is rare. There was actual drama in the eighth. Not in the ninth, so much, with the PCL-honorable-mention team going up against a legitimate reliever. The Giants didn't look completely moribund in the late innings, though. That's a pleasant, welcome change. Just a little sign of life, that's all we're looking for.
There are other things to look for, too. Madison Bumgarner looking swell in his outings would be one of those things. Brandon Belt looking like a middle-of-the-order force is another. The slider of Sandy Rosario, the range of Marco Scutaro, the je ne sais quoi of Roger Kieschnick ... it's all a rich tapestry.
It turns out the Giants weren't no-hit. That opening paragraph up there ... forget it ever happened. It's always better not to get no-hit. The moral victories today: Bumgarner pitched well enough, Belt kept getting on base, and Pablo Sandoval continued to impress in the field. Silver linings, all. That's all I'm looking for in a lost season. And there have been worse losses. Ob-la-di.