The tipping point of the Giants' 2013 season

Thearon W. Henderson

On August 8, 1951, the Giants were swept by the Dodgers in a doubleheader. They would lose the next two games, putting them 13 back with 44 games to go. They eventually stormed back to win the pennant, win the pennant, win the pennant. If this blog were alive in 1951, it would have specialized in doom and gloom. There would have been a lot of talk about how the season was over in early August, and it would have looked silly in retrospect.

These aren't the 1951 Giants.

So at the risk of looking really, really silly -- just imagine how silly! -- let's do a quick post-mortem of the season while the heart is still beating. This is a simple question, and there are a lot of possible answers.

When did you know it was over?

When there was no tenderness like before in her fingertips, sure, sure. That part is obvious. But give me a game. A moment. An unpleasant outcome where you said, ayup, this team probably isn't going to repeat as World's Champions this year.

Some options:

Option #1: When Clayton Kershaw's homer downed the Giants on Opening Day
Oh, get out of here. You watched Zito get an RBI single off Justin Verlander, and that game broke you. Pack up your crap and go.

Option #2: Getting swept by the Dodgers in late June
You know, I thought that was just a phase. They were outscored only by five runs in the three-game series, and they didn't play that poorly. At the time, the Dodgers were barely relevant, so it didn't seem like a bellwether series.

Option #3: Batting out of order
This would almost be the winner, except the Giants won that game. So close, so close.

Option #4: Homer Bailey's no-hitter
This one's legit. It signaled that the transformation was complete, and the Giants had moved from, "Hey, this team is pretty good with the bats!" to "Where have you gone, Fred Lewis? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you." Do you even remember what the first two months of the season were like? They were glorious. Read this, noting that the missing "m" means it's a different guy than you're thinking:

As you’re probably aware, most of baseball is just starting to realize this: that the Giants have a really good offense, and some big holes in their pitching. The question, in light of this, is whether or not the Giants will make the necessary adjustments that will help them get in front in the NL West in 2013.

When I read that article the first time, I was nodding my head, like, yeah, this all makes sense. At the time, it did. Then there was stuff, and then that happened, and then whoops, and then Homer Bailey's no-hitter. Oh, right, they're bad at hitting baseballs. Right, right.

Option #5: Sixteen-inning loss to the Mets
The Giants scored three runs off Matt Harvey, man. Ain't that some … they should have won, but there was some serious, serious mittfuckery in the outfield in the sixth inning of that game. Without it, the Giants win. With it, they lose in 16 on a Brandon Crawford error.

Option #6: Hello, Jeff Francoeur
It seems silly to single this out because it's not like Francoeur is responsible for anything. But to have the news come hours after the 16-inning loss? Ooooh, that was a sign. That was a text message from the universe. Bad player meets bad team: bad ensues.

Option #7: Swept at home by the Cubs
Oh, you hardy, plucky soul. You held out hope until this point. "If they can just get well against the Cubs …", you said. They lost three straight one-run games, the last two in the late innings. Nate Schierholtz hit a home run to account for the only scoring in a 1-0 game. Goodness, if it wasn't over before that …

But I'll go contrarian and suggest this was the game. July 24. A nondescript affair in which the Reds won 8-3, and it was never really that close. Yes, this is much later than it should have been. I can't help it. Ryan Theriot started at DH and scored the winning run in the World Series. Your argument is invalid.

After that loss, though, there didn't seem to be much point in keeping up the charade. The Reds were, quite clearly, a better baseball team. I'm not sure why we couldn't tell in April. Hell, I don't understand a thing about this silly game. Feels like I'm Chance in Being There, and I keep getting away with unwitting ruse after unwitting ruse.

Now you. Pick the spot where …

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... that happened. I don't mean to get so maudlin, but ... well, this hasn't been the best season, everyone.

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