It's 2001 again. Every other game is started by Mark Gardner or Kirk Rueter. Here comes Aaron Fultz! Hope he can lock it down and, nope, he can't lock it down, so here comes Brian Boehringer! Maybe he'll, nope, that didn't work out. Score seven runs every night, or die.
The common link between both teams is Ryan Vogelsong, you know. This is the start of a Clive Barker story, I can feel it.
Matt Cain was bequeathed a four-run lead, matching the number of four-run leads he received from 2006 through 2008. He couldn't keep the Diamondbacks away, and for the first inning he looked dreadful. Like, the kind of awful that makes you run to your broker and sell your shares in Matt Cain.
In the middle of the Mark Trumbo at-bat in the first, though, the switch flipped. The fastball jumped from high-80s to low-90s, and the movement was better, as was the location. His changeup wasn't a meatball, and his breaking balls weren't hanging. I have no idea what was going on in the first few at-bats, but I'll take a bad start from Cain if it looks like he figures it out in the middle of the first.
The alternative was to suffer through a miserable Cain start, where he looked like a shell of his former self. For five batters, that's what we were given. It was absolutely freaky. After the jitters and the skitters, there was Matt Cain. Phew.
The first thing the baseball gods did was have an informal meeting. That evolved into a spitballing session, which turned into a strategic conference and meeting of the minds. Then they spent time in the lab for months. There were 14-hour nights, several times a week.
They were trying to make the game more annoying, you see.
That's a tough task, considering that technology was going to improve all of our lives. Replay is here, glorious, glorious replay, and it's going to umpire-proof this entire operation. LIke a late-night infomercial, our runny eggs or cluttered kitchen drawers or wrinkled pants were a thing of the past, because here's the solution. Problem solved.
They did it, though. They found a new frustration. It took two games for the Giants to find it, those prolific scamps, but here's how to make things more frustrating than they were with the pre-replay blown calls:
- Have the umpire review a play that's too close to call, even though it was probably the wrong call. Italicized probablies don't count, so you can't get too angry with the umpires' decision to let the call stand. Even though it's probably wrong
- Have there be a clear, no-doubt, brainless, easy-to-review play during the next at-bat, which can't be reviewed because of the previous challenge on a too-close-to-call play
Oh, you can hear the clinking of champagne glasses. Success. Pure, unqualified success. A.J. Pollock was picked off, until he wasn't, and then he was out at home, but he wasn't. Instant replay didn't fix everything. It just allowed for maximum trolling.
Bochy shouldn't have called for the challenge, of course. But, whatever, we're all learning. Pull that crap in September, and there will be an inquiry. A blue-ribbon panel to ask what the hell. Until then, you're Mitch sauntering in at the end of Dazed & Confused. Turn on the Foghat and fall asleep, Boch.
Also, Eric Cooper's strike zone tonight was butt.
The Butt Follies featuring Buttpire Jones from Crouching Butt, Wyoming. Possibly not why the Giants lost, but I'd love to see the alternate timeline if those three pitches are called correctly.
(Those are from Brooks Baseball, by the way. Those zones are from the umpire's perspective, and the at-bats and hitters' names are at the top of the chart. It's so much more fun to follow baseball now than it was 10 years ago.)
Juan Gutierrez throws hard. He also isn't much of a pitcher, from what I can gather. The breaking ball is hangy-bangy, and the command is spotty. He's like Sully from Monsters University. He has one scare face. It's a good scare face! But when the final rolls around, and he's got nothing else, the flying millipede instructor is right to fail him and oh god please help me I haven't seen a grown-up movie in six years, are the new Hobbit movies good, what's a True Detective, please help me, there's a party in my tummy LET IT GO, LET IT GOOOOO. THE COLD DOESN'T BOTHER ME ANYWAY.
Point is, that fastball looks neat, but he's firmly in the Brian Boehringer class of relievers to trust right now, with the odds against him ever getting out of that box. And that most certainly is the second Boehringer reference of the recap.
Santiago Casilla looked good, though. Velocity can be overrated, sure. But there isn't a pitcher that makes me think, oh, yeah, he's got it, when his velocity is up more than Casilla. The fastball was mid-90s, and it was giving hitters trouble. I'll take it.
Brandon Belt is good, and I'm encouraged by his start to the 2014 season.