Giants come back, fall behind, lose to Padres

Ezra Shaw

It was closer than the two-run blowout made it seem.

Ain't even mad.

Let's talk about what it means to be mad at a baseball game. It seems silly when you phrase like that -- kind of makes me feel like I should take a second to learn about the Ukraine situation instead of Mac Williamson -- but it's a completely accurate description. There are games that stick in your sternum, rolling around, kicking wildly with pointy boots, keeping you up at night. You'll think about the blown call, hung curve, or clanked grounder when you're putting sugar in your coffee, and it'll kind of ruin your morning.

Those games stink. This was not one of those games.

It was an annoying game, a loss with frustrating pieces and plots and subplots, but it was a game that ends differently with a little less wind, or a slight tweak of the batting order that's obvious only in retrospect. Buster Posey's double should have gone out. Hunter Pence's triple should have gone out. Brandon Hicks should have had a grand slam. Pence's fly ball in the seventh should have gone out. What's the final score if this game is in Arizona? A multitude to a profusion. In AT&T Park, on a windy April night, it wasn't to be. Save your anger for the next one.

The at-bats were good, mostly. The swings were good, mostly. There are exceptions, and they'll be noted, but there was a lot that went right with the Giants tonight but wasn't rewarded. There's going to be a game where the outfielders are going to be playing the right-center gap, guarding against an extra-base hit that does serious damage, and a series of broken-bat floops will win the game. We won't complain. This game is our penance, then. I love the hunt for penance, to be honest.

Even in the ninth inning, against a well-oiled, fully functional Huston Street, I can't get mad. Brandon Crawford had a fantastic battle, fighting off tough pitches. Street got him on a perfect front-door sinker. Hicks was aggressive -- what, are you going to wait around for the 0-2 count and hope for a walk? -- but he bounced back to the mound. Hector Sanchez had a great at-bat, nicking every piece of the kitchen sink that came close to the plate, and eventually struck out on a changeup of doom. Ain't even mad. That's why Huston Street drives a nicer car than I.

What, are you going to be mad at Madison Bumgarner? He's so much better at you than everything, and he's better than every other pitcher on the staff. Getting mad at him is like getting mad at an It's It because it gave you brain freeze. That's a risk with frozen treats, and you know that going in. It's Its are still benevolent, beautiful creations. Just like Bumgarner. Ain't even mad.

There should be a little sense of moral victory, even, considering how dominant Tyson Ross was the last time he pitched against the Giants. He looked like a franchise cornerstone, the kind of pitcher who could get his number retired by the Padres after another good month or two, and he kept the Giants quiet early. They eventually got to him, though. That was fun. That was fun while it lasted.

This kind of game could come in September or October, and that's when the naughty words will fly. Until then, it was a tough-luck game with a tough-luck outcome. A fly ball in the right spot would have made a big difference, sure, but there was a lot of why-couldn't-McCovey in this one. Nothing to do but wait for the next game and hope its better. And punch a wall. Punch a damned wall right in its wall-face.

★★★

At least the Padres will be embarrassed when the story breaks that Rene Rivera is an unpaid intern. People are really starting to get angry about that stuff.

★★★

Madison Bumgarner can have these starts, alright. It's not all grand slams and slutters. Here's the official McCovey Chronicles analysis of what went wrong: His command was off, dunno. Some balls caught too much of the plate, he missed the target entirely with others. He wasn't at his best.

...

So, I guess you can draw your own conclusions, which are probably something like, "Whatever, he's still one of the best baseball pitchers ever to live." Ain't even mad.

★★★

It's probably time to talk, though, about the things that will make people mad. Pablo Sandoval is hitting .172/.252/.301, sure, but he doesn't really look that good. In the sixth, Sandoval looked as bad as I've ever seen him look. Not in the usual Sandoval way, where he's swinging at seagull doots that land in the bullpen, because you kind of expect that. That's part of his charm. No, he looked bad because he was looking for fastballs, he got fastballs, and he was as late on them as you or I would have been. Like, whoa, these guys on varsity throw really hard.

He'll still be okay. Krusty is coming. I still believe. Everything's just ducky. Cough. But I really believe that. And if you want an explanation of how everything's going to seem better magically, here's a quick reminder of where we were last week:

Hunter Pence, April 20: .181/.289/.278
Hunter Pence, April 28: .253/.345/.414

That's what a hot week will do for perceptions in April. Pence is now a productive citizen. No problems there. He looks good. Had a booming triple tonight.

That's not to say Sandoval is guaranteed to get out of this funk. It's just a reminder that it's early, so early. Four weeks don't make a season. One hot week, and we'll all forget about this.

Brandon Belt is probably screwed, though.

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