There are two ways to look this.
The Giants were a mulletweight away from winning the game. Apologies for using a metric measurement, but if Brandon Crawford were one mulletweight lighter, perhaps he makes a crazy, acrobatic catch into the shift.
The Giants were a creaky-kneed Tulowitzki away from winning the game. If Tulowitzki were at 60 percent (his default) instead of 80 percent, the Giants turn a game-ending double play. Credit him for running like a guy trying to make the team.
The Giants should have won. It was a strange, strange game, with runners running into fielders, fans reaching out to grab baseballs, and odd replay challenges all around. If the moon wasn't full, it was at least waxing gibbons, and those things hate wax. Makes things weird. Tonight was weird.
The Giants had no business winning.
Just start with the ninth inning. Sergio Romo walked the leadoff hitter in a one-run game at Coors Field. Buzzers go off. A trap door opens up. What's happening? You don't know. You get slimed because you say "I don't know." You should know. You walked the leadoff hitter in a one-run game at Coors Field. The buzzers went off because ethereal beings called the game. That's not checking your rear-view mirror on a three-point turn in your driving test, it's the urine-soaked suit in the job interview. It's an automatic fail.
Yet he almost made it out alive. He hung the 1-2 slider to Nolan Arenado, who was the winning run. Hoorroghhhhh. That was a bad slider. At least he wasn't going to DAMMIT SO MUCH, he hung the 2-2 slider to Arenado. What in the good ... okay, well, certainly, he wasn't going to ...
So many hanging sliders. Aesthetically, every one should have been two losses. Be okay with just one.
But even before Romo was Jean Machi. Now, he didn't give up a run, but he should have. We haven't seen a meltdown performance from Machi this year, at least as runs allowed are concerned. Except, we just saw one. He alternated between brilliant and awful, but erred on the side of awful. There were hanging sliders and hard-hit balls, and he was behind almost every hitter. He gave up an absolute rope to Tulowitzki that went for an out. The only reason he got out of the inning was because he faced one of the three or four hitters in baseball who was completely incapable of hitting his split-finger with a car door. It was the right hitter at the right time, and Machi got away with it.
At the end of the year, there will be a reliever in baseball with an ERA of 1.11, or something stupid. It probably won't be Machi, but it will be someone. The difference between that guy and the other guys is that he gets away with the lousy outings. Machi was lousy. Earned runs allowed: 0.
The Giants didn't deserve to win.
Coors Field is a 10th ring of hell, where demons fornicate in thin air, and the screams of our ancestors echo silently in the night, ashamed that we tolerate this abomination, horrified because they're trapped, forever prevented from entering eternal paradise, where they are both comforted and devastated by the fact that you will one day join them.
Three ways. There are three ways to look at this.
Let's take a moment to marvel at Bruce Bochy's gigantic balls. No, it's okay. The post-game Dish Network smooth jazz is on, so I'm feeling it.
The first instance of note: The Giants are in a tie game, and Madison Bumgarner makes a silly decision to try for the lead runner on a bunt with a runner on first. The runner is incorrectly called out. The bench and the SkyEye 3000 tell Bochy to stand down, and with good reason. There wasn't concrete evidence that Crawford's foot was on the bag when he closed his glove, so, whatever. He was out, but there wasn't a shot that proved that beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bochy said, nuts to that, I'm a challenging. Ron Wotus raised his arms -- your press conference, pal -- and the umpires looked at it. They could have came back with a favorable call. It was that close. In the end, the Giants didn't give up a run in the inning anyway, but it was worth the risk. I just don't know if we'll see a manager do that again any time soon. "I'm pretty sure I saw what really happened from 108 feet away, so take your cameras and shove them, nerds. I'm challenging."
The second instance: He gave a green light to Bumgarner -- noted pitcher -- with a 3-0 count and runners on second and third with one out. I mean, that takes serious huevos. It's also incredibly stupid. The best-hitting pitcher is worse than Jeff Francoeur covered in ants. Biting, stinging ants. How can he concentrate with those ants? I'd still rather have that guy at the plate than a pitcher. There was about a 20-percent chance that Bumgarner successfully executed his plan well. Not got a hit, mind you, but swung at the pitch he wanted to swing at. Maybe he'd hit it well, maybe he wouldn't. But just him swinging at the right pitch was a coup.
Bumgarner is fun to watch for a pitcher. He's still a pitcher. Whatever. Only slightly insane. At least it was entertaining.
The third instance: Sending Bumgarner up to the plate in the sixth with two outs and no one on, even though he was going to be replaced in the top of the seventh. YOLO. Then Bumgarner got plunked and grumbled down the line. But that one wasn't the fault of Bochy, really, considering that the Giants had TWO PINCH-HITTERS AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY'RE CARRYING 13 PITCHERS. THERE ARE HITTERS WHO ARE TOO HURT TO PINCH-HIT, BUT NOT TOO HURT TO GO ON THE DISABLED LIST, AND DAVID HUFF IS FIDDLING IN THE BULLPEN WHILE EVERYTHING BURNS. SO YOU HAVE TO SEND THE PITCHER UP. WHY IS THIS. WHY. NO. YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY. WHY WOULD. NO.
Like I said, you gotta marvel at Bochy's gigantic balls.
This was Madison Bumgarner's 18th straight road start with three earned runs or fewer, according to CSN. That's incredible. I don't want to read anything into that other than "oh, cool", except I've long suspected that Bumgarner doesn't have a Mickey Mantle lifestyle on the road. That's not proof, but it's not dissuasion, either.
I like Bumgarner. He's good at pitching. I could probably deal with about 43-percent less upset tummy when he perceives a slight against him, but hopefully he'll grow out of that.
When considering command, control, and the location of pitches within the zone, that was probably the worst outing of Sergio Romo's career. The worst had to happen eventually, by definition. Here it is. Hope it's a blip, not a trend. He's probably fine.
Coors Field, man.