In a weekend of sequels (22 JUMP STREET, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2), the Rockies-Giants series stands tall. Oh sure, baseball is replete with back-to-back come from behind victories, but there was something very familiar about the Giants' second straight loss after a ninth inning comeback from the Rockies.
If they were talking about him after the game on KNBR last night, then they're *really* going to be all over him tonight and tomorrow and probably through the week. And yet, he managed to get two quick outs on only four pitches (all strikes). Granted, those were right-handed hitters he faced, but still. Two quick outs and a one run lead. Everything was setup for a save.
But he's not too effective against left-handed hitters now and Charlie Blackmon, despite cooling off significantly from his hot start to the season, can hit a low ball that catches too much of the zone. So here we go again, right guys?
What a mess.
He took a flat route on what looked like a single from Brandon Barnes and slowed down just before getting to the ball. When it bounced it was a high bounce and wound up spinning away from him. I can't say it's even worth criticizing too much because there was some supreme "baseball" happening in that ninth inning (including the ending), but as someone who does not get paid to play baseball professionally, it's perhaps entirely possible that someone who *does* get paid to pay baseball professionally might've been able to get to that ball in a couple of other ways -- a better route or not slowing up to catch it.
But Pagan's defense was only the first stage of the assembly line fiasco that led to Brandon Barnes' inside the park home run.
Up the middle
Pagan got unlucky, but Hunter Pence appeared to be a step slow. And then, Brandon Hicks throw home had very little behind it. Entirely possible and more than likely that the Giants simply got caught flat-footed on that play all the way around. It looked like they were a little too slow to combat the events unfolding before them.
Just kidding. Tim Lincecum pinch-running in the ninth was kinda funny. And pulling Ryan Vogelsong before the start of the sixth was a good call. You've got the swingman in the pen, might as well use him, particularly since Vogelsong looked like he was going to throw too many pitches to remain effective.
The game ended when Angel Pagan grounded into a double play and the umpires in New York declared that on replay he appeared to be out. Now, the Giants probably still don't win this game even if Pagan's safe, but he was safe, and I would've liked for there not to have been insult added to injury (today's loss). However, it is pretty amusing to see that when the wheels come off (losers of 5 of 6!) there are no survivors. The Giants lose in gloriously bad fashion and as someone who appreciates art I can certainly get behind an extend losing streak of exquisite proportion.
The Giants are good, everybody. The Rockies and Nationals have been better. The rest of the league going forward might even be better. What I'm saying is that the season is over and we should remove our emotions from the equation when watching this team. View it as an intellectual exercise: "Oh, that's very interesting. I did not expect an inside the park home run to be their ruin. That is a new wrinkle."
Then again, bullpen meltdowns are pretty common. It's sort of what bullpens do more reliably than anything else. And a closer going through a stretch where his out-pitch doesn't out isn't uncommon, either. Losing stinks, and sequels to certain kinds of losses stink a lot, but losing is going to happen and in this exact fashion more often than we want to think about. Maybe this won't happen again tomorrow. Or maybe it will happen in every game for the rest of the month.
For what it's worth, I'm extremely superstitious when it comes to things out of my direct control, and watching baseball fits that category. So, I'm just going to say that since Dan Szymborski called the NL West for the Giants, the Giants are a devastating 0-2. Also, on Friday afternoon, Jim Bowden said the Giants have the best bullpen in baseball and they're not getting enough credit for it.
And then LaTroy Hawkins mopped everything up.