Regression doesn't work like this. When good things happen, the alternatives to the good things aren't kept in a safe place for future deployment. The bad things aren't somewhere under the earth, pushing against each other like tectonic plates, ready to slip and release their energy in a violent cataclysm.
Regression doesn't work like this. Expecting it to would be a perfect example of gambler's fallacy, the ruinous idea that everything follows an easily identifiable pattern, that a good or bad streak has to be followed with an equal and opposite reaction.
Regression doesn't work like this.
Look at these wacky 2014 Giants, making regression work like this.
The mantra for the first two months was some variation of "they don't have to give these wins back." As in, if the Giants are probably a .500 team, but they've won 70 of their first 71 games, they'll still be in excellent shape if they're magically replaced with that .500 team. The Giants, though, are giving those wins back. They're acting like guilty shoplifters, trying everything possible in a week to undo the positive events and outcomes from the first two months. All of the two-out hits, all of the well-timed dingers, all of the superlative pitching performances, forgotten.
Well, not totally forgotten. The Giants are still 43-29. This isn't NEIFCON 1, this isn't even NEIFCON 2. This is just an incredible streak of awful, with regression coming in an easily identifiable pattern. Like it isn't supposed to. Because that's not how regression works.
Still, this is stunning. Ten days ago, the Giants finished up a sweep of the Mets, and the conventional wisdom was something close to, "Well, of course they swept the Mets. They're the best team in the land, ho ho." That was 10 days ago. I may or may not be wearing the same socks. There are things in your refrigerator from back then that are still good. Hope and optimism is not one of those things, but you should keep that stuff at room temperature, anyway.
The White Sox got two-out RBI hits from Alejandro De Aza and Tyler Flowers, who are currently the ... I don't know ... 2011 Aaron Rowand and Eli Whiteside of the White Sox. They are not popular. They are not having good offensive seasons. They still came up in the right spot at the right time against the Giants because that's how regression works now, apparently.
In a strange way, I'm proud of the plucky fellers. They scored six runs in a game started by Chris Sale. I've seen hangdog teams with sad shoulders and puffy eyes, just waiting for the next thing to go wrong. This was not one of those teams. They worked counts, laid off tough pitches, and clawed back into a game that had already been decided.
I can respect that. I'm a hangdog writer with sad shoulders and puffy eyes, so I don't know how they do it. But at the risk of venturing into clichés, I didn't see a lot of quit in the team. I haven't seen it in this entire miserable stretch. They keep waiting for their fortunes to turn, which they probably will.
If Tim Hudson flipped this start with a brilliant one from May, we'd all feel a lot better about the Giants right now, even if the record would be the same. He was due a stinker, and it came at an inopportune time. Sinkers found holes, and other sinkers didn't sink. Happens.
Just wish it weren't happening right now.
The Giants have now lost their last four one-run games.
Santiago Casilla looked good, which was nice to see. It's not so much his performance that's crucial to the bullpen, but his presence. When he's around, Juan Gutierrez is back to a 5/6/7th-inning guy, which is probably where he should be. Every option in the bullpen is just a little more palatable for their chosen spots.
When Casilla went down, I really did think he was going to be out for the year. That DL trip wasn't long at all, really. That was quick enough to where I want him to bat again.
My two favorite Ronald Belisario facts:
1. He throws a 97-mph sinker with insane movement
2. He can breathe both in and out of water
Tim Lincecum pitches on Friday, and he'll face Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks. So stop feeling bad about the Giants.