Giants snap losing streak, cheat death

Ralph Freso

There was a dinger. There were two-out hits. Why, this was like watching a normal team.

I'm just a guy who writes about baseball. More specifically, I'm just a guy who writes about baseball and is scared to death that one day you'll find out that I don't know anything about baseball. I finish last in my fantasy league every year, specifically because I'm bad at predicting baseball things.

I'm not stupid, though. I know the signs when I see them.

The Giants just suffered through one of the worst losing streaks we've ever seen. Not in terms of length, but of quality. Those were quality losses. One-run games and blown saves, with the wrong things happening at the wrong times, almost in a comical fashion. That Rockies series, boy, that was amazing.

There were an infinite number of ways the Giants could have snapped the streak. They could have won 1-0, behind a brilliant pitching performance. They could have won 21-2 behind a dozen triples. Those would have been dandy wins, alright. But there weren't an infinite number of ways the Giants could have snapped the streak and made you feel like everything was going their way again.

With the tying run on second base and Paul Goldschmidt at the plate representing the winning run, Sergio Romo hung a slider over the middle of the plate.

The Giants won the game.

With the tying run on second base and Paul Goldschmidt at the plate representing the winning run, Sergio Romo hung a slider over the middle of the plate.

The Giants won the game.

With the tying run on second base and Paul Goldschmidt at the plate representing the winning run, Sergio Romo hung a slider over the middle of the plate.

The Giants won the game.

Dental plan. Bochy needs amyl nitrites. Dental plan. Bochy needs amyl nitrites. There are 390 different hitters in the majors I would have rather seen in that situation. There are 3,039 different locations where that slider should have been thrown. That pitch should have gone 500 feet.

The Giants won the game.

So just like that feeling of 16 innings and Jeff Francoeur that I'm so fond of bringing up, this felt like a message game, even if just for a few moments. They got away with it. They got away with murder, just like normal teams do every now and again. They could catch a break again.

It probably doesn't mean anything, this specific win or this specific method of winning. But if you're going to break a wretched losing streak, getting an arch-nemesis to line a horrible pitch right to an outfielder is a fantastic way to do it. It makes you feel like baseball's being reasonable again.

(Baseball is never reasonable.)

★★★

I wouldn't have walked Goldschmidt there, by the by. I would have called for balls off the outside, hoping he was overanxious. The risks are obvious: balls that leak over the plate and wild pitches. The rewards come with knowing that most hitters make outs when they swing baseball bats.

Romo hung the worst slider of his career, give or take. That's the risk. But I'd still trust him to flummox hitters with teasers off the plate. Bochy agreed.

I still can't believe the GIants got away with it. They really are going to win 100 games.

★★★

After several years on the Sergio Romo train, loudly shouting down people who uttered bad things about him (the post-Hinske fallout was ugly), I think the Roger Kieschnick single turned me. Not against Romo the person -- goodness, no -- but from "He's gonna be fine he's gonna be fine he's gonna be fine" to something a lot more jumpy and irritable. That one single from an ex-Giants prospect made it easy to see that Romo has no idea how to get lefties out right now, Sinker, change, sinker, sinker, change.

It didn't used to be like that.

There were more sliders against the lefties on Saturday night, though. This is a welcome change back, as Romo used to back-door lefties all the time, and with remarkable success. Romo didn't have platoon splits in his first few years; hitters hated him, left or right. The sinker/change combo has morphed from a set of show-me pitches to keep hitters honest into the default method for containing left-handers.

The people in charge of these decisions, Romo and Dave Righetti, know more about this stuff than we do, so maybe there's a good reason for the consistent sinker/change combo attack against lefties, and the shift away from the slider against them.

From the armchair, though, it's hard to watch. I want the old Romo back. I'll predict that he still has his job when he reaches free agency, but it will come with a Romo we're not used to seeing.

★★★

Stupid prediction based on a hunch: Buster Posey is going to go nuts over the next two or three weeks. He's the streakiest hitter I've seen on the Giants since Randy Winn, and he took all sorts of great swings against Brandon McCarthy.

I would like to move Posey from "Buy" to "Strong Buy."

★★★

Ehire Adrianza hit the ball well on Friday, which makes it a little harder to start clamoring for Joe Panik in the everyday lineup.

So let's clamor for Joe Panik in the everyday lineup. He's tied for the highest OBP in team history, you know.

We still haven't seen Panik in the field, and we've been led to believe he's not the most graceful lad out there, But if he can approximate what a 50-year-old Marco Scutaro was supposed to do in the first place, he'll be a welcome addition. Brandon Hicks works well as a reserve and the first person off the bench against a left-hander.

This is the way things should be for the next month, and if it doesn't work out? Crick for Chris Getz. Something like that.

★★★

This is Hunter Pence hitting a baseball to the moon.


This is the opening scene from Contact:


This is the two of them mashed together for no discernible reason.

It's the first thing I thought of with the way the camera pulled back. I can't wait to see a movie from this millennium so my brain will make comparisons and analogies that young people will relate to.

But I loved Hunter Pence's dinger and I loved that movie, so you can sit through six seconds of a Vine.

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