If you knew in March that the Giants would have been a half-game out of first place on July 1, you would have been excited. You probably would have paid $20 to guarantee it. Mentioning that is a cliché at this point, but it's so correct and relevant, there's no avoiding it. I want to take seven of the most ridiculous losses from the last month and mail them back to different weeks in April and May. Taut divisional races are much more fun than death spirals.
I don't like this death spiral.
So it's time to look for ways to feel better about the death spiral. First up, renaming the death spiral. "Calamitous reordering of expectations" has a ring to it. But there are other ways to make Chet Lemon out of Chet Lemonade. I hope.
Better now than in August
This cuts a couple ways. If the Giants were leading by 15 games on July 31, they might have been inclined to stay pat. Don't mess with the chemistry, don't mess with a good thing, don't replace what needs replacing. Then, if the Giants lost 16 out of 21 to let the lead slip away after August 1, there would have been some serious panic. Like now, But in the future. And there wouldn't have been anything the Giants could do.
On the other hand, if this is how bad the team is, if their awful June is going to be followed by an even worse July, then at least they're letting us know before the deadline. If they had waited to do this crap after August 1, it would have been very, very familiar. Disappointment of an August collapse and the loss of a top prospect is the reason why chuckleheads still boo Carlos Beltran at AT&T Park.
This wasn't even close to the worst 21-game stretch in team history
The Giants are 6-15 since June 9. Yet, according to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been at least 200 stretches that have been even worse.
Look at all that awful baseball! All of it worse than what the Giants have been doing over the last month. I can't find any playoff teams in there, but that's probably a mistake. Last year's team had a couple of worse stretches, and they were just fine. I mean, I blacked out after mid-July, but I think I remember them being just fine.
Maybe the Giants won't give an Aubrey Huff contract to Michael Morse
This worried me, that Morse would have one of those can't-live-without-this seasons, the Giants would be successful, and it would leave them no choice but to overpay a DH for his age-34 and age-35 seasons.
I wasn't exactly stressing about it, considering Morse being good this year was the best scenario possible. It's not like the Giants were so hamstrung by Huff's contract that they couldn't contend in 2011 or 2012, so it was a minor concern. But the Giants are getting a look at the player the Mariners saw last year, and he hit .233/.275/.337 in June, with two homers, two walks, and 21 strikeouts in 86 at-bats. He's not a superman. Just a supremely likeable, flawed player.
It's a grimy silver lining, but that's all we have right now.
Maybe the Giants can re-sign Sergio Romo now
There was no way the Giants were going to give Romo closer money. I've always had a sense that the Giants have treated Romo like they were always waiting for the other shoe to drop, starting with them protecting him from lefties as a middle reliever, to rarely letting him pitch more than one inning as a closer. They weren't going to give him Jonathan Papelbon money, not that any closer is worth that. Another great season from Romo, and he was gone.
Now that he's struggling and out of the role? Maybe there's a chance for a show-me deal, where he takes a one-year deal for 2015 to get a chance at 2016 money. Or maybe he'll take Santiago Casilla money if he finishes the season as a setup man.
Romo is a cult hero around here, except it's a huge cult. I wasn't ready to see him gone, even if it was going to be the right baseball move. Maybe this stretch will help us enjoy him more.
(Of course, that comes at the expense of Romo, who has probably lost millions and millions of dollars over the last two weeks. So maybe it's more ethical to hope for him to reclaim his form and become a bazillionaire in the offseason. I would be thrilled with that, too. Let's root for that, too.)
MAYBE THEY CAN, I DON'T KNOW, STOP BEING JERKS AND WIN
They're not the Rockies, Padres, or Diamondbacks ... yet. They still have a shot. They could have started 5-16 and played 90-win ball for the rest of the season, which wouldn't have been nearly good enough. Do you know how frustrating that would have been, to watch a team playing good baseball for five months, but forever looking back and saying, "If it weren't for that stupid April ..."?
It probably would have been as frustrating as the last two weeks, except not as concentrated, so we wouldn't be so bitter. Maybe that's a bad example.
The point is that of all the possible fates, this isn't the worst one. Not yet. It can get there. Oh, how it can get there. But there are still about two dozen teams who wish they were in the Giants' position. Now let's shut up, put our head downs, and welcome the Twins into town for a ...