At some point, the cute quips and pseudo-witty rejoinders can't come. There's no way to liken yesterday's game to anything partially amusing, no way to take the bactine out of the paper cut. The Giants bullpen wasn't supposed to be good, and there are still 155 games to prove it isn't awful. Right now, though, the safety bar is down, the click-clack of the tracks is drowning out the sound as we ascend, only to realize, "Wait a sec, I hate roller coasters. They make me violently ill." Our options are limited at this point. Hope you aren't wearing your new suit.
The difference between the early part of a season and the penultimate day of a long season is obvious. Last year, there was a rookie who was reputed to be a glove whiz, and was inserted as a defensive replacement. He booted a ball which likely cost the Giants the game, if not the season, and there was no sympathy. I wanted to put Cody Ransom in a box, only briefly mull the idea of air holes, and ship him to Abu Dhabi as if he were Nermal. Seven games into the season, there is a bit more perspective. Jason Ellison took a tough angle toward a screaming line-drive, and just missed the ball. He blew the game. Ellison took the ball, firing it as hard as he could into the ground.
It might have been a touch immature, but it fit, and I felt sorry for him. After a long minor-league career, Ellison is finally a member of a big-league roster. For the moment, he has an unfortunate defining moment. And Ellison is not the only guy being looked at by forensics teams trying to figure what sort of monster would do that to a punch bowl. Armando Benitez didn't have his stuff yesterday. That is not part of the deal. The guy might have a reputation that, fair or not, describes him as a bit immature, but he is supposed to be able to throw a baseball. Find your stuff, Armando. Put an ad on Craigslist. Make a flyer with a grainy, crappy picture of your stuff, and print it from your obsolete printer. Door-to-door, Armando, with your hands in your pockets and a tear in your eye. Anything to prevent total disasters like the hybrid of Three-Mile Island and Newsies we were subjected to yesterday.
Losing a game in the bullpen is awful. Having a closer blow a three-run lead is worse. Blowing it to Ricky Ledee, Jeff Kent, and the rest of the unwashed blue horde, well, that's one for the scrapbook. The disappointment in losing a game you had already tallied in your mental win column is what does it. It's like preparing a five-course meal, and just as you're washing your hands, you see the family dog trot by, its face covered with the remnants of raspberry vinaigrette, steamed asparagus, and linguini. Then the dog starts doing that thing where it rubs its ass all over the carpet. And then the dog eats a wedding ring right in front of you, guaranteeing at least one night of sifting through an unfortunate mess with forceps and rubber gloves.
There are still 155 games left. The Giants have a winning record without the best player on the planet. It isn't time to panic about the bullpen. It is time to groan every time they enter the game. It is time for even the most casual of Giants fans to say, yeah, that bullpen is going to give up a lot of points. It is time to be just a wee bit disgusted, with the right to pull back the disgust still intact should the bullpen turn it around. That doesn't seem likely, but there is no point in the fire and brimstone now. Just a whole bunch of filthy words, and barely-contained rage will suffice, thank you.