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Scattered thoughts....

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Flash: While researching a poorly constructed joke, I stumbled upon the fact that entering "mediocre" into Yahoo! search brings back Matt Morris' stats from Baseball Prospectus as the 41st result. The internets conspire against us. Really, mediocre is a pretty common word, so that is kind of freaky....

It's games like last night that make you wonder, though. For almost four months, Giant scientists have mined the essence of mediocrity -- stripping DNA from Friends DVDs and the toothbrush of Eric Clapton -- and have succeeded in sustaining this Serpentor-like monstrosity. The Giants don't want that to be the theme of the year. Noah Lowry doesn't want that to be the theme of the year. And for three hours last night, you thought just maybe this is a team that could go on a run.

A run. A streak of more than four wins. It sounds fantastic; like something out of a dream. I'm convinced that these "winning streaks" are possible, and can be found in nature. The easiest way to go on a run is to have an uninterrupted string of quality starting pitching performances. A plethora of quality starts, if you will.

How could you say they could have a plethora, when you do not know what a plethora means? Well, I'll do my best. During the Minnesota Twins' 21-2 run that started in June, they allowed more than three runs in a game only four times in 23 games. A lot of that had to do with the magnificent pitching of Francisco Liriano, and the bullpen being anchored by a rock of a closer, Joe Nathan. This only serves to pr....

Hey! Stop that! I was just trying to point out the need for strong starting pitching during a period of extended success. You knew that already. But the Giants are capable. Noah Lowry was excited to get out on the mound, as the brilliant and dynamic FSN Bay Area crew -- wouldn't you rather be watching right now? -- relayed the story of a rogue mechanical flaw that was fixed during bullpen sessions. It seemed to have worked. Schmidt and Cain could both enjoy streaks of pinpoint control, which is all they generally need to dominate. Matt Morris is always a risk for the gopher balls, but he has already proven capable of a string of good starts.

This Giants team is far more likely to have a successful run spurred by dominating pitching that it is from the offensive side. You knew that already. Imagine if someone tried to tell you that offense is what is more likely to sustain a period of extended success this season in San Francisco. "Liar!", you'd cry, and....

Hey! I wrote, "Francisco. Liar!", not "Francisco Liriano"! If you're going to get sensitive about the whole thing, I won't even bring up the funny Joe Nathan anecdote I read the other day, when...

Fine. There is also the possibility of some sort of offensive flukiness to help propel a winning streak. The ebb and flow of the Giants offense can be almost comical. One guy gets hot, another gets cold. Six more hover around the average of a NL hitter. The names change, but the paradigm has stayed the same. It's been uncanny.

Now, with Ray Durham and Pedro Feliz continuing to play over their heads, we're seeing what an extended hot streak looks like in conjunction with another extended hot streak. It looks gooood. The Giants lineup is filled with underwhelming competence, but it starts to look very effective when just two hitters in the lineup pound the stitches off the ball, and the others in the lineup just do their thing. Imagine the Giants hitting well and pitching well. They say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one....

Make no mistake: This is the very definition of a .500 ball club. That was clear in May, it was clear in June, and it's clear now. But the 1997 Giants were a good example of a .500 club, and they didn't finish at .500. They played over their heads for a while and stole a division. Last year, when the Giants made an improbable late-season surge to try and catch the Padres, and the mantra became "I don't not believe!" Last night's game was an "I don't not believe!"-kind of night. A young arm falling into place, a power surge, and a win.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they crush our spirits this time.