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It's quite inconvenient for the Giants to lose the last game of a four-game series, so that when I come back from the weekend I'm unable to express unbridled joy. Bridled joy is still much appreciated, however.

While there is a part of all of us that wants to push Armando Benitez down a well, that's not quite fair. 'Tis a season of two Armandos: a 89-mph-throwing goofball, and a 94-mph-throwing goofball. The first one was a perfect storm for derision. It was if marketing wizards sat down to develop the most unlikable player in baseball. He was shooting his mouth off to the press, and he was costing the Giants leads late in the game. That's the relief equivalent to Jar Jar Binks grabbing your significant other's butt in a crowded bar. A perfect storm for derision, indeed.

The second Armando is a competent reliever who was on a bit of a roll. He had saved seven in a row before Termel Sledge's home run. If he kept the rate he's been converting for the past month up, he'd be saving about 88% of his opportunities. That's not elite, but it's acceptable. For a while, it seemed as if acceptable was a beautiful and unrealistic dream.

Benitez still sulks and throws his glove around. He pounds his chest after getting lucky with a line-drive out. He'll blow the occasional save. But this Armando is clearly a different pitcher than the noodle who showed up to Scottsdale in March. Trustworthy? No. Not yet. Booworthy? I'd give the new `Mando a little more time on that as well.

So it isn't the time to dwell on what Benitez is or isn't. The Giants are a half-game out of first, and heading on the road to face a pair of teams they absolutely should beat. If they don't, then sulking is permitted, but until then it's happy time around these parts. This might be the peak, and it might be just the beginning, but the comments section is reserved for positive comments only. I want to read about lemons into lemonade, and frowns turned upside-down. Post your happy thoughts for the coming road trip, because this place can get a touch negative at times.

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