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There's belaboring the point, and then there's beating a dead horse. The Giants are mediocre. Average. Middling. An archetypal example of a .500 team. I've run out of mediocre bands or movies to compare them to. There is a sun of mediocrity, and the Giants can't escape the gravitational pull.

Average is better than bad, for sure, so why is it so easy to be negative? Consider the following half-baked, everyday analogy:

One morning, you wake up to go to a meeting at work. Your boss calls, and says the meeting was cancelled. Since that scuttled the plans for the morning, he offers you the morning off. Come in at noon, he says. That's a good thing, and you're excited. While making yourself a cup of coffee, you remember there's some leftover pie in the fridge. It's good pie. You like pie.

After coming in at noon, your tie gets caught in a paper shredder. While struggling to free it, you back into the coffee pot. Now you have second-degree burns on your buttocks and thighs, and your tie is still slowly going through the paper shredder. Finally, you are able to kick the shredder's plug from the outlet, throwing your back out in the process. You find yourself writhing in a corner with second-degree burns on your ass, a slipped disk, and ¼ of a tie.

Do you go home and tell people you had a .500 day? "Some good things happened, some bad things happened.... It was an average day." Similarly, the Giants aren't a team that's going to score 4.7 runs per game, and alternate games where they give up 4.6 and 4.8. This is a team adept at winning thrilling victories, and more than adept at losing the intestine-twisters. For every twenty dollar bill found on the sidewalk, there's a dead car battery in the dentist's parking lot.

It's getting to me, and it has to be getting to the team. After the third straight win last week against the Padres, I was absolutely jazzed to watch the fourth game. It had been a while since that kind of anticipation was felt before a regular season game. The Giants had finally broken free from the mediocrity morass, had put together their longest winning streak of the season, and had addressed the biggest weakness in the lineup. They had reclaimed first place for the first time in months, were going in for a sweep against the second-place team, and then going on the road to face two of the worst teams in a below-average league.

Then they blew the ninth-inning lead against the second-place team, and were swept by the Washington Nationals. Every one of the games was a heartbreaker. Thinking about any of the last four games makes me feel like I pounded four Jaegermeister and Clamatos on an empty stomach.

The team isn't going to trade players away, as well they shouldn't. As a firm "anything can happen in the playoffs" disciple, and a reluctant "based on the upcoming free agent markets and current farm system, this is the last gasp for a while" advocate, there really isn't much of a choice. The prospects garnered from a complete dump wouldn't be enough to field a competitive team next year, if ever. The schedule is still in the Giants' favor.

But the ride can get a wee bit discouraging.