I’m not ready for the Diamondbacks. When the Giants threw off the shackles of suck, the Diamondbacks were bad. When the Diamondbacks were good before that, the Giants were bad. The two teams haven’t been over .500 in the same season since 2003. Since then, there’s been a little bit of symbiosis between the two teams. They win, we lose, and vice versa. It’s hard to work up the same level of animosity from the Todd Stottlemyre days. I’m too used to one of the teams being a non-entity.
The Rockies, though? Oh, yeah, I can get angryfied for one of those series if the two teams are in a close race. The Rockies have been worth the rage for years -- even when they weren’t that good, they were willing to score 41 runs off a Giants bullpen that always seemed to be tired entering the series. And in recent years, the two teams have been scrapping together, poking each other in the eye. It’s been a fun rivalry, except for all of those times when it was absolutely, completely miserable and soul-spindling.
So if I had to choose, I’d rather the Rockies improve and the Diamondbacks fade away. More out of familiarity, than anything else, I suppose, but I also like the burgeoning hate between the Rockies and Giants. Nourishes me, it does. And for that to continue, the Rockies need to improve. Like, a lot. They should start next week.
They’ve been terrrrrrible. At the end of April, they had won the NLCS and were advancing to the World Series, but an 8-21 May put those plans on hold. To put how bad of a month that was, the Giants haven’t had a winning percentage that bad in a month since 1992. The whole time the Giants were farting around with Dave McCarty and Jeff Juden, they never had a month that bad. When the Giants started a season with a 73-year-old Rich Aurilia playing first base and Brian Bocock at short, they never had a month that bad.
It’s kind of funny. Amusing, even. Welcome, sure. Appropriate and soothing, yes. I’d dare say it’s pleasing, comforting, and hilarious. It’s the kind of losing stretch that makes another team’s fans get worried and jittery, and you can take strands of that worry and make a little blanket out of it, and the blanket is just long enough to cover your feet on the cold nights, and just short enough to let your feet poke out on the warm nights.
But baseball is more interesting when the Giants and Rockies are direct competitors. It can be like that with the Giants and Diamondbacks too, but I’m not read for it yet. Give it time.
Seriously, though, I guess the Rockies can keep losing if they want. That’s cool too.
Hitter to watch
Pitcher to watch
The Giants have never hit against Juan Nicasio, who starts today. This used to be an easy gag -- just make some joke about how he’s going to no-hit the giants, and resume not having to write anything original for the third straight year. It was so easy. But the Giants knocked Lance Lynn out of last night’s game in the sixth inning. Now I’m not sure what to believe.
Nicasio had pretty sweet K/BB in the minors, thought he might have been a touch old for each of his levels. John Sickels had this to say about him:
Nicasio's velocity has been steadily improving, moving from the 88-92 range earlier in his career, to 90-95 last year, to more consistent mid-90s readings this year including some reports of him touching 100 for Tulsa. He mixes in a very good curveball, as well a decent slider and changeup, giving him a complete arsenal. He throws strikes, has a good feel for pitching, and has had no trouble adapting to Double-A.
That sounds scary. I would have preferred a scouting report that included the words "Livan Hernandez," "fatter," and "dookie-ball jamboree."
Annoying, annoying rain delays.
Yuck. Come on, nature. It's June.