There are a lot of benefits to the Giants contending. The first is that the Giants are contending. Oh, it can get frustrating to watch a team not score again and again and again, and that will lead to silly all-caps posts in Comic Sans, but deep down I know that Giants fans are mostly lucky to enjoy another season where the team is playing meaningful games in August and (hopefully) September. For example, I got a text from the Padres fan the other day, which read something like this:
Blah blah run differential blah blah unlucky blah blah blah not fair blah blah blah Garry Templeton
It's hard to tell his texts apart.
But he has a good point. The Padres have scored more runs than they've allowed, something the Giants haven't managed, yet they're hanging out at the bottom of the division, playing pinochle with James Loney and Aaron Miles. The Padres actually have four players in the starting lineup with an OPS+ of 100 or better, which the Giants aren't able to do with Posey and Sanchez out, and Brandon Belt going to the Rays in a waiver deal for Kelly Shoppach. The pitching isn't as strong as last year's, but the Padres are actually hitting a lot better lately:
It's even more dramatic in August, as the Padres are hitting .284/.343/.449 as a team. That's like a team of unbroken Buster Poseys, and they can all steal bases when Tim Lincecum is distracted. Scary, if a little unsustainable.
But the biggest benefit to my favorite team contending is that it only bothers me that Jesus Guzman is some sort of robo-beast now. It doesn't destroy me. It's only really, really, really irritating. Two years ago, PECOTA told the world that a good comp for Jesus Guzman was Rikkert Faneyte. Now he's Adrian Gonzalez reborn out of the ashes. Okay. Whatever.
I used to think Jesus Guzman was going to be the Andres Torres for the Giants -- the random non-prospect minor-league free agent who would lead us to ... well, I don't know what. But I thought it was going to be him. Turns out it was Torres. That was pretty cool last year.
If the Giants were still the team from 2005 through 2008, though, this would kill me. After all the Benzingers, Niekros, Minors, Desis ... there was finally a first baseman who floated to us on a oyster shell, and we let him leave like it was nothing. For shame.
Now? Dang. Really annoying. But those BB/SO columns make me think that he would never have done that with the Giants.
Padres: Say, have you thought about not swinging at everything?
Guzman: Don't want to lose my per diem, Skip.
Padres: That's actually not our policy. That was your last minor league team.
Guzman: Okay, Skip. Whatever you say.
So good for you, Padres. Now please keep him the hell away from us.
Hitter to watch
That whole thing was a hitter to watch.
Pitcher to watch
Not Mike Adams. That's alllllllll I care about. I know the Giants nicked him up a couple of times, but he was the most annoying pitcher in baseball. Not because of anything he did, but because he was so coldly efficient. He'd come in a one-run game and throw a nine-pitch inning before you could throw something at the TV. The Padres will just make another Mike Adams out of the Mike Adams shavings they have in a drawer, but at least we don't have to see the real thing for a while.
The Padres steal a base.