It's taken a lot of restraint to hold on to the but-last-August-was-awful-too card -- held on that sucker for six whole days -- but it's worth remember that last August, Tim Lincecum was broken, the pitching staff was regressing, and the hitters weren't good enough to stave off the regression. It was a mess. Not quite this kind of mess, but it wasn't pretty. Remembering that last August wasn't fun is worth .001 consolation points. If you collect 10,000 of them, you can trade them in for one of those bamboo finger traps. Good luck.
It's been a while since it's been this embarrassing to watch this team. There was probably a decent-sized faction who watched last night's game and thought, "Yarrr! That fight will put some fire into their bellies!" Yet was there anyone who really believed the Giants were going to score three runs off Cole Hamels? After the Phillies got two in -- with the deciding run coming in on a passed ball -- all of that belly-fire was expressed, and it didn't sound or feel good. Two runs? Man. Might as well have been sixteen.
And we're watching the folly of trading too much for a rental. It still might work out, but right now it's easy to understand that Carlos Beltran is just one man. Even more, he's not magic. He can still hit into an ill-timed double play with the rest of them. There's never going to be a one-man cavalry, not for an offense this poor.
Forget it. Enough about the game. It's time for a philsophical debate. Pablo Sandoval's ninth-inning, two-out home run: would you feel better if it did or didn't happen? On the one hand, another shut-out would be especially embarrassing. Getting shut down by good pitchers is one thing, but not getting one measly hit with runners in scoring position again ... brutal. So Pablo's home run saved the Giants that embarrassment.
On the other hand, now the fielding follies in the first inning look that much worse. All of the missed opportunties, those two-out hits that never came, look horrific in retrospect. With Pablo's home run, it makes the game seem like a just-miss instead of a never-was. And after the cleanup hitter finally got a run, the #5 came up and reminded you just what kind of predicament the Giants were in. That stings a little bit more.
It's not September 29th. The Giants weren't eliminated from contention today. But it's been a humbling series. The Giants aren't really in the Phillies' class. And unless Buster Posey grows a new ankle, Freddie Sanchez grows a new shoulder, and Brandon Belt grows a thick, grey beard, they aren't going to be in the Phillies' class. They just have to hope that they're in the Diamondbacks' class. I'm wondering about that right now.
Doubting it, really. It's a bad stretch -- the worst they've seen in a couple of seasons -- but better to have it now than later. The problem is that there's no guarantee that it will stop. This team really can't hit. Like, really can't hit at all. It's far worse than last year. Feels more like 2009 every day.