There's a bad offense, and there's an unlucky offense. The Giants are assuredly the former. This isn't a state secret. But today, the offense was unlucky. That's just rude. The two aren't mutually exclusive. They should be. Rude.
The way the Giants didn't score runs today was amazing. It was like a logic puzzle.
You are crossing a river on a raft. You need to bring along a double, a single, and a hard-hit ground ball. The hard-hit ball will eat the single if they're left alone, and the single can't be left alone with the double. There are spots for only two of them at a time. How do you get across???
Roy Oswalt looked like a pitcher coming off the disabled list. He didn't have good command, and he was throwing primarily fastballs. The Giants got fourteen runners off him in six innings -- when they get that many runners, they usually call that "July." The Giants had three hits with a runner in scoring position in the fourth inning, yet they only scored one run. That's impressive! That's a Baxter/wheel of cheese kind of inning. Not even mad. Just impressed.
But it was enough. It was more than enough. The Giants won by two -- a blowout. Even better, they deserved to win by more. They outplayed the Phillies. After watching the Reds and Phillies manhandle them in every aspect of the game -- save weak grounders to second -- they actually outplayed a team. The Giants used to do that quite a bit for the first four months of the season, you know.
Lincecum was good, not great today. When he walked Jimmy Rollins on four straight 89-mph fastballs to start the game, who had a good feeling about this game? Keep those hands up! And after Oswalt scored a run on a two-out hit, how many of you thought this was the Giants' day? Hands up until I'm finished counting! This game was a debacle waiting to ruin a nice Sunday afternoon.
The Giants are still in first place by a half-game. Why aren't they in first place by a game-and-a-half? Because Cody Ransom hit a home run off Clayton Kershaw today. If the Giants had lost today after getting seventeen runners in a game in which Lincecum pitched beautifully, and they lost first place after Cody Ransom took Kershaw deep, well, it would have been about time to start thinking about free-agents and offseason trades. Not because the Giants couldn't overcome a half-game deficit, but because the universe was trying to tell us all something. "Go on a hike. Read a book. This baseball stuff rots your brain," the universe would say.
Instead, Lincecum was Lincecum, and the Giants' offense was just fine against a pitcher who didn't look so great. Losing three out of four to the Phillies at home was embarrassing. Getting swept out of first would have been devastating. Embarrassing has never felt so good.