Until about the end of the second inning, Cain was inefficient and ineffective. His fastball was up, and his change wasn't especially fine, bouncing in the dirt as often as it was crossing into the strike zone. He was sitting at 200 or 210 pitches -- can't remember the exact number -- and it looked like he was destined to have a five-inning-and-out dud, but only if he was lucky
Then Mat Latos came to the plate. Cain needed to clear his head. He needed to slip into a meditative state. He closed his eyes, and imagined chucking a baseball at Latos's ass. That reset his mechanics. The old Cain snapped back into place, like a cheap dowel into an Ikea bookshelf. Snaaaap. The old Cain struck Latos out on three near-perfect pitches, and for the rest of the game, it was the Cain we were used to.
Snaaaap. It was just that simple.
But that's not always a good sound, that snaaaap. Because the Giants as a team did it too. They landed at CVG late last night, and they had to hang tight on the runway for a while. Everyone was stuck on the plane, it was about three in the morning, and Cain did whatever it is that he does that makes his teammates hate him so. Sing Elvis songs in a Bob Dylan voice. Pick his toes. Loudly discuss the virtues of Ron Paul and the gold standard.
Don't know. That's clubhouse kind of stuff, and I'm not privy to it. But whatever it is that Cain did, it caused a snaaaaap. And his teammates said, "Oh, yeah. That's right. Screw this guy. I'm a go up to the plate tomorrow holding the wrong end of the bat."
It took three weeks to get the most Giants game of the year, so it'd be gauche to complain too much. It's been a long break. But didn't that one feel familiar? Mat Latos on the mound, sweeping the leg, dropping the slider. Double plays. Runners in scoring position jogging back to the dugout after the inning ends. Cain getting hosed.
Then Dan Otero came in and tinkled kerosene all over the place, and it stopped feeling like a Giants game. Zoinks.
But for a while, you'd be excused if you figured you were trapped in some sort of recursive time warp. It could have been 2009; it could have been 2011. That game was comfortably familiar like a pair of old sneakers with a scorpion inside.
So, Dan Otero. Zoinks. It's not time to pull the McCovey Chronicles Official Back-of-the-Bullpen Gold Seal Sponsorship from him yet -- still dig the minor-league numbers too much, and the grounders he gives up sure do seem to find holes more than they should-- but that was a disastrous outing. You can see how he was successful at all of his stops before this. He's deceptive, and he can get some good sink on the ball.
But he's not the kind of pitcher who can live up, and he didn't really know where it was going tonight. If he doesn't have plus control, he's probably not a major leaguer. So let's hope he finds it in under some couch cushions or something. I have a feeling he's going down before Friday, though, so it's probably a moot point.
And that brings us to the saving grace of the night, Buster Posey. Otero hit Joey Votto with a pitch because he didn't know where the ball was going. Otero didn't, I mean. Well, I suppose Votto didn't either, or else he would have sat in the right-handed batter's box and explained to the ump that he'd get drilled in the thigh if he took his normal spot. Regardless, it was clear that Otero didn't mean to hit Votto.
But if you hit their big star, then they have no choice but to hit your big star. It's just so silly. No, I didn't play baseball past high school, so maybe when I don't respect the unwritten rules, I seem like an effete twit holding a pinkie out as I sip my tea. More so, even. But of all the unwritten rules, that's one of the stupidest.
So because of the unintentional HBP, the Reds had to hit Buster Posey. If they didn't, there'd be unwritten anarchy. They had no choice. Sam LeCure winged a ball behind Posey. Both benches were warned, and then Posey clubbed an opposite-field home run.
That wasn't the most impressive part. No, the most impressive part was that Posey refrained from doing the "facial" thing with his hand as he rounded the bases, or grabbing his crotch and thrusting it moundward as he jumped on home plate. Because that's what I would have done. I'm a weak man. Buster Posey is not, and I'd still vote for him for any office he runs for. It's like a focus group came up with that guy. He's just perfect.