That looked like a good team. A good, normal team.
They had strong starting pitching from a guy who went seven innings. They hit a "home run." There was an eight-inning guy who quietly shut the other team down. There was a ninth-inning guy who quietly shut the other team down. They were 4-for-15 (.267!!!) with runners in scoring position. People asked for hot dogs, and when they passed their money to the end of the aisle, a hot dog is exactly what came in the other direction. The scoreboard kept track of runs, hits, and errors. It was like a real baseball game.
What that means for the rest of the season … no comment. But it was the first one of those kind of games since … let's see … oh, the last Madison Bumgarner start. And the time before that was … huh, the last Bumgarner start before that. Turns out the Giants are 0-for-their-last-14 in the games not started by Bumgarner, but they've won six out of the last seven Bumgarner starts. He's thrown seven innings in each of his last six games.
Whatever dark cloud is hovering over the Giants right now -- "Lou Seal blows eighth-inning lead, arrested for arson" -- it's always worth it to take a step back and remember that the team has some incredible young assets still. Bumgarner is on the Giants through at least 2017, and until 2019 if the Giants will have him. Over the life of that contract, he'll make about what Barry Zito has made since the start of 2012.
So when you're sitting around the table, about to eat some turkey and jellied crans, don't bore everyone with that health and family stuff. So hackneyed, so trite. Go straight for the Bumgarner. Look each one of your family members in the eyes and explain to them why Madison Bumgarner means more you than they do.
Or just appreciate him now. The season is still a disaster. But Madison Bumgarner is that sweet, sweet chamber music as the ocean liner sinks into the icy waters.
Also good: Buster Posey. The season I started Waiting for Boof, Barry Bonds hit .341/.529/.749 with 45 homers. The next season, he hit .362/.609/.812 with 45 homers. He was probably the ninth-most popular topic on the site. There was Edgardo Alfonzo to complain about, Brett Tomko to make fun of, and Matt Herges to make us ill.
Bonds? You just keep doing what you're doing, my man. We'll just sit here and take you for granted.
Obviously Posey is a few hundred walks and homers away from that kind of offensive player, but there's a similar feeling. Other than the stupid lock-of-his-hair-in-my-curio-cabinet jokes* every now and again, it doesn't feel like Posey gets a lot of attention in these post-game thingies.
Well, here you go. Posey is one of the very best baseball players in the world, and whenever the Giants win, it's probably because of something he did. His at bat against Luke Gregerson to extend the lead allowed Sandy Rosario and Sergio Romo to pitch a little freer, a little bolder without the fear of one swing ruining everything. Maybe (probably?) the Giants would have won anyway. But I felt like feting Buster Posey tonight.
Feting. No, it's …. look, Your Honor, I don't want to be presumptuous but it means … no, I know the terms of the order, Your Honor, and … yes … mm-hmmm … I understand.
Kensuke Tanaka's first three games: .333 average, .385 on-base percentage.
Ted Williams's first three games: .308 average, .308 on-base percentage.
Willie Mays's first three games: .000 average, .143 on-base percentage.
Not saying. Just saying. Now pick an animal, get over to Google Translate, and let's figure out some nicknames. I'll go with カワウソ. Kawauso. The Otter. Now if you spot me $40,000, I'll get the otter hats we need. I know a guy who knows a guy.
Today in why Brandon Belt is everything wrong with this country: He was supposed to take one for the team on a fastball that almost hit him. Or something. Kruk and Kuip mentioned it. CSN brought it up in the post-game highlights. Twitter goofballs thought it.
"Take one for the team" is something that makes sense on a looping curve ball that gets away. It's not for a fastball that comes in up by the shoulder. Hitters have a fraction of a second to decide whether to swing or not. Mess around with this when you get a second, and then think about the complex mechanics required to put a bat on the ball. Oh, and then think about a fist coming out of your computer screen before you click the mouse button.
"Take one for the team" is stupid in that situation. No one takes one for the team on a fastball coming in like that, especially if the hitter is leaning to cover the outer-half of the plate. They don't have time to retrieve and process the information. It's not "Gee, if I stick my elbow out, I'll get an RBI." It's "affffdzxsjn" and then his brain fires the appropriate synapses that also happened to allow a bunch of apes to stay alive 200,000 years ago.
And he only had a double and a walk. This guy ...