If I had to choose between Bud Norris and Ervin Santana, I think I'd go with … well, wait, maybe it's not so simple. Norris has the extra year of control, but Santana has been dominating this year. The Giants would probably have to give up an extra prospect for Santana, but I think it would be worth it. Then the playoff rotation would go:
Unless Vogelsong comes back strong. Then maybe Lincecum is the super-reliever again, coming out of the bullpen in the NLDS and NLCS.
Or maybe they can get a hitter. Alex Rios is paid a lot next year, but that's almost a plus with Hunter Pence possibly leaving as a free agent. Get Rios now, and shore up that outfield for 2013 and 2014.
Wait, why not both? A pitcher and a hitter. Maybe a reliever, too. A lefty to replace Affeldt if they can.
Keep telling yourself, "Well, this has to be rock bottom." Keep guessing. Keep assuming that we're there. Because I think the baseball gods have something in store for us. And this is nothing. We're going to mutter something about rock bottom in the corner, and the next thing we know, Nate Schierholtz will hit a solo homer for the only run of the game as the Giants sandwich-squander bases-loaded opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings. That will be …
But it can get worse. Don't expect it to end here; just hope it does. The Cubs fielded a lineup that had Schierholtz, Cody Ransom, and Cole Gillespie. Apparently Dan Ortmeier, Tomas de la Rosa, and Yamid Haad were out sick. And that Cubs lineup beat a Giants team that was fronted by eight innings of Madison Bumgarner's best stuff. That's it. That's as good as Madison Bumgarner can pitch.
Nope. Out-dueled by Chris Roroson. Chris Rammstein. Cram Ricin. Rom Krokus. Doesn't matter. It's kind of a truism that fans will blame everything that goes wrong on the failures of the players on their own team. Why didn't Hector Sanchez get that hit off Clayton Kershaw? Why didn't Andres Torres take that Cliff Lee curve back up the middle? But sometimes the other team plays baseball better. Weird concept, I know.
But you will never convince me that Bumgarner and Rusin pitched equally well on Saturday night . Bumgarner was dominating. Rusin was pitching well. The former looked like a pitcher who would never give up a hit again; the latter looked like a workmanlike starter, getting the job done. That's where the Giants are. They're back in 2011, making middling pitchers look like superstars.
Computer: Give me "Brandon Backe."
Thanks. But it's that, combined with the pitching from 2001 or 2006. And when the Giants do get a good start -- they've gotten two ridiculous efforts so far in this series -- they blow it. Because they can't hit with runners on base. Which probably isn't a problem that can be fixed; it just has to work itself out. That's probably the worst thing you can think when you want to comfort yourself. DON'T WORRY, EVERYONE. TURNS OUT THAT CLUTCH HITTING IS A MYTH. KEEP CALM, AND BE PATIENT. ANY DAY NOW. AAAAANY DAY.
The Giants had three chances with the bases loaded to hit a ball out of the infield to win/tie the game. That was a bridge too far. Instead, there are two games left before the trading deadline. Please, think of something that could happen in those two games that make the Giants anything but the selleriest of the sellers. Galactus eats Dodger stadium during a Dodgers/Diamondbacks game, maybe.
Other than that, you're probably in for three-and-a-half days of Hunter Pence rumors.
I would write something like, "Of course it was Schierholtz," except it could have been Gillespie or Ransom. Or Dioner Navarro. Or Anthony Rizzo. Or Frank Rizzo. Doesn't matter. Any of them would have felt poignant.
But if you had to pick the poignantiest ...
Really, if the Giants didn't get the DM from the universe by now, they'll lose the next game when the newly signed Ryan Theriot slides in slow-motion for the Cubs' winning run. It's like the (NSFW) Eddie Murphy routine, but the house whispers "NATE ... SCHIERHOLTZ," instead of "GET OUT." The Giants should say, "Too bad we can't stay, baby." That's what they probably will say. I'm not even that scared that they'll say, "Well, that's peculiar." A corner has been turned.
I think. I hope. It was fun, 2013 Giants. I remember those late-game comebacks from April and May. Boy, that was wild. But here we are. There you are. We're all here. And it's awful. Just awful.