We shouldn't be surprised with a loss. It's the World Series. The other team is good. If you play this series 100 times, you'll get sweeps on both sides. You'll get blowouts and nail-biters, games that were over in the first and games that don't end until the 14th. There will be a spectrum of hope and agony. It's baseball. The World Series, even.
It takes more than 100 best-of-seven series to find just the right kind of shitstorm, though. It turns out Game 2 was a rarity. It's a four-leaf clover, an aberration in the middle of a field of possibilities. But instead of clovers, we're talking about rainclouds loaded with poop. You don't want to be in that field. Let me start over.
The Giants' bullpen is a melted Peep on a hot sidewalk, and now the ants are getting to it. We had an idea this might happen during the NLCS, but the Giants escaped with just a single bullpen collapse. A regular ol' bullpen collapse might have been fine, expected. This one came with benches almost emptying and an embarrassing display. The Royals didn't just get a burst of momentum. They got a bolt of righteous, inspired lightning.
Good thing momentum is mostly hokum.
The bullpen thing probably isn't, though.
The Giants have spent a lot of money on their bullpen. It's the second-most expensive in baseball, right behind the Dodgers, whose bullpen was also a melted Peep. They put their faith for Game 2 in a minor-league free agent who was great before he was awful, and a 97-mph-throwing waiver claim who is setting uncool postseason records. It didn't work out.
A bullpen blowing a game doesn't qualify for shitstorm status on its own. The exact sequence certainly does, of course.
Jake Peavy looked like the pitcher who struggled all season with the Red Sox, who was available for a reasonable price in a market with teams desperate for pitching. His pitch count was low, but he never missed bats, and the outs were hard. After five up-and-down innings, pitch count be damned, most first-guessers would have wanted him to take a bow. He gave up two quick runners in the sixth, only because there wasn't enough time to give up three quick runners. With an off day on Wednesday -- and with Peavy's year-long struggles with the third trip through the order -- there were better options.
Except I just spent the first few paragraphs complaining about the bullpen. Wait, is this team even good? I don't ...
That brought Jean Machi into the game, and he's one of the lead Peeps. He'll stick to your shoe, and there's nothing you can do about it. He threw three pitches: Ball (not close), ball (not close) fastball right down the middle of the plate (hammered for a single). Possibly the worst appearance of the year from a reliever, considering the crap-per-pitch ratio. He was so good for a while. That while is over there. Do not look at that while. It will only make you wistful.
You're cool Javier Lopez. For now.
Then came Hunter Strickland. What a shitstorm.
I spent hours on this post in the afternoon. It's praise for Strickland. It's also a sallow pile of shame and wordy regret. I still think we're watching an unassisted triple play of a postseason for Strickland -- eight parts fluke, two parts awful. He's not the worst pitcher in baseball history. Someone allowing this many home runs would be the worst pitcher in baseball history. He's not that. He's not close.
But he surrrrrrrre isn't someone to trust right now. Just like Machi. Or Tim Lincecum, who might have regained the scepter of trust before he got hurt. The Giants have a bullpen filled with check-engine lights. Strickland was supposed to be the chosen one. He's been a pillar of black smoke from under the hood.
He got frustrated and yarped and barked at Salvador Perez, who was probably just thinking about giving Lorenzo Cain a wet willie. It was embarrassing. Buster Posey looked annoyed. The Giants' bench didn't exactly storm on the field in response. To be fair, Strickland apologized, saying that he wasn't "too proud of that." Fair enough. It was still embarrassing. The team with a pungent musk of World Series-scented experience looked silly because of a pitcher with fewer than 13 innings pitched above Double-A.
It's a good thing this isn't a best-of-not-looking-silly series, then. The Giants would be hosed. As is, the Giants have home-field advantage in a best-of-five World Series. That's encouraging! Cheer up! Don't mope! Sure, Strickland passed Clayton Kershaw on the all-time list for World Series home runs allowed, but it's not all bad.
The Wong walk-off hurt, but it was a good game. Fister's dominance was annoying, but understandable. You have to go back to Game 4 of the 2012 NLCS to find a game this annoying. We're out of practice. Looks like we're going to have to whine our way out of this.
The game started so danged well, too. Gregor Blanco had one of the best at-bats of the postseason. He's a footnote.
It sure looks like Hunter Strickland called Salvador Perez "boy."
Before judging, don't forget the legend of Buster Posey and "I ain't havin' it." Lip-reading is hard. You're bad at it. So are you. So's the person closest to you right now. If we could hear Madison Bumgarner grunt when he adjusted his belt in Game 1, there's probably an answer that's more satisfying than lip-reading. Don't accept lip-reading as gospel. Not yet.
If he did say it, I'll hope it was in an oblivious way. As in, that's just what he's used to calling someone he wants to disrespect and/or badger. It's a regional thing. I had a quinoa and cabbage salad for dinner tonight, so it's not like I'm in a place to judge. If that's the case, if the answer is "oblivious", here's hoping the Giants go on Amazon and order up, like, seven vats of liquid history and give Strickland a straw. Oblivious is the best answer. I'm not qualified to judge if it's the most likely answer. It's not unthinkable, though.
If Strickland was aware of the power behind that word when it's directed at someone of a different color, he should have garlic fries glued to him and be duct-taped to the left-field foul pole at AT&T Park. That's crap I don't want on the team I follow. If he said it. If. Not seeing a lot of questions or clarification about it in my timeline right now.
I hope he said something like "poop" or "porky." Maybe Peavy's been rubbing off on him. Have faith!
Really, though, I just want to write about baseball.
Tim Lincecum looked mighty okay before he left with back problems. I'd love -- love, love, love -- if he could become a stealthy, surprise relief ace in this World Series. I'm still not optimistic. There were still balls up, even when he was getting outs. Considering the state of the bullpen (Florida, probably), though, and the way he pitched, I wouldn't be surprised to see him creeeeep into tighter situations. Cross your fingers.
I had a really good postmortem ready if they lost to the Pirates, you know. Buck up. The casino is paying for this. I'm in. LET'S GO, TIMMY.
Everyone in the starting lineup had a hit! That was nice.
Three games at home. Do good things, Giants.