There it is. The first "why do I even like this game?" game of the season. It's not like the other three losses were pleasant affairs, but they were garden-variety annoying. Awful fielding follies, Giants lose. Lots of homers, Giants lose. Paul Goldschmidt unhinging his jaw and eating Tim Lincecum whole, Giants lose. That was the loss column before tonight.
This one, though, had everything. It had errors and missed opportunities, bloop hits and bloopier hits. It was a game that sat on you and didn't let you up. The older brother of games. Your struggling turned into sad resignation, and you just lay there, being sat on, because it's not up to you.
Back when I was a wee lad, there was a channel on cable devoted entirely to music videos, and every Friday night, they would play two videos and ask America which one was better. The winner would move on to the next Friday. I still remember when "Photograph" lost to Duran Duran. It was a formative experience. Anyway, that's what I want to do this year with stupid errors.
Stupid Error of 2014 Reigning Champion: Botched rundown on Opening Day (Brandons Belt and Crawford)
Contender: Pablo Sandoval target="New">making a bad decision and horrible throw.
Winner: No contest. Sandoval's monstrosity. You throw that ball if Mark Trumbo is running down the line. You throw that ball if Tony Campana is carrying Mark Trumbo down the line. You do not throw that ball when Tony Campana is running down the line. Sandoval's monstrosity moves on, and a new champion is born. We'll see you next time.
It was an 0-2 count with two outs, too. It wasn't a bad pitch. If Santiago Casilla had buried it, if Posey called for the fastball, if, if, if. Instead, the dumbest error of the year.
@hankschulman Yeah, he's been outstanding this season in the field.— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) April 10, 2014
Boy, that was a dumb tweet. The joke's on you, though, as you're here right now to read what that dude wrote, and he doesn't even understand baseball. Eleven hours after that tweet, Sandoval chucked the ball into the opposing dugout. To lose the game. What a bunch of stupid from Sandoval.
At least he's hitting, though.
(Still not worried about Sandoval. Still assuming that he's pressing too much or needs fat to maintain his strength, or whatever the reason of the day is. He'll be fine.)
Tony Campana is listed as both shorter and lighter than me, which is a rare thing for a baseball player. It's a rare thing for an actuary. And on his game-winning hit, he swung as hard as he could, and gently floated it over second base. I'm not sure I've seen anything quite like it. That's all he had, that's the upper limit of Tony Campana's gap power.
But it worked. The Giants lost tonight because Campana played the best possible game he could, except for when he ran away from a fly ball in center as if it had anthrax on it. The Giants couldn't take that gift and fashion a run out of it. There you go: Thursday night's game in two sentences.
Tony Campana is a tiny hummingbird that lives in David Eckstein's mouth. Fear him. He'll show up again this season, watch.
Let's watch one more start before the freakout. Vogelsong didn't look good, at first. Toward the end, though, he showed flashes. His velocity ticked up, and Posey's mitt didn't have to move much for anything that was called. Still, the bad omens outnumber the good, possibly by a factor of 30 or so.
Vogelsong's career arc is basically Flowers for Algernon. The beginning had difficulties and struggle, the second act had short-lived brilliance, and the third act is all about him regressing horribly, back to the struggling pitcher he was before, and doing it almost immediately.
Except I'm not ready to believe that yet.
Pretty ready. But not totally ready.
Buster Posey and Paul Goldschmidt had an ugly, ugly collision up the first base line after Posey bunted (!) for a single. For two or three seconds, I thought Posey's ankle melted again. Goldschmidt would have been a supervillain, and Scott Cousins would have been his old identity in the comic's origin story.
At that moment, I resolved not to care about the rest of the game. Just let him get up, baseball deities, and the game is a good, productive game. Who cares about the score? Let Posey be okay.
Then he got up. I won't break my promise. Who really cares about that game, considering how close we were to a devastating Posey injury again? Then the news about Darren Ford diving into a concrete wall started to leak out, and it sounded unfathomably horrible. At that point, this game didn't seem so important. Because it wasn't.
It just sat on you like an older brother, waiting for you to struggle for maximum enjoyment.
Here's this game: