The Giants started the pitcher they keep in a glass case in case of emergency, and they replaced him with the pitcher in a glass case stored behind the glass case. They were facing the pitcher who was leading the league in ERA. The very best teams in baseball history lose at least one out of every four games, so it's hard to get too angry about a game that they Giants probably should have lost.
It's alright to stare listlessly at the TV with dead eyes, wondering why you decided to spend your day doing that, though. Run with that feeling. That's perfectly natural.
The story of the game from a national perspective was Jeff Samardzija, who was winless with a 1.46 ERA (!), with the Cubs going 1-9 in his starts (!). He was outcaining the world. His teammates must hate him so much, they lose on purpose.
Nate Schierholtz: So, you're going to shave that renaissance faire goatee and cut your horrible hair, right?
Jeff Samardzija: Yuhnope.
Schierholtz: I can't concentrate on my at-bats because I'm can't look away in the dugout. It's a train wreck of hair and head.
Starlin Castro: I can't throw straight because you're on the mound, freaking me out, so I make errors. Please, shave that everything away.
Schierholtz and Castro: oh no no no dammit no
The Giants actually hit him fairly well. Pablo Sandoval, creeping up on a 100 OPS+, which would make this page so much prettier for us dorks, roped a couple of baseballs particularly hard, and there were more than a couple hard-hit outs. Considering that he throws 97 with movement, spins hideous breaking balls low in the zone, generally features solid command, and looks like a rejected picture from a Caress of Steel promo shoot, concentrating long enough to hit a few balls hard is good enough.
The problem was with the pitching, which brings us back to the glass cases. Yusmeiro Petit is as Jekyll/Hyde as spot starts get, and David Huff is almost certainly the most fungible of bullpen arms. When the Giants give up eight runs, you hope it's because of the irregulars, not because the good pitchers had worrisome outings. In that sense, well, good job?
If this buys a non-caining from the baseball gods, I'm for it.
Pablo Sandoval gonna cost a billion dollars.
He's halfway to his 2013 home run total, and five away from his 2012 total. One of the talking points around Sandoval's pending free agency is that he's secretly been kind of a turd at the plate, disappearing in 2010 and for large stretches in both 2012 and last season. I get that. He's a frustrating player.
But I've always been one of the fools expecting 2011, over and over again, waiting for the 2011 MVP candidate to show up. I think that -- or something perhaps a touch more modest -- is the real talent baseline, which is why I was willing to jump at him getting the Pence when other fans were in a don't-let-the-door mood. In the next four seasons, I'm expecting more seasons like 2011 than 2013.
You might disagree. You might have the stats and logic on your side, I don't even know at this point. But I'm forever expecting hot Panda. This stretch is consoling, then. He's not broken. He was just offline. Now he's back. I sure wish the Giants were more proactive at signing him to an extension over the years. He's going to be a Yankee, and the Giants are going to, dunno, experiment with Joe Panik there, or something equally discouraging.
That's a problem for then, though. Right now, it looks like Sandoval is ready to contribute to happy baseballing. Which is great timing, considering Buster Posey is in the middle of his annual gutterslump.
Did you notice that Conor Gillaspie is hitting .352 for the White Sox? Weird.
In the sixth inning, David Huff pinch-hit for Petit. This was the ...
/runs database query
... first time in Huff's career that he pinch-hit. It was ... counterintuitive? Something like that. There are explanations:
Bochy was worried about Sanchez (hard foul tip) and Morse (foul ball off calf but he's fine). That's why he used Huff at plate, saved bench.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 26, 2014
Again, the problem is with the 13 pitchers, which is still going on because Matt Cain is disabled without being on a list of disabled players. The Giants are excellent at keeping their disabled players off that list, because once you utter the name of the list, then it becomes true, like a leprechaun. To be fair, if Cain can make his next two starts, the keeping-him-off gambit would have worked much better than the count-on-Petit gambit over his next two scheduled starts.
But if you're wondering why you probably aren't going to see the Giants use 13 pitchers again this year, or any other team use 13 pitchers regularly, that's a perfect example why. Because you'll use David Huff to pinch-hit and look absolutely silly.
Though I guess George Kontos is throwing in the mid-90s again? Maybe we could get used to the 13 pitchers ...