You're feeling down about that series. The Dodgers swept the Giants, outscoring them 17-4, yet it never felt that close. Everything is ruined, everything is awful.
Except buckle the hell up, because I'm going to look for fun facts. I spent 10 hours feeling bad about this series while it was happening. Now that it's over, I want fun facts. I want hope. I want unfounded optimism. I want nonsensical logic and leaps of faith. Here goes nothing ...
The last two times the Dodgers swept a series in AT&T: 2010 & 2012
This isn't to point at past success after a dismal three-game series, hoping that memories of whatever happened way back then will make you feel better about the carnage you just sat through. There's nothing more annoying than a wounded fan yelling "COUNT THA RINGZZZ" right after a team-wide implosion.
However, it's a good way to point out that July failures don't always portend season-wide doom. In 2010, the Dodgers outscored the Giants 16-6 in a late June series. In 2012, the Dodgers outscored the Giants 19-3 in a late July series. In both cases, the Giants were just fine.
There were ups, there were downs, and the downs felt like funerals. The Giants still might lose the division by 36 games. That's my current prediction, anyway. But if you're looking for perspective to make yourself feel better, the surprise endings of the last two Dodger sweeps are coincidences that are impossible to script. Sometimes, what happens in June or July doesn't ruin the rest of the season. This will always be true.
When the Giants won a game because of a dropped third strike, they went into the toilet
This is because the dropped third strike is an awful rule, and the baseball gods have been in litigation for years, trying to get it struck down. Back on June 7, the Giants got the tying run on base in the ninth inning because of a dropped third strike. The win pushed them to 41-21 on the season. Since then: 16-27. They were punished. They were smoten.
Take A.J. Pierzynski, for example. He won a crucial playoff game for the White Sox on a dropped third strike that wasn't even dropped, and the baseball gods punished him by giving him the chinless mushface that he has to live with every day. So horrifying. So not worth it. The baseball gods have no patience for this sort of stuff.
The Dodgers didn't just benefit from one dropped third strike. They benefitted from two in the same inning. The guy who reached on a dropped third strike came around to score on a dropped third strike. Somewhere, atop a mountain of clouds and mist, there is an effigy of a Dodgers player covered in blood and pine tar. It has been done. It is. Their crimes were in front of god and man, and they will be punished. The Dodgers are now the Mets, and the curse will last for 30 years.
And you thought tonight was a bad night.
PAT BURRELL WAS BAD AT CATCHING THE BALL AND BAD AT HITTING AND THEN THE GIANTS PICKED HIM UP AND EVERYTHING TURNED AROUND SO YOU CAN'T JUST COUNT OUT DAN UGGLA, MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING LEFT IN THE TANK, IT'S A NO-RISK MOVE, CAN'T DO ANYTHING BUT TRY, REALLY
This is so true. Generally, picking up players who can't hit or field is counterintuitive and risky. This time, though, I have a feeling everything's going to work out.
It's impossible to evaluate Jake Peavy on this game alone. He threw a bare-minimum quality start, but that fifth inning was rife with chicanery and subterfuge, and that was the inning that caved the entire game in. Peavy got a grounder and two strikeouts, with a walk mixed in, to start the fifth inning. Job well done, let's head to the bottom-half with the lead. Except the inning kept going and kept going because Alexander Cartwright wrote the rules of baseball on a butterfly ballot, and everything melted.
Buster Posey had a dreadful inning, both with the glove and with the absence of good luck. It's hard to fault his technique for both of the dropped third strikes or the wild pitch that put Gordon at third, especially with the one that bounced a foot in front of the plate. And I'd rather have him miss a million swipe tags on runs that score instead of block one more plate. It was still a maelstrom of unfortunate. The whole inning was what happens in a bad series filled with bad things.
For the most part, though, I'll agree with the Giants' phalanx of scouts: Peavy looks like a worthwhile addition to a rotation that was going to rely on Yusmeiro Petit and/or Mike Kickham when things got squirrelly. He can miss bats and shave the corners when he's right, and he's in the right park for his skill set. I wouldn't get too down on this start. Don't forget that he had to pitch through an error from his second baseman that scored when the left fielder couldn't catch or throw properly. Peavy's had better games; he'll have them again.
Unless the Giants are screwed.
Look at this rotation in 2008, though:
Jake Peavy, 2.85 ERA
Tim Lincecum, 2.62 ERA, Cy Young
Tim Hudson, 3.17 ERA
Madison Bumgarner, 1.46 ERA, 164/21 K/BB ratio in Low-A
Ryan Vogelsong, advanced to CLIMAX SERIES with Hanshin Tigers
Can't argue with that. Seems likely to happen again.
There's no reason to pile on. The Atlanta Braves decided they would rather pay Dan Uggla $16 million to leave rather than pay him $16 million to take up a roster spot. This is because he can't hit or field. It's been three games, but you get it now. The Giants lost a one-run game to the Dodgers in which Uggla was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and allowed an error that led to a run.
Okay, I guess that's kind of piling on. At least he had the courtesy not to make it ambiguous and confusing. Do the Giants win either of the last three games with Brandon Hicks, Tony Abreu, or Joe Panik starting? Probably not. But we know what happened when the Uggla experiment was employed, and it was even worse than expected.
Maybe things will change over the next 55 games. NEVER KNOW UNLESS YOU TRY.