The Giants won. The Dodgers lost.
With that important update out of the way, it's time to talk about exactly how that all happened. The Dodgers game is worth a quick note for two reasons: First, they were beat 16-2, which is astounding. Can you even imagine watching a game that horrible? I cannot. It seems impossible. Second, the Rockies were the ones administering the thumping. The Rockies. The Rockies, who were 0-13 against the Braves in 1993, when 1-12 would have been enough to help the Giants. The Rockies, who were 1-5 against the 2004 Astros, when 2-4 would have been enough.
The Rockies don't help the Giants. This was documented in an embarrassing earlier incarnation of this site. And yet, for two games, the Rockies have been blowing an awful lot of Giants-helping bubbles. Aw, thanks, buddies. We knew you were cool the whole time. Now don't screw the final series of the season up.
/Rockies screw final series of the season up
Why should you care so much about the Dodgers? Because you don't want the season to come down to a one-game playoff.
Why don't you want the season to come down to a one-game playoff? Because, occasionally, a pitcher like Madison Bumgarner will have a weird outing like that.
Weird probably isn't the right adjective for Bumgarner's outing. It was imperfect, which is a kind of start that's on the spectrum of what you expect from Madison Bumgarner. So it wasn't weird at all. It was within the range of Bumgarner starts. That's why you don't want a one-game playoff. Even when you have your best pitcher going against an inferior team, arm slots can drift. Balls can get left over the plate. It can take 20 pitches to get through every scoreless inning, and you're just glad that they were scoreless.
Opposing pitchers can get RBI singles.
Bumgarner was imperfect, but he was plenty good enough. He threw his ninth consecutive quality start. He threw well enough to befuddle Mark Trumbo at the appropriate times. He annoyed the Diamondbacks and their fans, and the Giants won a Bumgarner start for the sixth game in a row. Still, this was a gentle reminder that he isn't magic every start. He can get weird, by which I mean he can get completely ordinary. This was one of the ordinary times.
(The Giants still won. With a lot of help from him.)
If you care about such things, note that Bumgarner might have two starts left in his quest for 20 wins. There's a monkey's paw catch, though. If Bumgarner is pitching on the last day of the season, it means the Giants are still desperate for a win. That could be a good thing. That could be the worst thing.
I secretly care about 20 wins, but I'm not about to admit it to the Internet.
Brandon Belt took a walk. You made guttural noises because of that walk. Seems like something worth discussing.
First, just think of the implications of the walk. Forget the context of the game, the score, the standings. Belt's concussion wasn't a headache thing. It wasn't a fatigue thing. It was an eye thing. He was having troubles with his vision. In his first at-bat off the DL, he exhibited go-go-Gadget vision at the perfect time. Admit it, when he waved through a first-pitch fastball, you were already thinking about the next batter -- not because you don't believe in Brandon Belt, but because it has to be impossibly hard to shake off the rust against a 94-mph fastball. We sit on our butts and yell at baseball players all the time, but that's an unquestionably legitimate excuse.
Second, think of the context of the game. Belt hadn't swung a bat in a game for a month. That had to have made him itchy. His job is (x) and he enjoys (x) more than anything in the world, but he couldn't do (x). Here, then, is a chance to do (x) in the (x)iest way possible, coming through in the clutch and helping his team and oh boy HERE I GO.
That's how I would have felt. SWING SWING SWING. As hard as I could have swung. Belt worked a walk, though. He stepped back and didn't force anything. He worked a tough walk, and he loaded the bases.
It was, quite possibly, my favorite walk since Travis Ishikawa in 2010. I will accept nominations for better walks since then. I'm not optimistic that the nominations will pour in.
As long as we're playing nice with old friends, don't forget about the great job from Sergio Romo. He got four outs in the eighth inning, looking like his old, dominant self. It's easy to think about him like a kinda good reliever who turned sour for a long stretch, except he's one of the better relievers in franchise history, and he turned sour for about three weeks. It was so easy to forget what the good Romo looked like, for some reason.
That. The good Romo looked like that. This Romo will look like that in the future.
That's the clear spiritual successor to Natto's jam here, in which Brian Wilson spins Clay Hensley's head like a record, right round.
Don't sleep on Joe Panik's gum-chewing in that GIF, though. He knows what he's doing back there. He's angling for the VP slot when Posey runs in 2040. It'll take more than no-fuss, pragmatic gum-chewing to get there, but the fervent-yet-polite chewing is a start.
The Giants had six hits today. The pitcher had one. A pinch-hitter had another. Brandon Crawford had four.
We're so focused on Angel Pagan being the magic talisman, but maybe it's been Crawford the whole time. When he hits, the Giants win.
That's probably true for everyone. But it's really true for Crawford, just because I say so.
Which means we get to close with Matt Duffy. This is a safe place, and I have a confession to make. Back when the Giants were going through the uggpocalypse, it was easy to look at the internal options desperately and wonder if anyone in the organization could help. Even though I've been a long-time Joe Panik fanboy, I secretly guessed that Duffy was going to be the guy.
Why not? He was tearing up the Eastern League, where Giants hitting prospects are turned into soylent grounder. Panik was doing well, but there was a mystery about Duffy. He hadn't failed to hit at any level; why not let him try to keep the streak going in the majors?
He didn't do so hot at first. He didn't have the small-sample barrage that's required for a young player to keep a job, and he was buried. He was buried behind Panik, sure, but also behind Arias. And that's before Arias got inexplicably hot. When I saw him take batting practice the other day, he was taking it with Chris Dominguez, Gary Brown, and Guillermo Quiroz -- Code Name: The Afterthoughts.
Good for Matt Duffy, then. No matter what happens to him for the rest of his career, he'll have been a hero in exactly one major league game, which is one more than 99.9999 percent of the population gets to claim.
But I'm still giddy about his future as a sixth infielder. That at-bat was why. He worked a full count, and then he laid back for a 3-2 slider and drove it right up the middle.
Matt Duffy reminds you of the guy standing behind the guy with speaking lines in the scene at the gas station, scowling at the protagonist and wiping a wrench on his overalls. But he reminds me of a quality middle infielder for several years. I don't know what's wrong with you. That's a weird thing for him to remind you of.