Point of order: How many bonus points do you give to the Giants for almost coming back in the ninth inning?
Before you answer that, let's think about the 3-2 final differently. Pretend that the Giants scored their two runs within the first two batters of the game. Pence walks, Panik hits an inside-the-park homer. You're pumping your fist. The Giants are pumping their fists. Everyone's excited. This is gonna be the Giants' game. At which point the Giants start a string of 27 dull, suffocating outs. There are no more runs. The Padres can score, but the Giants are done for the night. The top of the ninth is a seven-pitch, two-minute poink of a nose hair.
You're not excited about that game, not even a little. Yet there's something about the almost-got-'em game like that one, where the Giants were a hard-hit Brandon Crawford ball that way away from winning, but they got a hard-hit Brandon Crawford ball that went this way. It cuts through the Padres fog of doom, even if just a little. I'm not saying that wasn't a stupid game. But it could have been even more much stupider.
It was still a stupid game, mind you.
This is usually the spot where we talk about all the things the Giants did wrong, calling them dunderheads and nincompoops. When Joe Panik threw a double play ball into left field, I literally called him a boob. I've never used the word "boob" as a pejorative in my life. In my life. No chance, not even close. Yet when it happened, the first words out of my mouth were "YOU BOOB." I would have been less surprised if I cursed in French. That play affected me, though.
Except that angle always makes the opposing team seem like a video game level, like something unchanging that's there for everyone to figure out and conquer. It doesn't allow them to be good on their own accord. There's always a temptation to find out now the Giants lost the game, rather than how the other team won it.
The Giants started their minor-league-free-agent-turned-spot-starter-turned-Cy-Young-replacement-turned-third starter. The Padres started the best arm they had in the organization, the pitcher they're hoping is around for the next good Padres team. Yusmeiro Petit pitched fine. Andrew Cashner was dominant, which he can be. The Giants deserved more hits, considering how hard they hit the ball all night, so it's not as if they flailed at him like he was Wizard Tim Wakefield throwing an invisible knuckleball. He had his best stuff, the Giants had decent at-bats at times, which means there's no good place to direct the anger.
That's almost more annoying.
When the Padres kept adding on to the lead, I kept telling myself the Giants still had a chance. Down one? Just need a bloop and a blast. Just need a bloop double and a bloop single.
It reminded me of this.
"IT'S OKAY. IT'S JUST ONE RUN."
/Padres score two more runs
"IT'S OKAY. IT'LL JUST TAKE A GRAND SLAM."
The Giants almost came back, the boobs. That's more than I expected, considering that Cashner pitched as well as he did.
(Yes, I'm suggesting you tip your cap, you boob. Cashner is a healthy Rich Harden. Respect his talents.)
Introducing a regular segment that we like to call, "Just Let Belt Call His Own Damned Pitches."
Brandon Belt: Ball.
Opposing pitcher: You sure? That looked ...
Pitcher: Okay, okay.
That ball was as borderline as could be, according to the lasers. Tie goes to the Belt. Who is better at calling balls and strikes than the umpires. Just let him call them. He's honest. Look at that face.
At least we have a hint that his eyesight isn't being affected by the concussion anymore
Yusmeiro Petit deserved better. The #3 starter for the Giants, gulp, demonstrated just how well he can pitch in a situation where other pitchers would throw. He was dealing with an inconsistent strike zone and more than a pinch of bad luck, but he still figured out how to pitch out of a bases loaded jam with one out.
The Brewers won and the Pirates lost. That's probably a good thing at this point. The Giants would have to lose so many games to let the Brewers back into it. As long as we ignore that there's NOTHING BUT DODGERS AND PADRES FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, we're probably better off with the Pirates slinking away from hosting the one-game playoff.
If you're wondering why the one-game playoff is the focus, well ...
|If the Giants go …||Then the Brewers would have to do at least this to tie them …|
|If the Dodgers go …||Then the Giants would have to do at least this to tie them …|
Hey, could happen! Note the Dodgers close the season with the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. So.