I've never been angrier at a great game in my life.
That stupid, enthralling, horrible masterpiece was the worst best game the Giants have played in years. There were strikeouts and double plays, runners thrown out at home and runners left on base. The Dodgers tied the score because the Giants had a third basemen playing left field.
The Dodgers were up to the challenge, though. Don Mattingly took it as a personal affront that the Giants were trying to out-nincompoop him. The Dodgers countered with errors and more errors, double plays and more double plays. They put Brian Wilson into the baseball game on purpose, and then they did the same with Kevin Correia. In the 11th or 12th inning, there was a left-handed September call-up throwing to Buster Posey like it was normal. The Giants took the lead because the Dodgers had a designated hitter playing left field.
It was a sloppy, messy game, a critically reviled, four-hour, drug-fueled movie from 1967 that achieves cult status decades later. I'm still fighting the urge to MASH MASH MASH the keyboard because that's what I was planning for hours. How did the Giants win that game? How did they get out-nincompooped? Nobody out-nincompoops the Giants.
It was an effort of jackassery from the other side that made you think, say, maybe it's not so stupid to have a sliver of hope. The Dodgers didn't look like a great team on Monday night. They didn't look like a good team. They kicked the ball all over and flailed at pitches they couldn't hit. They looked like the kind of team that could screw up eight scoreless innings from Clayton Kershaw. That's the hope, anyway.
The Giants are still the longest of longshots to win the next five, six, or seven games, but pretending there's a chance is much better than going to sleep with a mouthful of ash. Again, we're rooting for a one-game playoff to see who makes the one-game playoff instead of the best-of-five playoff, and also to see who gets to advance to the best-of-five playoff instead of a one-game playoff to make the five-game playoff.
That's if the Giants win the next two games, against Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
I just watched that game, though, and I'm feeling arrogant. I'm high on jackass dust and I'm never coming down. The Giants can do it, dammit. They can do it.
They can do this. Didn't you see that game?
I don't even know where to start.
The heroes, then. After Jake Peavy threw seven strong innings, the Giants followed with four different relievers. Six innings, zero hits, zero walks, seven strikeouts. The only runners after Peavy left came on a hit-by-pitch and an error. That part up there about this being a confusing, stupidly great game? That's laying it on a little thick, considering the Giants had at least one group doing all the right things at the proper times. Right after the Dodgers had to use Kevin Correia -- again, on purpose -- the Giants sent out a guy throwing 99 on the corners.
The bullpen was stunning. In order:
- Jean Machi's freaky, tumbling knuckle-splitter seems impossible to hit when he's bending it over the outside part of the plate to right-handers. Is bending even the right verb? Flopping. Flooping. Snuzzling. Whatever. He gets more guff than 2.20-ERA'd relievers normally get, possibly because he seems to get away with hanging those freaky, tumbling knuckle-splitters that hitters can't comprehend. It generally works, though. It generally works.
- I remember that Sergio Romo. You do, too. He made Yasiel Puig look like a guy who didn't know Romo threw a slider.
- It's something of a story that Santiago Casilla pitched in the 11th and 12th at all. The safe move for managers is to hold the closer on the road until there's a lead. Instead, Bruce Bochy figured it was more important to send his closer up against the Dodgers' middle of the order in a tie game. That's smart baseball. It almost makes up for (things Bochy did that annoyed you).
- Of course, an important point might be that Hunter Strickland is really the Giants' closer, kind of like how Aragorn's job title didn't exactly change, so much as it was revealed later in the movie. He threw 99 on the corners, but only when he wasn't dropping a ludicrous breaking ball. If he's healthy, he's saving the Giants a lot of money next year.
You're excited about the bullpen right now because Juan Uribe didn't swing at a hanging slider from Casilla that was the worst possible pitch to throw in that situation. Baseball is a silly game.
The Dodgers hit, by my count, seven fly balls to the warning track on Monday night. That seems like a lot. When we're all giddy and drunk on champagne on Sunday, remember those outs and how someone was playing with the great humidor in the sky at just the right time.
The Giants won their seventh Peavy start of his last eight. He's thrown into the sixth inning in all of his starts, including at least seven innings on seven different occasions.
With Joaquin Arias on deck and the Giants' inability to get runners in from third with fewer than two outs, I would have sent Brandon Belt, too. I don't remember him towing a calliope when he runs. I remember him being a little quicker. Maybe Tim Flannery did, too.
A follow-up to the warning-track outs: They made you realize just how hard Gregor Blanco hit his home run in the first inning. Left-center in a dead yard.
Worth listening to:
Video: Vin Scully's devastatingly accurate analysis of Carl Crawford's arm http://t.co/8AwG2f3Nbh— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 23, 2014
He should have caught it. Maybe there's room for hope after all. Don't forget Carl Crawford has done that before:
Crawford was on the Rays. He left for the Red Sox, who paid him far more money than the Rays could. And when the Red Sox and Rays were fighting for a playoff spot, the Red Sox lost when Crawford couldn't catch a sinking line drive.
When you slow the video down, you can see that he had a lot to deal with ...
... and that's why he had difficulties moving in a few feet to catch the ball. It wasn't an easy play, to be sure, but it's one Crawford gets to 95 percent of the time. And it sure looks like a play he should make. We're not the ones reacting to the crack of the bat, watching the line drive sink at a million miles per hour. But we can look at where he started and see where he ended up and think, "Gee, those two points aren't that far from each other."
"Hey, Carl. What's that big bag in your locker that reads, 'Powdered Collapse'?"
"I don't know. A guy gave it to me, couple years ago."
"Why's it glowing? What's that smell?"
"I don't know. Guy gave it to me."
We can hope. We can only hope.