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Giants offer meaning in meaningless game against the Padres

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YOU SUCK, PIRATES. YOU'RE GOING DOWN. HATE U PIRATES.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' season doesn't end on Sunday. That's what we were hoping for in March, and though we flew close to the sun on wings made of delusions of grandeur, it's what we get in late September. We'll take it. Even though the entire season -- this entire stupid season of ups and downs and heroics and misery -- comes down to a three-hour game in another time zone, we get the next three days to imagine what it would be like if the Giants trolled the world. That's more than two-thirds of baseball teams can say. The Giants have their first sub-90-win playoff season in franchise history, and it's a long history.

Good. We get at least five more. That was the agreement the baseball gods brokered in 1993, so don't even feel bad about it.

In this meaningless game, the Giants won. They scored a series worth of runs -- Nine! Nine! Like a German lady telling you not to sit on her cat! -- and did things mostly the right way. They hit balls far, and then they hit balls farther. The bullpen was excellent, as it usually is, even if this batch of bullpen was sprinkled with less familiar and overly familiar names.

The win doesn't mean anything, not even in a metaphorical sense. In 2012, the Giants lost their final series to the Dodgers, getting humiliated by Clayton Kershaw in the final game of the regular season. In 2010, the Giants dropped two of three to the Padres, though that last game was a humdinger. Momentum isn't a thing before the playoffs. Not that it's a thing anyway, but it really doesn't matter what happens in the last series of the regular season.

The Giants won three games in a four-game series against the Padres, though. That's always a good thing. And screw momentum for the team, it's momentum for me. It's momentum for you, perhaps. For the next few days, I'm not thinking about the the dumb team that stumbled backwards into a playoff berth because the Brewers got their nose ring caught on a curtain rod. I'm thinking about the team that won the games they were supposed to win at the end of the season. That's a much better feeling than the alternative.

★★★

I work with a Tigers fan. He doesn't care one bit about the Royals' plight, not one bit. He wants them to crash and burn, possibly taking the Twins and Indians with them. He's cruel and callous when it comes to the Royals. And I sit back and think, man, really? Don't you want them to win just once? Isn't there a shred of empathy?

Then I remember that I want the Padres to lose 100 games and look at us with these Margaret Keane eyes for the rest of eternity. I want them to never get a no-hitter or cycle and to trade their best players for inferior players, forever and always.

Suddenly, I'm not so hard on my co-worker.

★★★

For a meaningless game, there sure were a lot of meaningful players starting. And after a couple of dings and twonks, both Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey were removed from the game. Sandoval looked hinky after pulling up the emergency brake on Brandon Belt's double, and Posey took a ball off his person that didn't feel good. There's something to the idea of keeping players fresh, but danged if the Giants didn't get nipped a bit in this one.

On the other hand, both Posey and Sandoval looked excellent in the game, with Posey annihilating a hanging breaking ball and Sandoval getting more hits to help make up for his dreadful September.

The biggest news of the day: In a meaningless game, Buster Posey came back from back problems and drubbed a ball deep into the bleachers. He looked good doing it. There's nothing prettier than Posey crushing a ball in the middle of the plate.

Posey-latos-grand-slam

THERE'S NOTHING PRETTIER THAN POSEY CRUSHING ...

★★★

Chris Heston looked mildly promising. He was supposed to be in the mix for an emergency role last year, but struggled in his first exposure to Triple-A. He was much better this year, and he was rewarded with a September call-up and start.

He features dooky, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's not Zito-level dooky. On the Fister-Zito spectrum of dooky, he's closer to Fister. Don't assume he's the answer to anything, but never assume he's without value. That's the right way to play a guy like that.

Sadly, though, he wasn't removed in the middle of the game.

Bruce Bochy: Get 'em next time.

Chris Heston: You'll pry this ball from my cold, dead hands.

Bochy: ...

Bochy: What?

Heston: Get your paws off this ball, you damned dirty ape.

Bochy: ...

Bochy: ...

Heston: just kidding

Heston: /runs

★★★

Yeah, I liked Lincecum's outing, and I want to see 10 more tuneups like that before the playoffs. The problem about that, though ...

★★★

Meaningless? Let's talk about how Brandon Belt has looked over the last three or four games. He doesn't look like Adam Dunn with blepharitis, which is what he looked like in the first week he was back. That's a big step. He's letting the ball get deep in the zone and taking it the other way, just as he's pouncing on mistakes and crushing them.

The only thing I wanted for October Christmas was for Brandon Belt to regain his form. All of the signs from the last week are positive.

★★★

Andrew Baggarly suggested that the Giants are considering Guillermo Quiroz as a third catcher on the postseason roster because they're enamored of Andrew Susac's ability to pinch-hit and provide a power threat off the bench. When the alternatives are Chris Dominguez and others, it's hard to get offended by that idea. Makes sense.

There's a big offseason post coming about "What to do with Susac?" Spoiler: there probably isn't a way to lose if Susac really can hit. Rest Posey more? Sounds good. I'm not on Team Move Posey yet, and probably won't be for a couple years, but if the Giants can get some offense out of Susac that's anywhere close to a second- or third-tier first baseman, it's going to be hard for them to screw this up. Fresher legs for both Susac and Posey are a good thing, and I guess Brandon Belt playing the occasional left field isn't going to hurt.

Belt can spell Yasmany Tomas, you know.

★★★

After Gary Brown hit his first RBI, he grinned. It was the kind of grin that threatened to reveal his uvula to the masses. Roberto Kelly couldn't keep his excitement in and razzed Brown a bit, and he had a similar grin, too. Everyone likes Gary Brown. Hunter Pence likes playing bongos on his head. That's reasonable. Seems like fun.

Considering that you're rooting for a team counting on Gregor Blanco, that's won with Angel Pagan, that's won with Andres Torres, here's a reminder that players don't always take the straightest line to success. I'm not optimistic from a statistical standpoint about Brown consistently helping the Giants. I'm optimistic from a fanboy standpoint, though. Why not? Why not Gary Brown?

Dude had an 80-grade grin. I liked that.