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Giants drop home opener, 2-0, extend losing streak to four games

Madison Bumgarner rode a horse. The horse was left on base.

Pretty much.
Pretty much.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The game started with Madison Bumgarner riding a danged horse around the outfield. Jets screamed in the sky. A championship flag was raised, and the crowd was pulsing, pulsing, pulsing with excitement. It was a passionate, smart crowd, ready to see the Giants do good things. You can tell it was a passionate, smart crowd because new bullpen catcher Eli Whiteside got loud cheers in the pregame introductions. It was the perfect baseball day, and everyone felt it.

The game ended with you asleep, so I hope you weren't listening to the radio in the car. This here spot should have been reserved for Chris Heston praise, another paean to the found money of the 40-man roster. Instead, you are asleep and cannot read these words. It's possible that your dreams are being messed with, like that time my White House visit was interrupted by a meowing cat before I woke up to a meowing cat. But you are definitely asleep. If you're lucky, you won't wake up until October, 2016. Those promise to be good times.

The game was an awful, sluggish game. The Giants were adept at getting on base and hitting the ball hard, but they were lousy at doing anything in the right order. Don't just throw your hands up and complain that it was just one of those games, though. It was much worse than one of those games. It was historically annoying. For example ...

The last time the Giants walked six times without scoring was 2004.The last time the Giants left 12 or more runners on base without scoring a run was in 2001, in the infamous 18-inning game lost by a young Ryan Vogelsong. The last time they did it in a nine-inning game was 1994, when Greg Maddux walked six and confused baseball so much the World Series was cancelled. These kinds of games don't come around often. You have the right to be more annoyed than usual.

Eddie Butler, the starter for the Rockies, also walked six in Monday's game. Roberto Kelly was wearing a uniform for that 1994 game; he was wearing a uniform on Monday. It's all so clear when you just do a little research, people.

You know what would have made you feel better about Monday's game? A well-timed broken bat hit. A ball hit so poorly, it landed between the shortstop and left fielder. Someone on the other team throwing the ball down the right-field line. Someone on the other team throwing a ball that hit a runner in the back. There were so many ways to score one or two of those runners. Those things would have made you feel better, even if they would have told you absolutely nothing about the quality of this team. That's the paradox of baseball. You'll enjoy a game you don't have a right to enjoy, hopefully soon.

The game started with Madison Bumgarner riding a danged horse around the outfield. The game ended with you asleep. In between the Giants did a few things right, but they needed a few things +1. The +1 never came.


Chris Heston continues to impress, though. Always look on the bright side of life. In one sequence, he buckled Troy Tulowitzki on a curveball for a called strike three. In another, he sent a magic darty-ball into the hands of Nolan Arenado and almost de-thumbed him. Those are good hitters, and Heston made them look bad in selected moments. He deserved better.

I'm not sure how much we'll see Heston over the next few weeks. He's been impressive, but not the kind of impressive that keeps familiar veterans like Matt Cain out of the rotation. It seem like there's a decent chance that we'll see a good chunk of Heston over the next couple of years, though. His LinkedIn profile is starting to look really impressive.

Invitation to join LinkedIn

No, I just made that reference because I wanted to avoid the cliche of "his resume." I didn't mean to set myself up for ...

Invitation to join LinkedIn

Invitation to join LinkedIn

Invitation to join LinkedIn

Invitation to join LinkedIn

no my inbox please no

Matthew D. LinkedIn would like to be friends on Facebook, maybe come over for dinner some time



No, seriously, a danged horse.


Paying too much attention to a pair of at-bats is bad form, usually. We're talking about electrical pulses in a player's nervous system in a split-second. Reading too much into one or two at-bats probably isn't a good way to analyze baseball.

Did you see those crappy at-bats from Angel Pagan, though? Hooooo, man, those were two crappy at-bats. With two outs in the second inning, Butler walked Norichika Aoki on four pitches. Then after getting Joe Panik 0-2, he lost him on four straight balls, including three of them that were buried in the dirt hard enough to make a baseball tree.

Pagan came up and swung at the first pitch, a slider. He was not expecting a slider.

The next at-bat was even worse, though. Panik walked again, this time on four straight balls. Pagan came up and worked the count to get a 2-0 advantage. He then took an overanxious swing at an unhittable changeup. He did it on the next pitch, grounding into a double play.

Does it mean anything about how Pagan will do this year, or reflect on the player he's been in the past? No. He even helped the rally in the first inning with a single, which reinforces the idea that the biggest problem in the game was a lack of good timing.

Still, those were the two worst at-bats of the year, considering the situation and the close game. There's still a lot of season left, though. There will be more.


"Joaquin Arias is in the on-deck circle."

- Mike Krukow, in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game with a runner on first


I know some of that has to do with injuries -- Matt Duffy is in the starting lineup because of Casey McGehee, for example -- but if luck is the residue of design, then Joaquin Arias as your pinch-hitter in the highest-leverage pinch-hitting situation of the game is the residue of poor design. Or, at least, the residue of poor imagination. Maybe the residue of a really sticky gas station cheeseburger that you regret eating six seconds after you finish.

It's definitely residue, though, and it's not the pleasant kind.

Win a game, Giants.