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Giants lose (again), 4-3 (again), on eighth-inning homer (again)

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Tim Lincecum was erratic, and the game never should have been that close.

HOLD ON. I'M A CLEAN MY SHOES WITH THIS FORK.
HOLD ON. I'M A CLEAN MY SHOES WITH THIS FORK.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants lost on Wednesday night, 4-3, when they gave up a solo homer in the eighth inning. The Giants lost on Thursday night, 4-3, when they gave up a solo homer in the eighth inning. There was a secretary attending the game on Wednesday night named Lincoln, and there was a secretary attending the game on Thursday night named Kennedy. Really, this can go on for a while. There's no need, though. They were both annoying games, and after the next 1,000 words, we shall never speak of them again.

The difference between the two, though: The Giants had no business winning Thursday night's game. None business. Nope, nope, nope. Tim Lincecum was all over the place, unable to hit his spots. Unless it was Buster Posey's fault for putting the spots five feet in front of home plate. That's probably why they never work together.

It was almost, almost, almost the ultimate troll job. We'll need some more of those to get Tim Lincecum back to Cincinnati as an All-Star, but he couldn't add to the total on this night. The Giants scored a run in the first inning, and Lincecum got two outs in nine pitches. So far, so good. Walk, walk, walk, and the hardest-hit ball to stay in Great American Ballpark later, and the Giants still had the lead. There were more walks. There were runners all over the place. There were dunderheaded plays. There was this:

Yet the Giants were never down by 13. The Reds made some serious boners on the bases, too, which is one of the only reasons the Giants could pretend they were still in the game. Eventually, though, the inability to command an 87-mph fastball didn't help the Giants win. That was probably an anomaly, I'm sure.

To be fair, Lincecum was almost out of the fifth inning with the lead, when Alfonso Marquez blew a strike-three call, according to Brooks Baseball:

lincecum

That's from the catcher's perspective, and you're looking for the #4. It was on the edge, but it was clearly a strike. Inning should have been over.

On the other hand, Lincecum should have given up six runs before that, and then he hit Todd Frazier with the pitch with two strikes. You can't just throw your hands up and curse the fates after a game like that. If they had to go to the judges, it would have been a unanimous decision.

I would rather be wrong about Tim Lincecum, so wrong, and have him win the Cy Young, with Lincecum saying, "To all you cynical dorks on the Internet ... you were wrong and you will die alone" at the press conference than I would be right and have him fail. It's not even a question. I just don't see how you can watch a start like that and be optimistic about anything. Not unless you clutch that shiny ERA to your chest like a string of pearls. I don't blame you if you do. It probably feels nice and comfortable.

And there I see a darkness, though. And there I see a darkness. Did you know how much I love Tim? Here's a hope that somehow he-eee, can save us from this darkness.

★★★

In the first inning, with Johnny Cueto reeling, the Giants had runners on first and third, with Brandon Belt up. The runner at first was Buster Posey, who runs like someone in a strongman competition trying to pull a 747 with his teeth. The batter was Brandon Belt, who is apparently bad again, and who is swinging a flashlight with a really convincing bat-shaped beam.

Now, Belt has hit into 13 double plays in his career -- literally just two more than Casey McGehee has hit into over the last six weeks -- but he strikes out 24 percent of the time. With a runner on first and fewer than two outs, Belt has hit into a double play a little less than four percent of the time.

The risk is that Belt strikes out (one-in-four chance) and Posey is thrown out (one-in-one chance). The reward is that four percent of the time, Belt will avoid the double play. Or maybe he'll single in a way that allows Posey to move to third, or even double in a way that allows Posey to score.

The risk far, far, far outweighs the reward. It's not even close. I can understand when McGehee is up, who has a double play problem and makes better contact than Belt. The last couple hit-and-runs haven't worked with him, but, hey, that's just one of those things. Maybe the next six will work. The Belt/Posey combo is a bad, bad, bad combo, though. Please, no more hit-and-runs in that situation.

★★★

I guess Brandon Belt is awful now. That sure was a fun two weeks, though. Think of that half-full glass.

★★★

Here's something I wrote about Marlon Byrd coming to the Giants:

He had a dramatic jump in his strikeout rate, which is a huge red flag at his age.

And for the mothership:

If I had to pick the under on one player before this season started, it would have been Byrd. His strikeout rate has shot up over the last few years, from 16 percent in 2011, to 20 percent in 2012, to 25 percent in 2013, to 29 percent last year. He's currently hitting .169/.188/.273 and sporting an abominable strikeout-to-walk ratio of 25-to-1, and he's turning 38 in August. I don't buy a lot of April stats, but I've put a little money on layaway to buy these ones in the future.

Since that article: .306/.458/.806 with five home runs, not including tonight. The Giants should have been worried about the Marlon's death fog this whole time.

The moral of the story is that I'm bad at my job and have probably cursed us all.