This could have been a Ghost of Christmas Future game, the sort of game that foreshadows the horrors that await us. Tim Lincecum moved closer to the pitcher his statistics suggest he is. The Giants didn't string single after single together. There were runners left in scoring position. The two-out hits didn't come. This kind of game might come again tomorrow, and it might come every day for the next two weeks. We've seen the future, and it is filled with pain.
Or this could have been one of those games, an island of loss in an ocean of win. Even the '27 Yankees lost blah blah blah.
My only concern is that I hope you're not here for answers. Because, well, I have no idea. Hope it's the second one! Know that baseball is vindictive enough for the first one. The only thing I'm certain about is that game was a lousy way to spend a Saturday night.
Tim Lincecum started and didn't really know where the ball was going, which is an homage to the last three-plus seasons. The difference is that he didn't get away with it in this game, just like he didn't get away with it for much of the last three seasons. Maybe his first nine starts this year are more informative than the 90 that came before. Nervous cough.
There's no need to scrutinize Lincecum's start or wonder what was up with the Giants' lineup against Williams Perez, the computer-generated player of the week. All I know is the Giants collected some karma chips by struggling against Perez, and the next time Chris Heston makes another team look bad, that's just a dividend payout. Sinkers and flummoxing offspeed stuff and (other) killed the Giants on Saturday night. That's alright. It'll kill another team on another night.
Apparently it's time to complain about Jean Machi. We can oblige.
Machi came out of the mists in 2013, with a dreadful minor league track record and a new pitch. There was no reason to think he would succeed ... unless that new pitch really was magic. It was, and his tumbling, stumbling forkball was the reason he was one of the Giants' better relievers in 2013 and a contributor in the 2014 regular season. 119 innings, 2.49 ERA, 102 strikeouts. That's a welcome contributor, alright. He's been a fine member of the bullpen for two years.
Watch him pitch now, though. Forget the stats for a moment, just watch him pitch. The forkball is up, and it's up often. The fastball is okay, but it's never been a true standalone swing-and-miss pitch. It worked, but only when it was riding the coattails of the forkball. Man, that was a weird forkball.
Either the hitters of the league have figured the forkball out, or he's hanging an extra batch of them with each outing. Regardless, you see it. You see comfortable hitters, big swings, and pitches that don't go where they're supposed to go.
Now look at the stats. And, well, hey, shoot, okay, wow, nope, nope, nope. He's already walked as many batters as he did in the entire 2013 season. The strikeouts have disappeared. This is the pitcher Giants fans probably should have expected two years ago, except we all got a couple of solid-to-great years.
Could be a blip. Relievers are funny like that, and the sample sizes sure aren't helpful. The roster crunch is coming though, with Matt Cain looking sharp. Do you get rid of Hunter Strickland, who has struck out eight of the 19 batters he's faced and allowed one hit in 6⅓ innings? What about Ryan Vogelsong, who has been awesome in May, or Tim Lincecum, who pitches his home games in Tim Lincecum Park at AT&T ? Field.
Go down the roster. See who is likely to be jettisoned. You can see what's coming. This game was just another hint.
I'm not sure who the most interesting person in the world is. Maybe Kris Kristofferson. And I don't know who the best interviewer in the world is, but I'll go for the obvious and note that I do enjoy that Jon Stewart character. And if Jon Stewart sat next to Kris Kristofferson and talked to him in the middle of a Giants game, I would think, "Shut up and let me watch this Giants game." In-game interviews are almost never worth it, regardless of who is doing the interview or being interviewed.
That's not true for everyone. I'm a baseball nerd. You're probably a baseball nerd. These broadcasts aren't necessarily produced with irredeemable baseball nerds in mind, and it's not like they should be.
That written, Amy Gutierrez sat with Billie Jean King in the middle of Saturday's game and talked for almost a full inning, and it was worth it. It was an earnest, worthwhile interview with an actual legend, and that legend just happened to have serious Giants connections.
So happy to spend some time at today's @SFGiants game and see the Hall of Fame plaque honoring my brother Randy pic.twitter.com/dKqc1rnqi6— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) May 31, 2015
I'm still not a fan of in-game interviews, but Amy G with Billie Jean King was tremendous. Hopefully, there will be a video up soon.
The Giants gave three bobbleheads away on Saturday. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, or Yusmeiro Petit. They all have beards. The promo was named "Postseason Heroes", and by gum, all of them were that, alright. Which one do you choose?
If you choose Brandon Crawford, you've made the safe choice, the pragmatic choice. The all-world defender at short, who dazzled the world in two different postseasons, sure qualifies.
If you choose Brandon Belt, you've made the splashy choice, Belt had a big hit in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series (his only hit of the Series, actually), and a supremely necessary hit in the 2014 NLDS. Did you ever think about what happens if that game went 20 innings? What sort of messed up permutations there might have been?
If you choose Yusmerio Petit, you've made the ridiculous choice. Why is he pitching big innings for the Giants in the postseason, and pitching extraordinarily well? Because that's ridiculous.
There's no right answer.
(I choose Petit, for what it's worth. Loved him as a prospect. Forgot about him as a Triple-A option for the Giants. And lookie where we are. That's kind of the story of it all, right?)