Before the game, Casey McGehee accepted his award for the Comeback Player of the Year. He had to stand in front of a crowd he hadn't won over yet, and hold up a glass something-or-rather. No one watching could really appreciate the glass something-or-rather because they didn't see anything McGehee did last year. He just had to sit there and smile. The fans were polite.
In the first inning, McGehee fell over. In theory, he was diving for a ball. In practice, he fell over. It wasn't anything that should define how he plays baseball -- the ball was pummeled, and he probably got caught between a dive and the realization a dive would be hopeless -- but it still looked exceptionally awkward. Looked like a dude falling over, mostly.
In the second inning, with the bases loaded and no one out, Brandon Crawford came up. He could have grounded into a double play. He could have singled. He could have doubled, tripled, or homered. He could have hit a sac fly. The pitcher could have made an error. There could have been catcher's interference. There could have been any number of permutations that wouldn't have put McGehee in a spot where everyone in the stands was thinking, "Please don't do that thing you keep doing."
Here's a line from a poem:
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
How nervous would you have been? I would have swallowed my fingers trying to adjust my helmet. But that's why you and I aren't in the majors, other than a complete lack of physical ability. Major leaguers had to fight their nerves in high school, in pre-draft showcases, in every level of the minors, when they slumped as rookies. The ones who can't handle it never get that far.
He was still pretty freaking nervous, I would guess, at least on a professional-baseball-player scale. Slumps are David Schwimmer in Band of Brothers. You think you're going on that run when you're all stretched out and rested? You will go when it is potentially harmful and least convenient. Slumps will find players at their most vulnerable. Brandon Belt doesn't come up with the bases loaded and the Giants up by 10 when he's slumping. He comes up with the Giants down by a run and needing nothing but a sac fly.
And here was McGehee in a spot where a double play would have ruined what was once a bases loaded, no-out situation.
Get busy livin' or get busy groundin'. At this point, let's remember that Jarred Cosart was a teammate of McGehee last year, so he knows that he was a double play from getting out of the inning. What's the game plan, Jarred?
HARD STUFF UP, SKIP. MAKE SURE HE GETS THAT BALL IN THE AIR.
The crowd loved it. Oh, there's nothing the crowd loves more than a slumping player getting on its good side. McGehee was back. He was contributing. He hit the snot out of the ball, and then he hit the snot out of the ball in his next at-bat. He was emerging from suspended animation before our eyes! Welcome back, old new friend.
Then McGehee hit into two double plays.
The second one was scalded! You can giggle about it after a game like that. Take the opportunity to giggle about it. When he hits into a grand slam in the same game, it's more like the quirk of a wacky next-door neighbor in a sitcom. That's our McGehee!
Tim Lincecum's ERA is 2.00.
I'm about a year removed from any desire to analyze Lincecum. I want only two things from him.
- To watch him succeed
- To not watch him fail
In that order. Those aren't the same thing, either. If Lincecum's career enters STAGE THREE and he's unambiguously awesome again, that would be better than Ryan Vogelsong's rebirth. That would be better than Travis Ishikawa being the one to win the pennant. That would be better than almost any scenario you could concoct, other than Buster Posey winning the MVP and World Series the year after his injury.
I could point out that Barry Zito had a 2.21 ERA after six starts in 2012, and it didn't change his inherent Barry Zitoness. I could point out that before striking out Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches in the most stressful at-bat of Lincecum's season, he walked Martin Prado on a bunch of pitches that weren't very close.
Instead, I will just passive-aggressively point it out in that previous paragraph, then move right to the goofy-ass changeup that struck Stanton out.
It was a superlative change. There were several pretty curveballs mixed in throughout the game, too. A couple of 90-mph fastballs. Christian Yelich is still somewhere dark and cold, wondering what just happened to his first game back from the DL. The fans sure loved it. I loved it. I love you! I love Tim Lincecum. I don't want this game to end! Hold me until the sun comes up and paint me like one of your French-born managers.
Belt hit .350 in the minors. Not in Class-A. His entire minor league career. When he's slumping, I like to look at those numbers. Not to convince myself that he's good, but just to get high. They will find that batting average in your urine a month later.
And then you see a stretch like this, where Belt hits everything everything everything hard, you get it. Opposite field, pulled down the line, doesn't matter. He can't stop having phenomenal at-bats.
The next step is hitting the ball THREE FEET HIGHER INSTEAD OF THE VERY TOP OF THE FENCE, but there's time to work on that.
Yusmeiro Petit got the save. He was trusted with a lead for just the fourth time in 38 relief appearances with the Giants (with two ties mixed in), and he got the save.
Feels like we should make some sort of shirt to honor this save. We can all wear it to the ballpark and do secret handshakes when we see each other. I love this save. I love this team. I love you!