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Giants lose 4-2, snap winning streak

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At least there was a winning streak to snap, but that didn't mean the game was any fun.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

You'll tell your grandchildren where you were when the Curse of Jean Machi began. It'll be cute to them. One of the snottier ones will have an ironic Curse of Jean Machi t-shirt. Write that one out of the will and tell the story to the other ones.

It all started ... on a warm July night.

Also, you have grandchildren right now because you fell asleep during that Giants/Padres game and didn't wake up. Unless you already had grandchildren when that game started, in which case you're dead. I'm sure the service was lovely, but that's just a guess. Maybe everyone forgot about you, I don't know.

Sorry! Petco games make me weird, and this is just the first one of the series. There's five more left in the season, and they're all going to make me morbid.

Ian Kennedy has that effect, alright. Six innings and two runs allowed is one of his worst career outings against the Giants. It's at least a 40th-percentile start for him against the Giants, which is obnoxious. It would be one thing if he were Matt Harvey or something, flashing 95-mph fastballs and vanishing changeups. But he's so very boring. His career ERA? 4.00. His career ERA+? 97. He's a comic book actuary made of kryptonite, and he talks about stochastic process for 48 pages while Superman curls up into a ball and weeps. Effective against the Giants for whatever reason. But boorrrring. Say it in your best teenager voice.

After a nifty winning streak and a series sweep against a divisional rival, it feels needy and unfair to start grumbling about the things that didn't go the Giants' way. They're 3-1 over the last week and looked good against the Diamondbacks. So take a moment to think about the good things. Let the good things clear your mind before the bad things are address.

Brandon Crawford can sure play some defense.

Yes! Exactly, that's the spirit. He made several great plays today, sucking up all the high choppers, low choppers, dribblers, and bounders. He also made Matt Kemp look silly, which is an Xbox achievement always worth getting. The game wouldn't have been that close if Crawford didn't play so well.

Ryan Vogelsong looks like he might adjust to the bullpen well.

Sure! That's optimistic, but I can dig it. He struck out Melvin Upton on a 93-mph fastball, after all. While Vogelsong has touched that sort of velocity in the past during starts, it seems more realistic for him to maintain it during shorter bursts.

Not sure why he's out of the rotation, really.

Easy.

Tim Hudson looks worn down, and he has for a year.

Eaaaaasy. Remember the winning streak and the general good play of late.

Gregor Blanco has turned into quite the asset.

Yes! Where would the Giants be without him? Exactly.

Too bad he's going to be on the bench when Norichika Aoki comes back, with Angel Pagan roaming center field like Marvin Benard with an eyepatch.

Okay, I tried. This segment is over.

★★★

Ryan Vogelsong is probably a better starting pitcher than Tim Hudson is right now. It's debatable, certainly, but Vogelsong has shown sustained bursts of adequacy since his horrid start this season. He was brilliant in May, which was a small sample, sure, but more encouraging than anything Hudson's done lately. If I were managing a 163rd game to get my team into the postseason, and I can choose from only Vogelsong or Hudson, I'll choose the former right now.

The problem is that Vogelsong might -- might -- have a future in the bullpen. We haven't seen him as a max-effort pitcher for an inning at a time, and he could take to the role. He looked fine on Monday night, after all. LaTroy Hawkins is still pitching, and his stuff isn't markedly different from Vogelsong's. It's a little bit of a stretch, sure, but it's plausible enough to keep tabs on his progress.

Now picture Hudson coming in for the sixth inning of a tie game. What's he going to do, use the adrenaline and max-efforting to throw through his sinker? He either starts or he's useless, and I'm not sure if even he'd argue with that.

This current roster permutation, then, gets the Giants a little closer to the trade deadline and confirms what they've suspected for a while: They almost certainly need another starting pitcher. If Vogelsong was doing his good-start/bad-start routine, the situation would be a little more muddled. In this silver-lining world, the lousy Hudson start -- the rough calendar year, really -- helps the GIants because it will spur them to action. And there's the side benefit of Vogelsong getting regular work out of the bullpen, just in case he takes to the role.

Sure, I believe every word of that. Yep.

Hudson's slider looked stellar at times, but his sinker never did. The command was off, as it's been far too often over the last year. There's nothing more to note, other than he'll get at least one more start before the deadline.

Maybe it's not fair to judge Hudson's first start back too harshly, but it's getting harder and harder to dig up any positive indicators. He's 40 and just went on the DL with old-manitis (as Mike Krukow described it during the broadcast). You've watched a lot of baseball movies with this plot. Very few of them have happy endings.

One of them might have Mike Leake showing up in the credits.

This is going to be a long couple of weeks.