The A's are now 10-24 in one-run games. They're underperforming their Pythagorean record by over 10 games, the difference between fourth place and fighting for first place. They're probably at least an okay team. Possibly even a very good one. The Giants sweeping them wasn't just a matter of showing up.
That was the introductory paragraph in my head before the A's had a runner thrown out trying to steal third, with one out in a one-run game and the back runner not realizing what was going on. The worst-case scenario in that situation should have been a runner in scoring position, two outs. That was apparently not the worst-case scenario. As such, I have amended my introductory paragraph to "C'mon, A's, I'm trying to eat, here."
C'mon, A's. I'm trying to eat here.
The Giants swept the A's over the weekend, moving to within a single game of the Dodgers in the NL West. There are better possible sentences. "The Giants swept the Dodgers over the weekend, moving 48 games up in the NL West, as Tommy Lasorda wore a pair of briefs filled with earwigs for charity," would be one, for example. There aren't a lot of better possible sentences, though. The Giants are in one of those stretches where they're seeming to catch the teams playing their worst, and it's glorious.
Miscommunication came with when Smolinski was supposed to go.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 26, 2015
Okay. That still doesn't answer the question about risk vs. reward when it comes to stealing third off Posey with anyone other than Billy Hamilton, but it at least explains why Lawrie stayed put. Still, this is what's happening with the Giants right now. They're a political candidate saying the right things, but also facing off against someone questioning the moon landing on live TV. Santiago Casilla was erratic again, walking the leadoff hitter after getting to a two-strike count. They left runners all over the bases in the early innings, allowing the A's to come back. Their starting pitcher probably shouldn't be a starting pitcher.
And yet the Giants won. As they do. Apparently. The odd-year twist is coming, surely. I just watched It Follows last night, and that's pretty much what Giants fans should feel like. But if we're being set up for a bigger fall, well, enjoy the heck out of the setup. Everyone always complains about the valuable painting that the art thieves steal after the long con, but no one talks about the starry nights in Monaco that lead up to the theft.
For the eighth time this year, the Giants have swept a series. Does that seem like a lot? Does to me. They had just six sweeps last year, and that team was pretty okay, after all. Enjoy the streakiest team in the world, and don't forget to purchase a streakiest-team-in-the-world shirt in the gift shop.
You could look at Tim Hudson's start in one of two ways.
You could look at it as proof that the Giants need another starter. They aren't getting Johnny Cueto, and you know they're going to get someone completely boring, like Tom Koehler or something. But if you were on the fence about their deadline strategy, look at how easy and obvious it would be to magically presto-chango their worst starter into a 1(a)-ace to pair with Madison Bumgarner. I don't know what the Giants would do with Hudson in that scenario, and I don't really want to know. It makes me sad. But then I think about the new rotation, and the sadness goes away right quick.
However, you could look at Hudson's start as proof that the Giants don't need another starter. They won, after all, right? Hudson was shaky -- he allowed more fly balls than grounders, which, no -- but the bullpen was still capable and willing, and the Giants won their 11th game of their last 12. Why would you trade Andrew Susac or Tyler Beede for that? Would there be extra style points if the Giants had won 4-2 on Sunday?
Maybe not extra style points. But the bullpen would be a little more rested, which is important in September and (especially) October. I'm still riding shotgun on the All-In wagon, but at the same time, there's a nagging thought in the back of my head about how useful another starting pitcher would really be. There would be an improvement every five days, but how much? How often would it be necessary? Would it really give the Giants an extra win or two over the next eight weeks?
MY OFFER IS THIS: EVERYTHING. WHAT COULD GO WRONG? PLEASE TAKE OUR EVERYTHING AND DON'T LOOK BACK.
Scientist: We've done it, sir. A fully functioning time machine. It's accurate, it's reliable, and it's humanity's greatest accomplishment to date.
President Barack Obama: Good, good. Now I'm going to go back in time and slap people who didn't believe that Matt Duffy could take over for Pablo Sandoval at third base.
Advisor: That hardly seems like the best use of
Obama: Everyone gets some. Sabean. Bochy. That pasty blogger with the dumb jokes. I'll just go right down the line.
Joe Biden: This all makes complete sense.
December, 2014: Well, Casey McGehee isn't very good, but what are the Giants going to do, start Matt Duffy?
July, 2015: Matt Duffy is one of the best third basemen in the National League and one of the leaders for National League Rookie of the Year and he's hitting third for one of the best lineups in baseball, but all that is totally normal.
We're used to it, right? Just another game where Matt Duffy, hitting in the lineup spot traditionally reserved for the best hitter on the team, wins it for the Giants. Let it serve as another reminder to roll next year's preseason predictions, smoke them, and fly to the moon.
Pretty sure that out of all the players on the 2015 roster, I've mentioned George Kontos the least. That doesn't line up with his contributions, so it's time to correct that. Kontos is ...
- Probably not as good as his ERA
- Due for a little regression
- Freaking me out with his low strikeout rate
- Possibly the most valuable reliever on the Giants this year
I keep waiting for that regression. I keep watching games won with the help of Kontos. As always, they don't give you special hats and memorabilia to wear when you're right, so I'll continue having a blast watching Kontos strand every last runner as if it's the special attribute we selected him to have in the RPG of life.
On April 24, Buster Posey went 0-for-4 against the Rockies in Coors, and the Giants lost. His average dropped to .234. His on-base percentage was .315. He hadn't hit a double all year.
Since then: .351 average, with 12 homers, an OBP over .400, and more walks than strikeouts. Oh, and two stolen bases.
Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are busy destroying Tokyo in their battle for the MVP, and that's fine. I'm just glad Buster Posey exists and isn't on another team, always and forever.