Before moving on to the game, a dull affair in which the Giants lost 2-0, take the time to punch yourself in the face with the Norichika Aoki news.
#SFGiants OF Nori Aoki left today's game after feeling light headed.— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 12, 2015
He originally passed the concussion tests, but concussions are bedbugs of the brain, always lurking behind an outlet, even after you're given the all-clear. There's always a fear that they'll come back, if not now, then in six months or six years from now. It's possible to read too much into Aoki's lightheadedness, sure, but only because for decades we didn't read enough into concussions, so we're way more vigilant and nervous about the brain than we used to be.
That's for good reason, of course. It's possible that Aoki will miss a day or seven with "concussion-like symptoms" or "lightheadedness," but the more literal terminology would be far more terrifying than that. Aoki is going to miss some time with brain trauma, violent brain trauma, that may or may not affect the rest of his day, season, or life. We don't know! But he definitely has brain trauma.
Everyone says they're waiting for the robot umpires, but I'm waiting for the robots with lasers that shoot baseballs out of the air when they're heading for a player's head. This stuff is the worst. Get better, Norichika.
The Astros hit two home runs. The Giants did not.
There you have it. And that's the sort of thing that makes me hate writing about every single game as if I have something to say. Did you see the pitch that Hunter Pence missed in the first inning?
That was the worst pitch of the day, an 88-mph floater in the middle of the strike zone, behind in the count.
So, who do you blame? Hunter Pence for missing it? No, that's not how it works. Even in the Home Run Derby, with favored coaches and relatives lobbing baseballs from behind a screen, hitters can't hit a home run every time.
Do you blame the Giants for failing to score after that? Sure, but if Pence's bat is a millimeter higher, the game might still be going on, and we wouldn't give a rip about the other Giants in the lineup. Especially after Hector Sanchez's walk-off inside-the-parker in the 21st.
Do you discredit the Astros somehow? That's ludicrous. They hit two dingers and the Giants didn't.
What about discrediting Scott Feldman, specifically? Nah, he was throwing the kitchen sinker, curve, and change for first-pitch strikes, and he was unpredictable enough to mess the Giants up and get them behind in the count. The Giants had runners in scoring position, five of them, but the pitcher was up for two of those, and the hits and walks weren't ordered properly for the rest of the game.
That's in, then. Tip your damned cap, I guess. The Astros hit two dingers and the Giants didn't. Watch that Hunter Pence GIF again and realize that they would never see a pitch that hittable, never have a chance that good, again. The Astros' fifth starter dominated for a spell before giving way to a mostly unhittable bullpen. The Giants hit some balls hard, hit even more softly, and August continues.
Well, it doesn't continue. It "lurches" or "staggers." Possibly "defenestrates."
Every time I see Oliver Perez come into a game as a late-inning reliever, it makes me wistful for the dream of Jonathan Sanchez coming back one of these years to do the same thing. Their careers aren't entirely dissimilar, right down to the control problems. Then one year Perez was back, poof, and giving the Mariners surprise bullpen help.
Am I the only one who still thinks about Jonathan Sanchez? I wonder if he thinks about me, too.
A game like that gives one a lot of time to think.
Not freaking out over Chris Heston's command issues yet. He was effectively wild for most of the day, and considering his sinker is isn't that old, it's not unusual that he would still be trying to teach it to sit, stay, and heel.
The difference between this loss and some of the other ones this year: When the Giants get good pitching and sour hitting, you can shake it off. Those games are the anomalies, the freaks. This lineup is competent, even with the injuries they're dealing with.
When the Giants score a few runs and lose because the pitching implodes, well, that's the flaw of the team. That's built right into the blueprints. And those losses are miserable. Give me the 2-0, tip-yer-cap games every time.
If you weren't looking at the cavalry of Justin Maxwell and Ehire Adrianza, though, and wondering if there were some other way to do things, you were probably on your phone. You spend too much time on that thing. The bench is ghastly, and it's noticeable even when the Giants don't have the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth.
So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to stare at Tweetdeck and wait for the Chase Utley trade to be announced. I don't think it's going to save the Giants, but it's something to read on the flight into the abyss, at least.