You offered this game up as a sacrifice. You, the person reading this, offered this game up. It was October 14, 2014, A.J. Pierzynski came up against Santiago Casilla in the ninth inning of a tie game in the National League Championship Series, and time stopped.
The smell of sulphur stung your nostrils. Smoke billowed from the hallway. Someone with glowing eyes appeared, and he showed you the future. Pierzynski was going to hit a homer to win the game, and this would propel the Cardinals to a series win. You wept. You fell to the floor and wept.
"Is there no justice?", you screamed. "Is this our fate?"
The man with glowing eyes smirked and offered you a proposition. If you would sacrifice a game to Pierzynski the following season, and if that game became the worst loss of the regular season, he would consider sparing the Giants in that game. You grabbed him by his black robes and begged, desperate. You accepted. He laughed.
Pierzynski missed his pitch on that day.
The man granted your wish, threw his head back, and laughed and laughed and laughed.
"One day," he gurgled. "you will pay dearly for your shortsightedness. You just doomed yourself to a really bad regular season loss."
Then he saw you whistling around the house the next day and realized that he didn't ask for nearly enough in exchange. He knew he just gave up the Francisco Liriano/Joe Nathan of dark baseball deals.
He was fired by the baseball gods two weeks later.
He works at a Dairy Queen now.
The Dairy Queen also smells like sulfur.
You made a good choice. You do not remember this choice, but we are all richer for your sacrifice. Monday's game wasn't the worst game of the season, then. It wasn't just a game in which the Giants BLEW A 6-0 LEAD with A.J. PIERZYNSKI GETTING THE GAME-TYING HOMER WITH TWO OUTS IN THE NINTH and THE GIANTS BLOWING ANOTHER SAVE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE FREAKING 12TH INNING, no. It seems like it was just the worst game of the year, but it was just part of the dark even-year covenant.
Thank you for your reasonable decision.
Now let us never speak about this game again.
Okay, maybe a little bit more. The last time the Giants lost a game in which they hit four homers or more was in 2010. The last time they did it somewhere other than Coors Field? 2008. They've done it only 38 times in San Francisco history, now. This was a special loss, a very special loss. The Giants hadn't lost a game in which they scored eight runs all season.
Did you catch the part where A.J. Pierzynski hit the game-tying homer with two outs? I don't want to speak for everyone here, ha ha, but it sure made me feel worse.
The Giants hit dingers, they got clutch two-out hits, and they took advantage and added on to the lead. They just couldn't pitch. Matt Cain was discouraging, completely discouraging. With Mike Leake in the rotation, it's not like the Giants are counting on Cain to make postseason starts. But they're most certainly counting on him helping the Giants get to the postseason. So far, that's not looking like a gamble you're excited to watch.
With Cain wild within the strike zone yet again, especially in the sixth inning, the Braves got to climb back into the game. And with Hunter Strickland allowing his first home run in the majors*, the Braves got even closer. With two outs and the win a grounder away, Casilla threw a pitch where Pierzynski wanted it.
Not a bad pitch. Only it makes you realize that batters can take good Casilla pitches and do more with them than they could against, say, Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman. It's why your stomach does those flips when he comes into the game, even if he's been an excellent Giants reliever, one of the best ever, really.
Apparently, the Braves and Reds were asking for talking robot dolphins and small islands in exchange for Kimbrel and Chapman, and no one in baseball could meet the price, so don't take this as grumbling that the Giants didn't make a deal. Just a reminder that they were looking for relievers, including the best and most expensive of the best and expensive. This is why.
* regular season, though I can't think of any in the postseason off the top of my head, nope, nosiree
Kelby Tomlinson looks like I used to when I played baseball. Here I am, far right, middle row.
That's basically Kelby Tomlinson. I always wanted the Giants to have a dude who looked like me.
I mean, okay, a second guy who looked like me. Tomlinson can scream up the favorite player charts pretty quickly, if only because he looks like a feller who knows what a chocobo is. He got his first hit and scored his first run on Monday night.
If only we could appreciate it more.
This is Pierzynski's fault. As it usually is. Just keep telling yourself that it could have been last October. It makes me feel better, at least.