There's an alanistic irony to Friday afternoon's game against the Cubs. The Giants have trouble preventing runs. They knew they were going to have problems preventing runs. So they went after Jon Lester, mega-star pitcher. They offered him many, many millions. They sent Buster Posey, pure of heart, to convince him that San Francisco was right for him. He refused their offer.
Fine, said the Giants. We'll figure something out. So they went through their contacts in their phone, and they found the numbers of Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong number. They called Vogelsong up, and apparently the Astros were asking him to wear an Orbit mask and nothing else for the initiation ritual, idk, and it turns out that he was available.
Then Vogelsong wasn't very good. I mean, he was okay, but the team could clearly use an upgrade. They moved him out of the rotation, back into the rotation, then out of the rotation. Everyone around him was hurt or ineffective, and he kept finding his way back into the rotation. So the Giants said, fine, we'll give up a prospect -- one of our best -- to make sure that we have a solid #2 or #3 starter.
Then that solid #2 or #3 starter got hurt. An odd year done bit him on the neck. And on Friday afternoon, the Giants were starting Ryan Vogelsong against Jon Lester. It was the scenario they had tried to prevent twice already, once with money and once with a trade. The universe was forever bending toward this moment, apparently, and nothing the Giants did could stop it. Maybe John Connor's parents turned off today's game and made a baby. Don't be too judgmental about this game. It could have saved humanity.
To be fair, Vogelsong wasn't that bad. He was, possibly, that good. He was solid until the fifth inning, when he allowed two hits, and that was his day. He was supposed to keep the Giants in the game, and for the most part, he did.
That doesn't mean that it's not a little weird that the guy who should have been on the Giants was scheduled to pitch against the guy the Giants traded for because the guy who should have been on the Giants wasn't on the Giants, but that guy was hurt, which meant they had to start the guy who was on the Giants because the Giants didn't sign the guy who should have been on the Giants.
What a dumb game.
Oh, now this is unfair. Two nights ago, Kelbymania was making our nation's daughters run amok, and now we're supposed to assess him critically? Ugh, fine.
I'm not sure if Joe Panik gets to those two grounders that Kelby Tomlinson dived for, got a glove on, but couldn't come up with. Some players have the kind of range that makes them look clumsy, where they're touching balls that other fielders couldn't reach. If the Giants had a good defensive centerfielder, there would be all kinds of balls that he would just nick with his glove. That doesn't mean he wouldn't be a desirable defensive centerfielder. Maybe Panik doesn't even get a glove on the ball. I'd have to look at slow-motion film with a stopwatch and, sorry, but I get exactly one afternoon Friday game a year. On your own, suckers.
That written, I'm ready for Joe Panik to come back, just to be sure.
Look, a lot of psychic power went into that blue dot, and if you'll just believe in it for a little bit, well, it can't hurt, and Joe Panik's back seems really important, so just think good thoughts.
One of the things I constantly struggle with after a game like that is to blame everything on poor luck, especially when it comes to hard-hit balls that are turned into outs. Am I paying attention to the other team's luck the same way? Am I attuned to the times the Giants hit dribblers up the middle, like Hunter Pence's RBI single? I'd like to think of myself as a fair, decent man, but I'm also limited and stupid. So I don't perseverate on it too long. At least, I try not to.
The way around assigning blame to the baseball gods, then, is just analyzing the hitters as a group. Were you displeased with the way the Giants approached their at-bats? Were there any egregious breaches of hitter decorum, with someone taking a wild 2-0 hack at a slider three feet off the plate? There were not. There were, mostly, good at-bats. Balls were hit hard, all over the field. Just not where the Giants wanted them.
That's fine. That's baseball. The difference between an 85-win team and a 95-win team, though, is having a pitching staff in place that can keep the other team off the board in those games. If the Giants were having one of those BABIPLOL games, it wouldn't sting so bad if on the other side, Jimmy Flamebrings is tossing a nice game of his own. They have a chance 20 percent of the time, when Madison Bumgarner pitches, but it's dicier after that.
The only way to feel better is by remembering that between the 2009 team and this team, everything kind of work out, so there's no way to shake your fist at the universe. There have been a lot of teams that have been all hitting over here and all pitching over there, so we can't complain.
Unless it's passive-aggressively. Like that passage up there. Glad I could clarify that.
The Giants got hosed on two different replay calls on Friday ... unless they didn't.
At the risk of being that guy, I'm going to have to appeal to authority every time the replay crew in New York is working. I'll assume they have an angle that we don't, and that they're not shaking a magic 8-ball. It looked like Addison Russell was maybe/kinda/sorta/not really off the bag on that double play, and it sure looked like Tomlinson was safe on a fielder's choice just an inning later. But after a couple decades of wishing replay existed, I'm not going to pretend that I'm a better judge, eight feet away from my 10-year-old TV, than someone with a headset and a monitor RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE, who is literally paid to do exactly that.
I'm not Carlos Gomez, in other words. The replays will, almost always, not be questioned on this here site. Unless they really, really screw the Giants.
Glad I could clarify that.