When the Giants fell off the cliff, when their VW Bus rolled and rolled and rolled down the ravine as the violins got angry, there was a sense that they would be fine if they could just win all of the games and the Dodgers would just lose all of the games. It's simple math. Even now, the Dodgers are 8½ games up, but if they lose their next nine and the Giants win their next nine, it's a whole new season, right? Right?
Except. That's the word I need to remember for the next season like this. Except it's really hard to win nine straight, or seven out of eight, or 11 out of 15. Except it's almost impossible for a good team to lose nine straight or any of those other permutations.
Except Rubby De La Rosa will occasionally allow one hit and beat Madison Bumgarner. De La Rosa wasn't fine with his command, and he loaded the bases with walks and a hit batsman at one point, but he was stellar. Nice slider. Strong velocity. That's why it's hard to gain impossible amounts of ground in a week or two.
Except instead of a hitter drawing a walk on a 3-2 count, that hitter drives a ball as hard as he can, only to have some goofball jump over the wall and make a brilliant play to bring it back.
Except instead of Brandon Belt coming up as the tying run in a close game, it's Nick Noonan -- don't worry, the temp agency said he won't steal anything -- waving at three straight pitches. That's because Belt left the game with a concussion scare, possibly related to a freaky play from earlier in the week. This would be the 47th different concussion scare of the season, suffered on the 68th different freaky play. Hey, all teams have injuries, right? Just gotta suck it up, really.
Except the fifth outfielder who was acquired for no apparent reason can occasionally make a screwy play that leads to the only two runs of the game. It didn't happen in a nine-run game, or the first inning of a blowout. It happened in a scoreless game that would still be going on for the next six hours if he didn't screw it up. Maybe we owe Alejandro De Aza an edible fruit basket or something.
Except it's hard to come back from three games down with 15 to play, much less a billion down with 15 to play, or whatever the Giants are. It's over. And if it isn't, I would get to use the ha-ha-ha-could-you-blame-me? card for being wrong. Accept it, move on, and come back in a couple weeks to Seaver Stories or Kranepool Kronicles.
This is why it's hard to play the game where you assume that a team can go 14-1 over their last 15, or whatever, where the other team goes 1-14. There's always an except every couple games, even for the very, very best teams. Baseball invented the well, actually and we all have to pretend like it's not a gigantic butt for doing so.
* * *
Remember all the pitcher dingers, though? This season hasn't been so bad. I mean, pitcher dingers.
* * *
Madison Bumgarner pitched well, but perhaps not as well as you're used to. It was an imperfect start, but he stuck with it and gave his bullpen a rest. It was a B start, at best. 84 out of 100. Study harder next time.
Here's how many eight-inning/one-earned starts the Giants got from their entire staff in 2007: six. As in, there were six outings this good for the entire season. It's worth keeping that in mind when you're pooh-poohing a good-not-great Bumgarner start. Which you would never do because you aren't a ghoul. It's so easy to take a start like this for granted because the Giants were boner thumbs at the plate. It was a might fine start, really. Except sometimes mighty fine isn't g...
* * *
Bruce Bochy made Madison Bumgarner intentionally walk Paul Goldschmidt. He wanted Goldschmidt to know it wa... https://t.co/APMqjwZsx9— LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) September 19, 2015
Best part of the night. I would pay $1,000 for Paul Goldschmidt and Clayton Kershaw to come out against vaccines or something. As is, they're kind of charming. In that dammit-I-want-to-see-them-very-sad kind of way.
I hate this season a lot less than I hated 2011 or 2013. But I still hate this season, even as I love so many parts of it.