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Giants continue slide into irrelevance, lose to A's, clinch playoff spot for Cubs

The Giants are dead, but they don't want you to miss their corpse being dragged through the public square.

Mike Leake continues to unimpress his way into a 5-year/$80 million (with 1 option year) contract from the Giants.
Mike Leake continues to unimpress his way into a 5-year/$80 million (with 1 option year) contract from the Giants.
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants keep dying. But unlike the pleasurable "little deaths" found in human reproduction, these are deaths in all manner of baseballing: dead in the wild card, dead at the top of the depth chart, dead in the rotation, dead in the bullpen.

Last night, it was Sergio Romo's turn to "die". Tonight, It was Jeremy Affeldt's. Rest in peace, Jeremy Affeldt. You were great in the two September innings you had pitched previously. But not so tonight. Of course, the ocean of blame does not wash solely upon your shores.

* * *

Billy Butler and Billy Burns were the first two Billys to hit home runs off of Mike Leake for his Major League career. And since it's unlikely he will re-sign with the Reds in the offseason, there exists a non-zero chance that he could give up a home run to Billy Hamilton, which would mean surrendering a home run to all active Billys. And that is the most interesting part of Mike Leake's time with the Giants.

Sure, Mike Leake can get out some people quickly but in between he gives up a lot of hard contact and home runs. He's been like a shorter, thinner second-half Chris Heston. As in, maybe he'll be useful next year, but it's far from a guarantee.

He gives up home runs in hitters' parks and pitchers' parks. Maybe his quick pace has worked against him with the Giants. Failure to gain any sort of rhythm with the revolving backstops could be the culprit. Maybe he's just getting the ball and throwing up easily crushed pitches because there's a lack of faith in the backstop or there's general anxiety about the game plan due to that lack of a rapport. I'm sure the Giants are confident he can be better than Matt Cain next season.

When I think of failed starting pitcher trades, though, for some reason, the Sidney Ponson deal comes to mind. But he was good with the Giants (even though -- eep -- 34 K in 68 innings) following the trade. There's a very strong possibility he's the worst midseason trade for the Giants in the AT&T Park era after Ricky Ledee. Oh well.

When the Giants bring him back next season, he'll join Peavy at the back of the rotation. That means the Giants will still need 3-4 starting pitchers. Maybe 5 or 6 just to be safe. The team's second half disintegration is not squarely on Leake, of course. He's just been a disappointment considering how high the Giants are on him.

* * *

But the Giants can still score 4 runs a game. And even though they are 1-14 in their last 15 one-run games, they usually (as they certainly did tonight) have their chances to punch through and take the lead. And that's with a lineup made out of True Detective: Season 2 and "Hope, Cash, and Jobs" jokes.

Jarrett Parker hit a 474-foot blast to the base of Mt. Davis, which is like throwing your frisbee onto your neighbor's roof if your neighbor lived in Castle Grayskull. It was a beautiful site to -- nah, I suck at descriptions. Here: click this link.

Mac Williamson's first two major league plate appearances ended in strikeouts against Craig Kimbrel and Sonny Gray. His next two plate appearances were ropes off the bat. His stance might remind me a bit of Nate Schierholtz, but until he swings at a pitch that hits him on two non-consecutive occasions, then I will think of him simply as Mac Williamson, promising Giant.

And then there's Matt Duffy. He, too, launched a DEEP ball to left centerfield. He didn't hit Parker's spot but his home run put the Giants out in front 2-0. If you're like me, you knew the Giants would not hold onto that lead. BUT STILL, Duffy just keeps on doing it. Making us all forget, mostly, Casey McGehee. There will be plenty of time to talk about Matt Duffy's 2015 season during the 2015 postseason and the 2015 offseason, as the Giants will not be participating in any of those things.

Brandon Crawford hit a booming double with Buster Posey on base. If it had been Matt Duffy on, that's a run instead. If Buster Posey... eh. The Giants had a lot of opportunities tonight (as they did throughout the series in San Diego) and they got 4 runs, which is not nothing, but as has been the case for about 50 games, simply not enough.

What's incredible and will likely be forgotten 5 years from now when 2015 is referred to as "the year the window closed once and for all" is that the Giants never gave up. I mean, the real Giants: the hitters. The pitchers gave up or were simply beaten into submission by half a dozen better lineups or Joe West, but the hitters, even players who were viewed by outsiders as probably just "org filler", just kept coming. They didn't give in pitch to pitch or at bat to at bat.

It'll be disappointing when all that's forgotten as it has been intriguing to watch in real time. The Giants don't make it easy to ignore them entirely on a given night. Sure, they make it extraordinarily easy for you to turn away from them in disgust, but they always bait the hook with just enough to make you think, "Maaaaaaaybe this won't be a waste of time?" But, of course, since August 1st, it has been a complete waste of time.

And then at this late hour I stop and think -- Matt Duffy? Kelby Tomlinson? Jarrett Parker? Brandon Crawford? *Maybe* it's possible there's some sort of sorcery at work. Maybe the uniforms are enchanted? Whosoever weareth the orange and black shall possess to the limits of his mortal form the power of Bonds.

* * *

Yes, the Giants have been a complete waste of time for nearly two months now and they are dead. RIP Giants. BUT, if ever there was a time to sit shiva or (if you prefer) attend the wake, it's tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Hudson vs. Zito. That's all the Giants have left now. Tomorrow's the last gasp of nostalgia. It's the day we can honor Moneyball once last time. Honor #RallyZito one last time. It's a chance for both organizations to close the book on 15 years of genuine success and intrigue.

Given that the only thing separating the Giants from total elimination is math, it's a foregone conclusion that Hudson vs. Zito is the last exciting thing that will happen for the Giants this season, too. The A's will still have a chance to fall asleep each night in the offseason exhausted from the pleasure of the memory of when they knocked the Giants out of the playoffs. If the Giants somehow manage to fall *up* the stairs or crap *out* of the bed the next two games, then they'll have set themselves up for the worst possible outcome: the Dodgers clinching at AT&T Park.

That game will feature a Splash Hit off the bat of Clayton Kershaw. Kevin Elster will be referenced. Tommy Lasorda will be seated behind home plate for some reason so we have to look at him the entire game. Alex Guerrero will leg out an infield hit. Willie Mays will be confused, pantless, wandering the arcade in a Yasiel Puig jersey moaning, "I miss Yasi. Where's my Yasi?" Don Mattingly will get Bruce Bochy back for the double mound visit *and then* reveal that Buster Posey is really three toddlers (all Dodgers fans) standing on shoulders. It will be the worst thing you could imagine and beyond.

So, while it makes little sense to *want* the Giants to lose, the Giants should absolutely tank the rest of the weekend. Then again, they've been losing pretty easily just by trying, so maybe *not* trying will cause them to win.

Anyway, whatever. RIP Giants.