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Giants take series, win 5-4

Wait, a one-run win? That means they get a bye into the postseason, right?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

In one sense, it stinks that the Dodgers have a great chance to clinch the NL West at AT&T Park. Yasiel Puig is gonna climb the foul pole and dive into the Bay. Then he's going to pee in the Bay. Giants fans who bought tickets in March, anticipating a divisional showdown, will regret not taking the $100 bills and smoking them instead.

In another sense, it's kind of cool that there's something to play for in the Dodgers series -- it's suddenly a four-game series to prevent Dodgers players from peeing in the Bay. And if the Giants swept that series, well, say, you never know what could happ

In a very real sense, it's going to suck watching the Dodgers clinch at AT&T Park.

However, I would rather watch the Giants win a series against the A's and deal with that, rather than watch the Giants stink all weekend and have the Dodgers celebrate somewhere else. It's not an easy decision, and you might disagree. There are so few baseball games left, though. Let's watch some good ones, shall we?

With almost nothing left to root for in a big-picture sense, it's simply fun to watch the Giants beat the other team. It's like that in the Cactus League, too. You're not supposed to care when the Giants lose ... but it's always better when they win. The spring training walk-off against the Brewers isn't going to feel as sweet as it would in the regular season, but even though it's Excenquiel Mordos getting a single off Jeff Mass, and you'll never see those players again in your life, it's still better than the alternative, right?

There's still some big-picture stuff left, though. They're watching the dailies of the 2016 movie that's in production. They're getting a sense of who might fit, who could work. Last year, Matt Duffy came up and got 60 regular-season at-bats. They weren't especially impressive. He was 1-for-6 in the postseason, so it's not like you became a Duffy booster because of something specific that happened last year. You got a sense, though. Whether because of his mad dash from second on a wild pitch, or something else that was noticeable along the way, he looked like a player who could help. Maybe not a building block, a solution for the next five or six or 13 years, which he apparently is now, ha ha, but he looked like someone who belonged.

The Giants are looking for people who belong right now. And I figured they would have been relievers, Michael Broadway and Cody Hall and Cory Gearrin, and the like. We're already used to Josh Osich. Watch them throw some innings, and maybe we'll like what we see.

Now there are also outfielders to look at. The Giants produce outfielders as often as they produce zydeco albums, so this could be weird. It's not something that'll be easy to get used to, and considering the Giants have at least four outfielders for next year, and they're doing their best to make sure a fifth one comes back for too much money, it's not something they desperately need. But their best position player prospect in the upper minors, Mac Williamson, is giving the faintest hints that he belongs. Like, hold on there with that $8 million option on Marlon Byrd, you fools. Williamson might do similar things for a fraction of the price, and the ceiling is much higher over the next few years. And maybe Jarrett Parker belongs, too, putting the Giants in the kind of delightful mess that they haven't been in for decades.

Or maybe they're both somewhere between Brian Horwitz and Fred Lewis on the useful-cog scale, and this probably as excited as we'll ever be. That might be the most likely scenario, really.

But at the end of a dumb season, the Giants are at least making us think unrealistic thoughts. Can you imagine a five-headed outfield monster, with youngsters and veterans all clambering over each other in a good-natured scramble for playing time? I can. It's a fun daydream.

It's not just the outfielders, either. Kelby Tomlinson is suddenly getting hits again, and he gives the Giants a depth they've missed for the last few years. The super-teams from the early '60s didn't have a second baseman worth a win above replacement, which is what Tomlinson has already done. The post-Durham years were a wasteland until Freddy Sanchez, and he broke after two seasons, after which the Giants were hosed again. In a different season, under different circumstances, what Tomlinson is doing would give us all so much hope. He would have been the silverest of silver linings in 2006 or 2007. Instead, he's lumped into a general could-help-them-win category, where he'll hopefully be joined by some of those outfielders up there.

The way to salvage this dumb season is to keep auditioning players for the could-help-them-win category. They're doing a solid job of it so far.

Even if they're indirectly helping the Dodgers pee in the Bay. I sure hope that doesn't happen.

* * *

Chris Heston is doing exactly what he needs to do. It's a two-part process.

  1. Look like a pitcher who could be of use next year
  2. Not do so well that the Giants plan the offseason around him

If Heston went through the weird slippery-sinker phase next April, after the Giants were finished acquiring all the pitchers they had planned to, there would have been a lot of tugged collars and darting eyes. It would have been an all-time "Uhhhh, hold on a second ...."

He was kind enough to get a little weird at the end of the season, just to let the team know that he isn't an immovable fixture in the rotation. He can hang out if they get David Price or someone fancy, with no money left over, or he can be overqualified depth if the plan is to get two starting pitchers of second-tier quality. Really, it was big of him to time this so well.

The Giants won. I sure wish it mean something more than the Giants winning a game, but it's better than the alternative. And maybe, maybe, maybe, we got a glimpse of some of the players who are going to help the team next year.