You're either a Giants fan looking to feel bad or a Dodgers fan looking to feel good. I can help with this, but I'll focus on the Giants fans. You're here for a reason you can't articulate, caught between rage and sadness, with a sprinkle of it's-only-April mixed in. The Giants played one of their worst innings in recent memory. I can't remember the last time they booted a double play grounder that could have swung the game, and, oh, right, it was last week, and it was the same guy. Well, uh, see, the thing about that is ...
It's unfortunate. And there is blame to distribute. But here's one of the most important takeaways from Friday night's game: Clayton Kershaw wasn't as sharp as he usually is, and the Giants still couldn't do enough.
Forget the inning of greased gloves and ask yourself what would have happened without it. They might be playing now, and they might have won, but the collective production against Kershaw still would have been disappointing. He was hanging sliders, or at least one out of every eight, which is as bad as he gets. He was occasionally wild with the fastball, throwing two wild pitches for the first time since Melky Cabrera was a Giants All-Star. He was merely excellent.
He was merely excellent, and the Giants let him off the hook. If you want to crown h...
That's almost the most important takeaway, considering that Madison Bumgarner will duel with Kershaw again, and Kershaw won't be as imperfect. This was the chance to score four, maybe even *****five***** runs against him, and it didn't happen.
Also, the Giants played defense in the fourth inning like they were Newtonian-physics truthers. That was probably the most important takeaway. They did it when Bumgarner was looking sharp, too, dang it. That's the worst crime. What a deplorable inning in the field.
There was plenty of spring training evidence to suggest that Kelby Tomlinson could help the team as a utility player, specifically because he could play a passable shortstop. Run a little, slap a little, and hold his own at several positions, fine by me. Then a pair of injuries gave him a chance, and he muffed just about the easiest double play grounder he'll ever see in the majors. A short while later, he muffed a different throw. He looked like Trevor Brown playing an emergency shortstop in the 553rd inning of a game on the moon.
Don't be too hard on him. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. Maybe the timing is more even-year than you realize.
In 2010, the Giants lost a game when Phil Cuzzi made an abominable call at home plate on what would have been the winning run. It would have been a six-second replay today, but back then, the Giants just had to eat the loss. What would have happened if the play were called correctly? I don't know, but I do know that they won the World Series after the horrible call. If it were called correctly, maybe Aubrey Huff pulls a hammy celebrating, I don't know. Not willing to find out.
In a more pragmatic sense, that's what this game could be. It could be a warning flare shot into the sky, a signal that Tomlinson is an emergency shortstop in the same way that Pedro Feliz is an emergency catcher. That, in general, this isn't the kind of fielder a team needs to cheat with when they have an otherwise strong lineup. Go for the glove-first player when you have good health, and do your best to limit Tomlinson to at-bats off the bench.
Because for the second time in six days, we're all wondering what would have happened if Kelby Tomlinson would have turned a crucial double play against the Dodgers. That's not exactly the path to becoming a folk hero around here.
But the season is still young. Cough.
Goodness, that was horrible. Just horrible, and it was the second time in ...
But the season is still young.
* * *
I didn't open my laptop until the third inning of the game, and before I did, I paused the game to go to the restroom, get some food, and pour a glass of water. You think these are inconsequential details, but they are not.
When I came back, I started the game back up and immediately forgot it wasn't live because I am a concussed goldfish on drugs. I flipped open the laptop, and Tweetdeck loaded back up, except it was filled with tweets from an hour earlier. Enrique Hernandez has 12 career homers, and x of them were against Bumgarner, blah blah blah. Statcast had Hernandez's homer at blah blah blah off the bat. Why were the same tweets popping up?
I am not exaggerating, I reloaded Tweetdeck six or seven times trying to fix the problem. Then I went to the main Twitter page, and it was the same thing. So I rebooted my computer, which is no joke if you're a tab junkie with 48 different tabs open on a slow day.
Then I realized that I was a few minutes behind on the DVR and I was being a jackass. That's what Enrique Hernandez did to me. That's what he did to me, personally. He made me look like a fool in front of my family.
I'm keeping an eye on him. I don't like him, not one bit. And that's when you remember the Marlins included him as a throw-in to get Dee Gordon, who is also annoying. This whole transaction chain is cursed.
* * *
Then Derek Law came into the game.
Law has long been the official relief prospect of McCovey Chronicles, a position he held even after his long recovery from Tommy John. I've seen grainy videos on YouTube, but I've never seen the real thing, the 1080p gold, right in front of my face.
It was glorious. The split is more Jean Machi than I would have guessed, but that's not damning with faint praise. Law can also throw a nifty slider, and the velocity is there, too. Gameday has the splitter as a curveball, which is a testament to the big break. Unless it's really a curveball, and he stopped throwing the splitter in '14, which is entirely possible. But I was told to expect a splitter, and it was a funky one.
Yeah, that's definitely a peak-Machi splitter.
Well, that's definitely a curve, I think.
Yep. And Gameday had it as the same pitch, so ...
No, that's a curve. Just at 80 mph, right at the outside corner, no big deal. That one to Adrian Gonzalez, though? I've looked at it a dozen times in slow-motion, and I'm pretty sure it's a split. It has that same tumbling motion that almost makes it look like a change. Maybe.
If I can't tell the difference using Technology, imagine how it looks to the hitters who haven't seen him before. Derek Law struck out the side in his debut, and don't forget that you don't always get those kinds of rainbows at the end of the soggy, rainy Kershaw starts.