Bases loaded, nobody out. Bases loaded, nobody out. Bases loaded, nobody freaking out. When your favorite team scores just one measly run in that situation, you're disappointed. It's the year's supply of Turtle Wax when you don't win the game show. You don't even want to take it.
When your favorite team doesn't score a run at all, well, that's just about the worst baseball-related sequence possible. It's what happens in the games you watch, over and over again, for eternity, if you're a bad person. Don't be a bad person. Donate a few bucks to Doctors Without Borders, just to be sure.
The Giants had a bases-loaded situation with no outs in the eighth inning of Sunday's game. There were all sorts of different ways they could have made an out to tie the game. They could have hit a ball so poorly, the Marlins would be able to make just one out. The hitter could have broken his bat and floated a ball just over the second baseman. The hitter could have hit a ground ball literally to any other infielder, and it would have been a double play that scored a run.
Instead, the Marlins got the ol' Eddie Murray double play, the Beck-to-Johnson-to-Snow, and they won because of it. I want to take a bite out of my laptop just thinking about it. It turned a frustrating game into an artfully frustrating game. Bases loaded, nobody out. No runs.
The hitter who hit into the double play was Angel Pagan, so some disclaimers are in order. Pagan has been one of the few consistent hitters on the team all year. He had an RBI hit in this game, even. Reading too much into one poor at-bat is simply unfair. If he had the same at-bat in the third inning with nobody on, we wouldn't have thought about it five seconds after it happened. It's almost like it's his teammates' fault that we remember it. Stupid, selfish teammates, always getting on base for their own personal glory.
So, no, I'm not going to perseverate on Pagan's double play. That's not fair to his contributions at the plate this year. And it would also overlook Joe Panik taking an even worse at-bat right after, swinging at a ball and taking two strikes. Bases loaded, nobody out. Bases loaded, nobody out. Eh, happens.
/throws shoe through window
No, seriously! It happens. That's the ol' game of a stick-throw-ball. It's why we'll celebrate a 130-32 team as freakish gods, even though they lost 32 different games. That's, like, 100 hours of losing in the same year, and we'll still consider them to be the best team in history. And every once in a while, they'll have a bases loaded situation with no outs, and they'll screw it all up.
Don't be mad at the eighth inning, at least not in a way that makes you forget the dumber things that happened in the other innings. We come not to bury Pagan, but to give him a wedgie for missing a fly ball with his upside-down sunglasses on his head.
This is seriously my least favorite baseball play. Balk in three runs, I don't care. Just don't lose a ball in the sun with your sunglasses on your cap. Why ... why even wear them onto the field? Because the only thing dumber than losing a ball in the sun with sunglasses on your cap is losing a ball while you fidget with your sunglasses, trying to put them on like an 80-year-old man putting on reading glasses to figure out the tip. I've never seen that happen, and I hope to never see that happen. So ... why wear them at all?
Practice it at home. Put a pair of sunglasses on a hat. Leave them somewhere, then run up and pretend like you have to get the hat on right away. It's not exactly hard, but the sunglasses add a degree of difficulty. You have to be concerned about them. You make an extra adjustment for them. They are literally useless. They are a fire extinguisher buried under the lawn. They are a home security system that needs a 45-minute customer service call to set up, with you never bothering to make that call.
When Pagan put the sunglasses on after the play, the AT&T Park gave a sarcastic cheer. I was proud of that.
I literally can't take the garbage out without my sunglasses. I'm so broken that I melt in the sun like Nosferatu when I don't have my sunglasses, even if I'm just getting something from the car. So it's especially hard for me to fathom.
Bruce Bochy: The hell was that play about?
Angel Pagan: There was a big, glowing orb in the sky, Boch.
Pagan: Not even kidding. It was like ... it was like a nuclear furnace of flame and light, and it burned my eyes when I looked at it. Totally burned them. Like, whoa. It was crazy.
Pagan: We should call someone. Like the news, or science, or something. That thing seems important.
Pagan: /takes bite of sunglasses pulled from head
Pagan: These chips are stale.
Pagan: /takes bite of sunglasses pulled from head
Pagan: We should get some new chips, Boch.
Again, Pagan had an RBI hit directly after that, which sort of made up for it. Still, this is a pet peeve of mine. It is not a complicated pet peeve. Either wear the sunglasses, or don't. Keeping them on you head, completely inaccessible is a way to acknowledge their importance while dismissing their usefulness at the same time. It's a bad look.
* * *
Matt Cain was pretty okay, as long as you explain away all of the bad things that happened to him. Which is fine if you're game, and I encourage it. After four games of it, though, it's harder and harder to do. He was hosed by Pagan's drop. The hit before that wasn't exactly scalded, so there's some bad luck there, too.
Still, you're Bruce Bochy. You have Matt Cain at 90 pitches. He finally got through a fifth inning (mostly) unscathed. Cain's spot in the order is leading off the bottom of the fifth. You're down by one. What do you do?
Bochy sent Cain up to hit for himself. What's the best-case scenario, there? Cain gets a dinger and rigs the election for the presidential candidate of your choice. What's the realistic best-case scenario? Cain goes another inning. He gives up an out, but gets you another inning.
A noble endeavor. For a team with 11 pitchers. Not a team with 12 pitchers. And, good gravy, not a team with 13 freaking pitchers. Don't chase that extra inning there. Not when the previous night's pitcher went deep in the game. Not with a 13-man pitching staff, featuring literally eight relievers, literally eiiiiiighhhhht relievers. You're setting Cain up for a disappointing outing, at the very least. The best-case scenario just isn't worth it.
Cain struck out, of course, but a hit and an error set up another rally. The Giants got the hit with runners in scoring position they've been looking for the past two weeks!
That's where Christian Yelich picked the ball up. I don't care if that's Juan Pierre kicking the ball to the plate, you don't send the runner. I don't care if it's Norichika Aoki with a cast on his throwing hand, you don't send the runner. That's literally not very far from where Brandon Crawford caught the ball in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, and the Royals were very, very right not to send the runner.
Roberto Kelly sent the runner. I guess because the pitcher was c ... nope, wait ... I guess because there were two o ... nope, wait.
Then Cain gave up the lead in the next inning because everyone could see that coming. Everyone. Probably even Cain, even if he wouldn't want to admit it.
There were so many silly things about this game, and it's not fair to shake your fist at the sky and curse an individual player or coach. But that doesn't mean that a whole heap of dumb stuff didn't happen. The Giants didn't lose their second game with 12 hits or more until July last year. This was their second loss in one of those games this year.
They needed a lot of dumb things to happen to lose it. Even year bullpucky, if you ask me.