The Giants almost made history on Wednesday afternoon. They were almost the first team in baseball history to celebrate a walk-off win by spilling out of the dugout and thanking the other team. It would have been good sportsmanship, but they stuck with tradition and celebrated with each other. It was a muted, half-embarrassed celebration.
And for good reason. The Giants have to be absolutely handed a game. They had the winning run in scoring position in the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings. They had a fast runner on first with one out in the 12th. A broken bat could have won it. A 46-hopper up the middle. A shallow fly, just between an infielder and outfielder. A balk or two. There were so many different ways to win, and the Giants kept refusing.
Blue Jays: Here, have this game.
Giants: No, thank you.
Blue Jays: Please, we are Canadian and exceptionally polite. And this overused stereotype will serve you well. Please take this game!
Giants: No, thank you!
You have a right to complain about Santiago Casilla, who blew his third save of the year, but think about Drew Storen for a moment. He's the kind of pitcher you think Casilla is. Putting him into a game where the opposing team wins with a single run, at least right now? That's like pouring boiling water on a frozen windshield because you're really, really late for a job interview, even though you know what will probably happen. A single and a hit-by-pitch later, and Storen was in trouble, which is where he's been all season.
Then there was a muffed double play grounder that could have ended the inning. The Giants have had two of those late in close games this year. They were owed at least one of them back. If you believe in a just and orderly universe, that was going to lead to a walk-off win, and Troy Tulowitzki was going to slink off the field, looking foolish and embarrassed.
The Giants refused to take the game. Brandon Belt, who has spent the entire season impressing the world with great at-bats and a dramatically increased contact rate, struck out swinging.
We're 400 words into a recap about a Giants walk-off win, and I'm still pounding the keys like I'm writing an angry resignation letter.
Deep breaths. They won, you moron. Get yourself together.
It could have been a loss. They wore down and eventually, begrudgingly accepted the win, but they didn't have to. The Blue Jays were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position themselves, leaving 14 runners on base. They had their chances, and not just against the bullpen. Madison Bumgarner was in and out of trouble, trading command for velocity, and even though he rebounded to have a nice, modest outing, he was vulnerable.
Derek Law was vulnerable. Albert Suarez occasionally pitched like he was 18th on the pitcher depth chart at the start of the year. Both of them left a few pitches up. Both of them missed with location. The Blue Jays didn't have to hand the Giants the game.
They did, though. Only three of the runs they scored were earned, and that's only because Russell Martin didn't get an error for his ill-advised fielder's choice in the 13th. But the Giants will take it. Five runs in 13 innings? What, is this Coors Field, ha ha?
After an offensive explosion like that, how could they lose?
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Congratulations to Cory Gearrin on his fourth hold of the year.
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"I have to pee, I'm hungry, and I'm tired. And I love my job."
- Duane Kuiper, in the 13th inning
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The Blue Jays pitcher who lost the game was Ryan Tepera, a 28-year-old who was struggling in Buffalo before getting called up to replace someone on paternity leave. He was up because he was already on the 40-man roster, nothing more.
Robert Osuna, canned lightning and certain death, never warmed up in the bullpen.
This is a good time to promote a book you should buy if you don't already own it, because in this book, one of the main characters is a manager who objects to the unorthodox use of his closer. His reasoning is that "the closer is the closer because he's the closer."
You can't argue with that. And I'm glad the Blue Jays didn't, either.
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When the Giants would get a runner on first base, it would make me mad. It was like, "Yeah, great. So now what? You idiots."
I think it's time Bryan did a game. He hasn't done one for ... aw, nuts.
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At the risk of slapping you in the face with the obvious fish, this lineup absolutely can't function with Buster Posey doing nothing in the middle of the order. He left only five on base, but that was because he hit into a bases loaded double play to score a run. Can't be left on base if they're out because of you! Kind of smart, really.
Mike Krukow kept mentioning that the Blue Jays were pitching to some kind of scouting report that said Posey should be busted inside on the hands. That's not a scouting report that would work before two weeks ago, much less two years ago, so good work by the advance scouts.
The pitch that Marcus Stroman got Posey to ground into a double play was a flat sinker at the top of the strike zone. Posey has heads of pitches like that above his fireplace and a bunch more in his garage. It should have been a great pitch to drive into the outfield in a one-out situation, at least. He is just completely, supremely messed up.
Not worried about him, as he's good for a couple of these slumps every year. But it sure exacerbates whatever misery the Giants are going through.
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Santiago Casilla has a 2.03 ERA (great). He's missing bats better than he has in his major league career (great), while cutting down on the walks (also great). He's allowed two homers in 13 innings (eh, needs some work), but he's also allowed just seven hits and two walks in those 13 innings (great).
He's allowed runs in three of his 14 outings. All of those runs have come with the Giants clinging onto a one run lead. They've led to blown saves. The first two led to losses.
Casilla's biggest problem right now is horrible timing.
It's up to you to decide if that means he's unclutch, or if he doesn't have an out pitch when the hitters or bearing down the most. The only thing I know is that it's very, very unusual for a closer to struggle only at the worst possible time.
IT'S ALSO VERY, VERY FRUSTRATING but hey look at that, a walk-off win.
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As of this writing, the Giants are a half-game out of first place. Edit: They're now tied for first, lol idk.