In our quest to punch Sunday's game in the stomach and take its wallet, let us not forget the dumb things the Giants did. There were two runners caught stealing. There were off-balance swings and awful at-bats. There was a bases loaded/one-out situation that led to nothing. The Giants got several runners in scoring position. They couldn't get a hit in any of those at-bats.
It was a frustrating game in that respect. The team you were rooting for couldn't do the specific things you were rooting for.
However, even when you tally up the offenses of the offense, there is absolutely no way that the Giants should have been shut out. They weren't that inept. In the first four innings, they had all sorts of great at-bats. Heck, let's catalog them because we don't like feeling good about ourselves:
- Bot. 1, Gregor Blanco singles the other way
- Bot. 1, Blanco steals second
- Bot. 1, Joe Panik hits a line drive to left
- Bot. 2, Brandon Belt lines a single to right
- Bot. 2, Hunter Pence drills a ball 410 feet to right
- Bot. 3, Panik hits a grounder hard up the middle
- Bot. 3, Matt Duffy hits a ball 360 feet to left
- Bot. 4, Belt walks
- Bot. 4, Pence singles off the pitcher
No runs. The fifth and sixth innings were quiet, but the rest of the game was filled with the same thing. If the Giants cut and paste some of those events into the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings, they might still be playing. Instead, every check swing seemed to go against them. Every borderline call seemed to go for the Rockies at the worst possible time. Every good swing produced a foul straight back, not a line drive for a hit.
The Rockies scored one of their two runs on a doink, a hit against the shift, and a doink. The Giants couldn't even get hits on their hard-hit balls, not if there were runners in scoring position.
That's not to say the Rockies didn't deserve their two runs, or that the Giants should have won 6-2. This was just the kind of game that reminded you just how annoying productive lineups can be. We think of a good offense in terms of runs scored, and that's understandable. A team that scores five runs per game is a Good Offense, and that's the end of that discussion.
Except, those five runs don't come with a roll of the dice at the beginning of the game. They accumulate. Good takes become good walks; good eyes become good pitches to hit; good pitches to hit become singles; other good pitches to hit become extra-base hits; great swings become home runs. And so on. Except they have to be strung all together. A team could hit .400 for the season without scoring a single run. The Giants looked like that hypothetical team on Sunday.
A team that does more things right than wrong will still screw up. Over a long 162-game season, it's possible, if not likely, that they'll screw up often. This is how productive lineups can make you want to throw things. They get so very close, and then they never cash in. Sometimes it's bad luck, sometimes it's bad sequencing, and sometimes it's a single player getting cold at exactly the wrong time.
Buster Posey is the one of the cold hitters at exactly the wrong time. He couldn't lead an inning off with a hit when the hitters behind him hit the ball hard. He couldn't get the big hit with runners on base against an ordinary reliever like Chad Qualls. And those games happen for perennial MVP candidates, certainly. It was a poorly timed one on Sunday.
Mac Williamson was one of the other unfortunately cold hitters in the lineup. The Rockies walked the bases loaded to get to him with one out, and it didn't look like a questionable decision at any point in the at-bat. He didn't have a swing or a take or a glimmer of a moment that would have made it look like a questionable decision at any point during the game. Nearly swing was off-balance. Every at-bat started with the pitcher having the de facto advantage.
But it probably doesn't do a lot of good to point fingers. The next time the Giants score seven runs, check the box score. There are going to be a couple hitters who didn't have the best games, who didn't take the best at-bats. We won't notice because the Giants stacked the hits up around them. In this game, we noticed.
Oh, man, how we noticed. What a waste of a Sunday.
Jeff Samardzija continues to impress, of course. Sixty percent of the time, the rotation impresses us every time. But we're spelunking into the dark caverns of the other 40 percent, which makes the loss sting even more. The Giants avoided the series win, and I'm not quite sure how they did it.
I sure wish this were a 1000-word paean to Samardzija right now, if we're being honest with each other.