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Giants lose to Orioles, 5-2

Tonight's game featured a mismatch of oranges as the Orioles showed off their talented roster against the lifeless Giants'. Matt Cain and several other familiar Giants played as well, but none of them looked quite like themselves.

"I've seen some things, man. Like Zach Britton's slider."
"I've seen some things, man. Like Zach Britton's slider."
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

If you're a regular visitor to this site, then you know there's usually a gamethread on the front page for every contest. That didn't happen tonight, but there *was* a gamethread in the system, it was just never edited and then posted.


See? But intention and execution are separate things and this is where I tie the gamethread bit into this evening's performance of Matt Cain & the Giants.

Matt Cain hasn't been great since 2012, but he's shown flashes of his old self in 2016. Tonight wasn't one of those nights, but tonight also wasn't the Matt Cain who didn't belong at the major league level. This was Matt Cain, #5 starter, up against a far, far, far, far, far, far, far, faaaarrrrrrrrrr superior lineup, and in those instances (of which there will be many), there's not going to be a lot of success. Matt Cain's mistakes were punished severely, but he didn't look like a total disaster. Just a guy who was clearly over matched.

But so was the lineup! Dylan Bundy was supposed to be the Orioles' Matt Cain, but then he morphed into their Tim Lincecum coming out of the bullpen before blossoming into their Johnny Cueto. It was a long and winding route to a major league rotation, but he looked like an above average starter with stuff, command, and control. There was plenty of weak contact, and when the Giants threatened to rally to close a 4-1 deficit, he easily got Brandon Belt to ground into an inning-ending double play. Brandon Belt doesn't ground into many double plays, but he did tonight (and now has a career-high 5 in a single season!).

And then Buck Showalter decided to pull Bundy so that the kid didn't face Buster Posey again, and if you or the Giants had any hopes of the offense coming back to light in the face of a new pitcher, those hopes were soon dashed and the might and dominance of the Orioles' bullpen was on full display.

The Orioles have superior size, strength, and ability. Every single one of their hitters can smack the crap out of the ball and their bullpen is filled with odd-looking power arms. It's going to be a long weekend.

Tomorrow, the Giants will unveil a statue outside of AT&T Park to honor franchise great Gaylord Perry. Celebrating the past is a pastime of our national pastime and the breadth of Giants history means we'll always have memories and players to celebrate, so whatever happens the rest of this year and decade should really be put in the proper context and viewed with some perspective.

The Giants are still in first place, of course, so really what's all the fuss? So what if every single member of the team is playing like he's playing in the final game of the season long after the team's been eliminated? They're still in first place! 8-17 since the All-Star Break? Still in first place. The Giants have limped to the finish line the past three seasons (with 2014 featuring several fortuitous "bounces" in their favor)! WHO CARES! Still in first place!

Even if the Giants wind up not being very good this year, even if we look back and see that their tremendous end of the first half was the result of hot play against poor teams, that's all okay, because look at what's happened in the very recent past. Three championships in six years is abnormal. The Giants have been abnormally good, lucky, and successful. If the window has closed, at least we'll still have a view to admire.

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I watched the game with my significant other who's not really into the sport. She likes the Giants because I do and that's about it. The best part of the game was going through the lineup and seeing how her name sounded with every player's surname. She's not to keen on my basic-ass last name, so if she were to change her very cool-sounding last name, it'd have to be worth it. She'd marry Derek Law.

Again, this was the best part of the game.

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George Kontos pitched three scoreless innings tonight. If you listen to the McCovey Chroncast (and you should), then you'll know that I've long considered Kontos to be the most expendable reliever on ML roster. And yet! He has been outstanding in garbage time relief, and that's valuable! If the Giants' offense ever clicks again this season, one of these long relief appearances that keeps the deficit within 5 runs is going to pay off!

His stuff doesn't look great and he's made plenty of location mistakes, but he's also adjusted and "hunkered down" and managed to look good in an appearance even he's looked not so good.

His line since the break: 16.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 9 BB, 10K ... but if you go back to say, May 29, he's been basically *as* outstanding. So, I'm sorry, George Kontos. You can stay. And, truly, the Giants need you.

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I'm not sure which dimension Zach Britton's comes from, but it's entirely possible the creators of Netflix's Stranger Things were inspired by it.