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Giants swept at home by Pirates, are still awful

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The first game in defense of the mighty wild card lead didn't go so well.

Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

On May 31, a full two months into the season, the Giants had 21 losses. They had played 54 games, and they also had 33 wins.

On August 17, just over a month since the All-Star Game, the Giants picked up their 21st loss of the second half. They’ve played 30 games, and they also have nine wins. Which means it would take roughly a month full of wins, 24 straight, to make the start to the second half as successful as the start to the first half.

I’ll be honest, I’m not very optimistic.

Maybe it would help if you wrote something and tried to explain what’s going on to me. Because right now, I’m running out of ideas on how to frame another stupid loss.

GRANT'S NOTES, 8/17

  • Everyone on the team has tapeworms
  • Really big tapeworms
  • We’re probably all living in a computer simulation, and there’s a pimply undergrad using us for a senior thesis 3,000 years in the future
  • Tapeworms (underlined twice)

The Giants were up, 4-0, and then they lost. Sometimes they’re up 2-1, or down 3-2, or up 6-1, but they lose most of the time now. In this game, the bullpen was perfect. Imagine that, a perfect bullpen. That would have helped the Giants win on Tuesday night, just like it would have helped them on Sunday afternoon. Just like it would have helped them against the Phillies in a couple games. Just like it would have helped against the Yankees, Red Sox and Padres. I’m counting nine games since the All-Star break in which a perfect bullpen would have led directly to a Giants win.

I’m also counting 12 games since the break in which a four-run outburst would have been enough to win, too. When the Giants get four runs, the relievers screw up. When the relievers are perfect, the starter screws up. When the starter does a fine job, the Giants don’t get any runs at all. It’s like the dumbest game of rock-paper-scissors imaginable. Also, the Giants have a papercut across their face, a pair of scissors jabbed into their ear, and, well, you don’t want to know where the rock is.

Because you don’t like yourself, take a trip back in time to when everything went wrong. It was the fifth inning, and the Giants had a four-run lead. Matt Cain was pitching fantastically. Everything was calm. Everything was fine.

Then there was a hit-by-pitch, three walks, a single that was perhaps a touch unlucky, a sacrifice fly, a fly ball that sent the same message as Matt Cain lifting up his jersey to reveal "I SHOULD PROBABLY COME OUT NOW" written in body paint, and an entirely predictable home run. The Pirates were handed six runs, either through pitcher or managerial negligence. I’ve never seen a lead left on a doorstep quite like that one.

Because you really don’t like yourself, take a trip back in time to when everything stayed wrong. It was the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Giants’ intentions were pure. They loaded the bases with nobody out. Just like the Pirates did when they scored six runs, because that’s what teams tend to do with no outs and the bases loaded. The Giants scored a pity run on a rally-killing double play.

Since the All-Star break, the Giants have entered the ninth inning trailing at home nine times. That’s almost a third of their games since the All-Star break where they were at home in the ninth, facing a closer trying to get a save. It’s nearly half of their losses. In every one of those games, the tying run was at the plate at some point. The Giants couldn’t tie a single one of them.

The full list:

  • 7/25, vs. Reds. Down by two. Leadoff hitter gets on
  • 7/27, vs. Reds. Down by one. Leadoff hitter gets on
  • 7/28 vs. Nationals. Down by two. Bases loaded with one out
  • 7/29 vs. Nationals. Down by three. Two runners on, two outs
  • 8/7 vs. Nationals. Down by one. No runners reach!
  • 8/12 vs. Orioles. Down by three. Two runners on, no outs
  • 8/14 vs. Orioles. Down by one. Two runners on, two outs
  • 8/16 vs. Pirates. Down by one. Two runners on, one out
  • 8/17 vs. Pirates. Down by two. Bases loaded, no outs

When a leadoff hitter gets on against Santiago Casilla, what do you do? You freak out. Tweet nasty things. Hide in the pantry. And you’re often right to do so. It comes back to haunt Casilla.

When the Giants do it, it doesn’t make a difference. Against the Reds (who are bad) against Jonathan Papelbon (who is bad) or against the new closer for a team that traded their All-Star closer because they were hedging their bets. It doesn’t matter. The Giants can get the bases loaded with one out. They can get the bases loaded with no outs. In most of these games, a single would have tied the game at some point. A double would have won it. Forget about the game-winning home run. It wouldn’t have taken that much. That’s part of the crystallized frustration you’re carrying around where the skull meets the spine.

Cherry, cherry, subpoena. They're always one big hit away. The Giants can’t even back into a win when the other teams give them away. But when one of the Giants’ pitchers wants to give a win away, they get 79 responses before the Craigslist ad has been up for an hour. The team has been playing horribly, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the little things that turn a garden variety bad start into something historically wretched.

Was Buster Posey fated to hit into the double play because he’s so awful? Because he can’t handle the pressure? Yes, that’s probably the best way to start when describing Posey. He’s bad at baseball and unable to manage his nerves, person who started watching baseball 17 months ago. Good theory. Thanks for sharing that on social media, where you’re sure to make a connection™.

I’ll posit another theory, though, and that’s Posey was just the wrong dude at the wrong time. Just like anyone else would have been. If he’s up with runners on second and third with one out on Tuesday night, he would have singled and won the game. If Ehire Adrianza is up with the bases loaded and no outs in Wednesday’s game, he would have doubled and won the game. I can’t prove either of those scenarios. But I’ll believe that they’re true because it’s the only thing that makes sense. The Giants have played 30 games of the worst baseball we’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t all happen through incompetence.

Just most of it. Most of it happens through incompetence.

We can get into What To Do With Matt Cain? later. The Giants have lost four straight. They haven’t won a series at home since the All-Star break, and they’ve had a two-game winning streak just once since then, too. They’re out of first place, and now they’re getting swept at home by one of the teams chasing them for the wild card.

Things are bad.

I’m just rambling at this point.

How are you doing? Did you get that promotion/new job/good grade that you were hoping for? No?

Oh, okay.

I know there’s always a storm before the calm with these stupid even year teams, but this one is laying it on a little bit thick. Cut it out, Giants.