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Giants fall quietly to Braves

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Matt Kemp hit a home run, because that’s what he does, and those were the only runs the Braves needed.

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

And then one day Matt Kemp is on the Braves or some crap, and he ruins your night.

Kemp’s three-run homer isn’t the only reason the Giants lost, no. The recap could also have started with, "And then one day the random live-armed enigma strips the Giants down and sells them for parts." If Mike Foltynewicz could throw like that all the time, he would be one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball, give or take. Of course he picked AT&T Park on a Saturday evening to decide that he was going to have one of his Jekyll games.

But, no, it’s the Matt Kemp that sticks between your teeth, because we should be finished with him. The Dodgers, the team that developed him, are finished with him. The Padres, the team that believed in him for whatever reason, are finished with him. And that should mean the Giants are finished with him. He’s out of the NL West. Let’s check in with the active home run leaders vs. the Giants:

  1. Matt Kemp - 23 HR
  2. Adrian Gonzalez - 21
  3. Troy Tulowitzki - 19
  4. Nolan Arenado - 18
  5. Carlos Gonzalez - 18
  6. Albert Pujols - 16
  7. Ryan Howard - 16
  8. Mark Reynolds - 15
  9. Justin Upton - 14
  10. Matt Holliday - 14

Cool, cool. Adrian Gonzalez will eventually pass Kemp, I’m guessing, and Arenado might finish his career with 100. But it’s still Kemp in the lead. And because I’m a sick monkey, I’m morbidly curious about when those home runs were hit.

You’ll never believe this, but more than half of those home runs were hit in high-leverage situations. More than half were hit when the Giants were either tied, leading by a run, or behind by a run. More than any other active player in baseball, Kemp has given the Giants a wet willie at the most obnoxious time possible.

This is especially galling because he’s not very good anymore. He has exactly one above-average baseball skill right now: He can crush dumb pitches in the middle of the strike zone. He doesn’t make a lot of contact. He can’t take a walk anymore. He runs like his shoelaces are tied to his wristwatch. He fields like he’s shoplifting a cactus. The only thing he can do is hit baseball far when baseball thrown bad.

You’ll never believe this, but that was Kemp’s fifth home run against the Giants this year. Matt Kemp has as many home runs against the Giants this season as Buster Posey has in AT&T Park.

I don’t know if you came here for analysis about the Giants, because I don’t know what to tell you. Albert Suarez started, and he pitched like a AAAA guy on the permanent shuttle between Sacramento and San Francisco. Which he is. The 3-4-5- was Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, a future which probably would have made us really excited if a time-traveller told us about it five years ago, but was a little underwhelming as it actually happened, and that’s with Crawford acting like a proper cleanup hitter.

It was a team that was comparable to the Braves in a lot of respects. Which takes some doing.

If you came here for the analysis, I’m fresh out. And I’d like to whine about Kemp some more, if that’s okay with you. Because the dude is helping the Dodgers out way past the statute of limitations on that. Not only is he helping his old team by hitting key home runs in a pennant race he isn’t even a part of, but the Padres gave a 25-year-old switch-hitting catcher with 20+ homers to the Dodgers for Kemp. That’s also helping the Dodgers.

I’m not saying that I would go back in time and prevent his grandparents from falling in love, but I’m sort of done with this guy.

As for the rest of the game, look at that, the Giants had eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, and they couldn’t get a single hit. What are the odds, ha ha. Shout out to Angel Pagan for his 10-pitch at-bat in the eighth to remind us that baseball can be fun and filled with hope at times. And Javier Lopez did a fine piece of magicianing out there, which isn’t something we’ve been able to say a lot this year. Good for him.

Other than that, the Giants’ night was ruined by Matt Kemp again. Even though he’s on the Braves for some reason. Even though he shouldn’t have been within hundreds of miles of AT&T Park on Saturday. Even though he isn’t very good. Even though the Giants have had enough and are begging him to stop.

The Giants couldn’t win three straight for the first time since the All-Star break. We’ll see if they can win their second series of the shadow half. Are you optimistic? It’s Madison Bumgarner against one of the worst teams in baseball, facing a pitcher he’s homered against this year, and yet you’re not optimistic.

Matt Kemp is lurking, after all.

I can’t believe the Giants are still fighting for a postseason spot right now. Do you know how much they had to win in the first half for that to happen? We’re just lucky, I guess.