I’ve never been angrier with a team for winning as I was with the Giants after last night, so if there’s any lingering frustration that comes across tonight, I’m so sorry. It’s not intentional. The Giants have equaled their longest winning streak of the second half, and it’s been a simply enchanting ride. There shouldn’t be any lingering frustration.
Ah, but there is. It’s been building over the last two months. For this recap, the frustration will be expressed thusly: Like, this is what the Giants should do every so often, right?
This seems like the kind of game that a team like the Giants should have every week or two. The Diamondbacks were a bad team with a rookie starter, and they were playing against a veteran team filled with doubles hitters. That’s gonna be a mess for the bad rookie team at least every third time, right?
Yet it never seemed to work out like that. Not against the Reds, not against the Padres, and not against the Phillies. The dingerpalooza of the last Braves game last week was welcome, sure, but it wasn’t really the Giants’ style of play. It felt like an anomaly from the second home run on. Also, I didn’t watch that game, so it doesn’t count.
This game, though. It was the perfect microcosm of why I was optimistic about the Giants in March, not to mention why I was supremely optimistic about them in the middle of July.
The story of how the Giants did good things:
Apparently the Giants are allowed to have more than one hot hitter in the lineup
There aren’t just Giants fans reading this. There are people who stumble onto this site because they’ve ran out of baseball internet, and they just want to see how Random Team is doing. And I welcome these readers. Hello! They must wonder what in the hell this header means.
See, with your team, gentle reader, there might be two hot hitters at the same time. The Twins have lost dozens of games, possibly in the past two nights. Yet they’ve been watching Brian Dozier and Byron Buxton demolish other pitchers the whole time. Because the rules of baseball allow teams to have more than one hot hitter at a time. I know, I know, but look it up yourself.
The Giants over the last two months have been absolutely maddening. Denard Span is hot! Everybody look at Denard Span! The team is still losing, but, uh, Span sure is hot. Until he isn’t. But then it’s Angel Pagan’s turn! Look at this Angel Pagan, he’s so hot until he isn’t. And that must mean it’s Joe Panik’s turn! Oh, what a wondrous day, Joe Panik is hot.
It would never happen at the same time, though. One of them would get all of the hits, and then they would sit on first or second, doing the winky-finger-guns at the dugout, and the rest of the team would have absolutely no idea what to do. This has happened since we had opinions about the camouflage jerseys everyone had to wear at the All-Star Game. That was, like, six years ago.
Instead, I’m looking forward to a lot of Giants at-bats right now. Eduardo Nuñez is slapping the ball all over and using his speed. Joe Panik is shaking off the BABIPdook monster that’s been tormenting him since his concussion. Buster Posey finally had a game of unfettered optimism. Pagan continues to surprise, and Brandon Crawford looked like himself again. And when tomorrow’s game starts, I’ll look forward to all of their at-bats.
Can you imagine? Looking forward to at-bats. What a revolutionary time this is. Lasers in the jungle and all that.
That all leaves out Hunter Pence, who is the hottest Giant. When it comes to hitting. Not sure if anyone takes Pagan’s crown until next year for the other category. But Pence is looking like the hitter who left the Giants months ago, the one who was astoundingly patient and contact-oriented, without losing anything that made him as good as we’re used to. Fastball away, but over the plate? Slapped for one of those sneaky-strong home runs. Garbage slider, down off the outside? He’ll take it and hang out on base, if that’s okay with everyone.
It’s probably okay with everyone.
Pence the only Giant with consecutive four-run games since Fred Snodgrass in 1912. #muff— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) September 11, 2016
Yeah, I mean, His teammates are all getting all the RBIs. No muffs or boners there. Just good, clean, Giants baseball.
Long point short: When Pence gets on base, I wasn’t expecting him to be stranded by a procession of buffoons, which is what I would expect in any game over the last two months once the hot hitters reached base. Right now, I believe that there can be two or more hot hitters in the same lineup.
Why is that such a weird dream? Feels like I should apologize for being greedy, but the Giants sort of built their roster around this weird dream.
Every so often, the Giants will have a starting pitcher throw a great game without any drama
Again, that shouldn’t be controversial. Hey, this is Johnny Cueto. He was so excellent in the first half of the season that he literally started the freaking All-Star Game, which is an incredible honor that some teams don’t get for decades. Every so often, he should throw a great game without any drama.
Same goes for Madison Bumgarner. With a good-not-great second half, he’d probably be in the lead for the Cy Young race. That’s how good he was in his first half, which was so good that he also could have started the All-Star Game if it weren’t for scheduling weirdness. Anything close to his typical self, and he’d be in line for an award right now.
Between the two of them, Giants fans should get a great game without any drama. Not every time. Just ... every other time. Feels like we put this in writing at some point.
Every so often, we shouldn’t care a damned bit about a starter giving up a seventh-inning homer
Because not every homer allowed by a starter working into the seventh has to masticate your soul. Sometimes starters are in there because they’re pitching great and because they have a huge cushion to work with, and they give up a random dinger that doesn’t matter a bit. Wheeeee! Those are some fun games.
Every so often, we shouldn’t care a damned bit about the bullpen giving up a late run
Because not every homer allowed by a starter in the late innings of a game has to spit out your masticated soul and set it on fire. Sometimes relievers allow garbage homers in garbage games, and we can just laugh it off. Oh, whatever, so Josh Osich allowed another homer again. Pffffft, no bother. So what if he’s allowed two more homers in 87 games as a Giant than Javier Lopez has allowed in 439? That’s not a problem according to this blogger.
(Note to self: Good lord.)
But it didn’t matter. It was a long home run in a ninth inning that didn’t mean anything. Which teams bound for the postseason get every so often.
Like the Giants got in the entire first half. Remember when they were setting franchise records in May and June? It looked like this. Pitcher throws well. Offense strings together hits. Bullpen doesn’t do enough to mess everything up. We took it for granted, I think.
We probably shouldn’t have taken it for granted.
The Giants won a series. They have a chance for their first three-game winning streak of the second half, and they have a chance for the sweep.
And that’s what happened to the lingering frustration. This game killed it dead.
How I wish I could bottle this game.