On Wednesday, the Giants played like a team that failed 13 hours before and smelled the failure all about them, lingering in the dugout and sticking to their uniforms. Probably because that’s what happened. The Giants looked like a team that would not be able to beat Luis Perdomo, Luis Sardinas and the Padres, not in a million years, not with aluminum bats and crooked umpires. They looked defeated, distraught, fragmentary, alone.
I wasn’t going for the Cormac McCarthy opening, but the Giants were.
See the team. They wear an impure white that was tinted by shame until it became a french vanilla but the kind that would taste of ash. They drew up bucketfuls of failure and washed themselves with it rinsing away the impurities with nightmares that besotted their mind and left not but more impurities behind.
It’s cathartic to write a D+ parody like that, and I might do 4,000 more words after I log off here. Maybe McCarthy was a Giants fan in the ‘70s. Will investigate.
We’re beyond quips and "what’s wrong with?" think pieces. The Giants are now 20-35 over their last 55 games, just over a third of a season. That would translate to the worst Giants team of the last 100 years over a full season. Worse than anything since the 1902 Giants, and even then just barely. This is a problem, considering that they would still be leading the NL West if they were merely bad instead of all-time dreadful.
Does it matter that if you use runs scored and runs allowed, the Giants are six wins behind their expected record in the second half? It does not. You’re looking for logic, but the logic has escaped and it’s killing the villagers. A break from logic is what we were enjoying in the first half, and it’s what we were hoping for in the postseason. Instead, Frankenstein’s monster is loose, and we have to sit and wonder what we hath wrought. It’s too late to put the logic back. It was fun while it lasted.
Does it matter that teams have a .718 OPS against the Giants in the second half, while the Giants have a .712 OPS against other teams? It does not. That would suggest they have been unsatisfactory, yet not awful, which would give support for your thesis that the Giants probably aren’t the worst team in baseball. Except we’re running out of other answers. Again, don’t look at logic. It’s popping villager heads like they’re popcorn shrimp, and it’s lumbering your way.
All the Giants had to do was play like a very bad team for the final three months, not a franchise-worst team, and they would still be leading the division. Forget about the wild card. They would be three games up on the Dodgers if they were just horrible in the second half.
Even bad teams get to look forward to their Ace Days, when one of the last remaining glimmers of hope on the roster reminds you why you like baseball.
Here’s how the Ace Days have gone in the second half:
- Loss to Andrew Cashner
- Loss to Dan Straily
- Loss to Zach Eflin
- Loss to Luis Perdomo
There were losses to Tanner Roark and Kenta Maeda mixed in, so it’s not like everything’s been a complete shock. And they’ve won five games out of Bumgarner’s 12 starts, which is a .412 winning percentage. Why, if they’d had Bumgarner pitching every game since the break, they would have three more wins and a healthier wild card lead.
At the same time, our Ace Days are gone. They’re not the same. They’re loss days, just like all the others. Sometimes it happens when Bumgarner pitches poorly, other times it has nothing to do with him. But the sanctity of the Ace Day has been missing for a long time. Probably, because this is a team that could get swept by the Padres at home by Paul Clemens, the reanimated corpse of Clayton Richard, and Luis Perdomo, mixing in an all-time blown save in the process.
You can’t expect to keep Luis Sardinas down for an entire series. And you can’t expect anyone to make good contact against Luis Perdomo.
The Luises just keep piling up, I’ll tell you what.
Did you know the Padres have two series sweeps all season? Both against the Giants in the second half. Cool, cool, just making sure.
What I’ve been chewing on over the last two months is this: These are your 2017 Giants, for better or for worse. Take the best possible offseason — Kenley Jansen and Yoenis Cespedes, for example, maybe with a farm-melting trade for Julio Teheran mixed in — and ask yourself if this team would be a lock to finish over .500. This team, the one you’re watching, the one that had the best record in baseball over the first half of the season. Add the three best players available by free agency or trade, and ask yourself if you’re confident.
Dunno. I’m not. That might not be fair to a lineup that’s been excellent for three halves out of four over the last two seasons. That might not be fair to the rotation that’s lived up to modest expectations, the one that would have helped a whole bunch last year. But even if the Giants picked up the three best players from the offseason, I’m not sure if they’ll have a better chance to make the postseason than they still do this year. If they’re leading a postseason race, any race, with 17 games left to play next season, it will be a major coup.
Which means this might be their best chance for a while. This, right here. This soggy collection of hapless baseball players is still in the wild card lead, despite their best efforts to leave the lead at a bus stop. If they go 9-8 over their next 17 games, they’ll still have a chance to get to the postseason.
Which means I guess we should root for them to win? That there’s still a hope with this team that fans of 21 different teams would pay for? I guess. And if they win two games in a row, we’ll all feel pretty chummy again.
But the chances are pretty good that this is the kind of team that could go 0-6 against the Padres in the second half. And we have a term for that kind of team. That would be a bad, bad, bad team.
You don’t want to watch that kind of team.
I know I don’t.
I’m going to spend the night not watching the Giants play baseball. How about you?