It is highly unlikely that you sat through the 8th and 9th innings of tonight's 1-run game and felt as confident about the Giants' chances of winning as you would've had this been a game in June or even July. The Giants have reprogrammed our neural pathways over the past two months to expect failure first and be surprised by anything else. Even a blown save leading to extra innings would've been a pleasant surprise.
Instead, Sergio Romo stranded a runner at second base to save the game.
The surprise is beyond pleasant. The victory beyond crucial. Romo may have saved the season, too. Maybe this season isn't worth saving, but it'd be absurd to think that all 25 guys would or just should give up. And so tonight was a conditioning drill, a way to see if they could win a tough game. Let's call it a success...
And let's not handicap tonight's victory simply because it came against the lowly Padres. The Giants have looked like the Padres against the Padres in the second half, after all, tonight's win snapping a 6-game losing streak. Here's the thing about Giants-Padres games, though: they're always terrible no matter how the teams are doing outside of the matchup.
Tonight's game was the 407th matchup between the two franchises. The Giants now hold a 204-203 advantage all-time. From 2009 through tonight, 40 out of the 145 (27.5%) games have been decided by 1 run. So, hate the Padres. Hate the Giants for playing the Padres.
It was a genuine pleasure to watch Jeff Samardzija pitch tonight. His stuff was pornographically good. You'd get a lot of looks watching video of his 7 innings-9 strikeouts effort if you were in public, say, at a library with headphones on, UNFFing after every called third strike. But then people would look at your screen and see the curveball, watch the break on the fastball, and suddenly you'd have a row of UNFFers. And then a whole section. I'm saying a lot of people would lose their library privileges by watching what Jeff Samardzija did in Petco Park tonight.
Samardzija's stuff has gotten noticeably better since he made his curveball prominent. There are times when Matt Moore's stuff has looked overwhelmingly superior to all other Giants pitchers, but there have been many more times this season when Jeff Samardzija's stuff reigned supreme. It was only two starts ago (September 12) when the Padres knocked him around quite a bit, but tonight he was firmly in control, teasing and overpowering seemingly at will.
It was a start we'll probably all dream on. We'll combine it with his first few starts as a Giant and we'll imagine 4 more years of a near-ace starter. It's nice to dream.
Most of my successes in life have come on the heels of a ridiculous length of procrastination. Lots of papers written the night before, cramming for exams, learning lines on the fly, reworking shot lists on set... and it usually worked out for the best. But then I started to factor in the procrastination when scheduling out my day, week, or month, and those long-term assignments quickly became afterthoughts. I'd run down the hill from my dorm with an essay in my hand, high up in the air so that the ink would dry just as I stepped into class.
The success would still come, but as I got older, and at first every so often, the procrastination led to failures, misses, and certainly lots of simple mistakes. But by then the pattern had become ingrained. Procrastination became a part of my identity. What had been every so often became frequent. That led to chaos. Abject failure. People losing confidence in me. My resorting to Twitter. Lots and lots of terrible things.
I say all this because procrastination can be fun because of the intense excitement and nervous energy that propels us through the crush of last-minute work, but as a long-term strategy, that way lies Murphy's Law.
So, please stop farting around, Giants. Just win, okay? Win.