For four-and-a-half innings, the Giants were playing as well as they can reasonably play. Stolen bases, productive outs, a pair of triples, and players taking the extra base when they had a chance. Goodness, there was even a home run.
In the last inning-and-a-half, there were some brilliant plays from Brandon Crawford and great at--bats from almost everyone in the lineup. They almost came back, even.
That’s six innings, which is considered a full game if it’s raining hard enough. What a team for those six innings. What a team.
In the other three innings, the Giants played like they were trying to shoplift their own eyelids, but I appreciate the hope they allowed us in the beginning.
Remember how it all started? Eduardo Nuñez singled and stole second — he stole 40 last year, and I’m thinking the Giants are quietly encouraging him to go for 75. Then he scored from second on an infield single, like he was Willie Wilson, or something. It was the prettiest run of the year, aesthetically speaking.
Then there was a triple and a single that immediately brought the run in. Then there was another single, with the runner moving to third, and a sac fly that brought that runner in immediately. Again, it was so very gorgeous.
On the other side, Matt Moore was befuddling Paul Goldschmidt. Everything was so clear, so obvious. So this is how the Giants win 105 games.
What a strong four-and-a-half innings before the other two strong innings. Like a big, meaty, strong-inning sandwich. The meat is your own flesh, placed gently between the slices, and you wound up to take a bite, like a wolf in an old cartoon, but the bread was super.
If I had to rank this loss, I’d say that was the best loss of 2017. None of that ninth-inning tomfoolery. Just a good, old-fashioned, dumb loss. The painful parts came in the middle — not quickly enough to ruin the game right away -- and there was even a little hope at the end.
Oh, there were some disappointing parts. Like, say, the most of it. And any game that turns on an error is dumber than most. Brandon Belt couldn’t come up with the end of the fifth inning, and the fifth inning sure came up with the end of the Giants. But it beats a loss like Opening Day.
Matt Moore looked impressive for a solid chunk of the game, and I was juuuuust about to start writing the rock opera I have planned for him*. Hitters looked uncomfortable as all heck in the beginning, and I was very much into the idea of him kicking the door open to the regular season and striking some fools out for a few months.
The error obviously hosed him in several different ways, from the runs to the extra pitches. Even accounting for that, he looked like a different pitcher in the fifth, with command wonkiness both in and out of the strike zone. The ball that Belt muffed began life as an extremely bad pitch to Jake Lamb. Right down the middle. There were warning signs before the error, but they didn’t show up until there were two outs and nobody on in the fifth
A mixed bag, then. Enough to keep you excited about Moore’s next start, but not enough to grace you with overflowing confidence. It was a very post-spring start, for better and for worse. His velocity got worse as he went deeper into the game (via Brooks Baseball), which is something to watch for in his next few outings.
Again, it’s April 5. Not a big deal. Working the kinks out. Shaking off the rust. Getting that gamer mentality back.
* A genie lives in his eyebrows, but it’s a sports genie who teaches him a cutter. I don’t want to give it all away.
This was the first game of the year that I yelled things like, “HAHA AARON HILL IN THE OUTFIELD, I SURE HOPE HE GETS A FLY BALL OUT THERE” and “WOW CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH NEIL RAMIREZ.”
These are the simple pleasures of watching a team lose. Give us the rookie to make up for it. Put some weird players in weird positions. Bring out the slider goof who can’t stop missing bats. This game had some of that. It could have used more, but it had plenty compared to the average game.
The Giants are just looking out for you, really.
This should have been real:
There were lots of jokes about how Hunter Pence is the possessed doll, but I have a new take: What if Hunter Pence is the possessed doll??? Think it over.
Hrm, that’s weird, you didn’t look annoyed enough.
Scoreless outing in your Dodger debut?— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 6, 2017
That's what's up. pic.twitter.com/YN5wSyy6vp
There we go.