The good news is the Giants never led in this game. We don’t have to complain about them losing another lead. The bullpen wasn’t even involved.
The bad news is the Giants played their first Petco-Park-smothering-them-with-a-pillow-while-they-slept game of the season, and no one heard the screams.
The worse news is the Giants are 1-5 to start the season, tying their worst start since 2008.
The worst news is that everyone watching the Giants right now has to wonder if they’re really this awful. It’s not fair — not to the team, not to you — but we’re here, and it’s uncomfortable. Because I’m pretty sure they’re not this awful. Madison Bumgarner has thrown two strong games, and the Giants haven’t won either of them, and that’s a blip, not a klaxon. If Bumgarner throws 32 strong games and loses all of them, I’ll write a book about it and sell the rights to Paramount.
It’s a fluke. A hiccup. A blip, a blorp.
Here, I’ll use history and stats and statistical history to prove my point. The 2014 Giants had 20 different stretches in which they went 1-5. Let’s see, there was the stretch from game 116 through 121, and there was the stretch from 66 through 71. There was the stretch from 81 through 86, and there was the not-so-nice stretch from 69 through 74.
Of course, that was a season that featured a miserable collapse, so maybe it’s better to look at other seasons. The 2012 season featured six such stretches, two of them that didn’t share a loss. The 2010 season had 13 stretches, including a seven-game losing streak. You can go back to every season and find some of these. Even the 100-win 2003 team had a few.
Therefore, we shouldn’t get worked up about a ghastly 1-5 stretch to start the season. Happens. We’re just paying more attention to it because this six-game stretch is happening at the start of the year.
Reasonable enough. However, this is also the only evidence we have about the 2017 season, and it’s nauseating. If you want some perspective about why this is bad, just imagine what the next few games might be like.
The Giants exploded for eight runs in the second inning, storming to a decisive victory in the last game of the series ...
Awesome. But you’re still 2-5, dummies.
The Giants took an early lead, and they barely held on in the ninth, winning ...
Sounds stressful. But you’re still 3-5, dummies.
The Giants made a late charge, but it came up short, losing by a final score of ...
Great. Now you’re 3-6, dummies.
You get where I’m going. The Giants could play .667 ball over their next three games and still be dummies. They could play .500 ball over their next four and be 3-7, which is still extremely bad. For the Giants to get back to a record that makes you excited about baseball again, they’ll need to win an awful lot of baseball games, even though the season just started.
All of those baseball games will be about three hours, in case you were wondering. Oh, and they might not win any of them, which would be much worse.
So, no, it’s not panic time. It’s just not the preferred way to watch baseball. The Giants have scored 29 runs and allowed 35 — not ideal, but certainly nothing unusual over six games. The Giants should be 2-4, maybe 3-3 with a couple breaks.
Instead, the Giants held the Padres to two runs in a game in which they scored one. They scored six runs in a game in which they allowed seven. The result is whatever this is. A big, gloopy puddle of feh. While I don’t share the sentiments of the dear emailer who started by acknowledging the great seven-year run before eulogizing its demise, that doesn’t mean this baseball season has been a lot of fun so far.
Madison Bumgarner was imperfect for about three or four innings, which reminded me of how Madison Bumgarner could be imperfect. That’s a real smack-the-forehead moment of how I take this guy for granted. He wasn’t just imperfect in the surprise-homer kind of way, which is what bit him on Opening Day, but in the flat stuff and wonky command kind of way.
Oh, right. That can happen to him, too. Right, right, sorry, that’s right.
That’s the worst part about these losing jags, when the great players remind you of their corporeal form and human limitations. Right, right, sorry, that’s right, they can’t save their team every time.
Bumgarner ended with a complete game loss, which means we get to keep our streak of fun facts coming:
Complete game losses, active pitchers:
1. CC Sabathia, 10
2. James Shields, 8
2. Bartolo Colon, 8
4. Madison Bumgarner, 6
4. Zack Greinke, 6
Feels like that’s missing some context, though ...
Bartolo Colon, 501
CC Sabathia, 483
James Shields, 352
Zack Greinke, 350
Madison Bumgarner, 215
Yeah, there we go. It was another complete game loss for Bumgarner, who has three over his last 22 regular-season starts. He deserved better, yet again.
Yesterday’s recap lamented the lack of ninth-inning comebacks, and that still holds true. Not since May, 2015 have the Giants gone into the ninth inning behind, only to come up with a win.
But just mentioning that stretch doesn’t do it justice. Because mixed in, we have a bunch of runs scoring when they’re just not enough — one run when the deficit is two, or two runs when the deficit is four. This fits in with the Giants’ brand, then. Needed two runs, got one.
That run could have helped them win on Friday night. Instead, the Giants are 1-5, which is not a very good record at all. Why, they’re on pace for a 27-135 record, which would be very bad, indeed.
They’re not this bad. But, friends, these first six games haven’t been that good, either.