On May 10, 2015, the Giants were trailing when the ninth inning began, but they won the game anyway.
On May 10, 2017, the Giants were trailing when the ninth inning began, but they won the game anyway.
Between these two dates, the Giants lost every game they trailed when the ninth inning began. That’s a streak that stretched 141 games. If the Giants were down by nine runs, they lost. If they were down by nine runs, they lost. If they loaded the bases, even with nobody out, they lost. Other teams won. The Giants lost.
I hereby declare May 10, then, to be Comeback Day. We shall install comeback poles in our living rooms and dance around them merrily. We will sing comeback carols and dress up as our favorite comeback. We will make wooden comebacks at home and share them with our neighbors and friends. The Giants have come back, and it’s a biennial tradition. Hug somebody.
This has been a minor obsession of this site, to the point where two different people emailed me to complain. They were right to do so. I was right to forge ahead with my brand, which has been good to me. The reason I was obsessed, though, wasn’t because it was a way to be mad at the Giants. It wasn’t an excuse to point at the awful team for being so awful, although there were elements of that, too.
It was mostly because teams should come back every so often because the other team screws up.
In this game, the other team screwed up. I don’t even care that it was the Mets, let me put a dash of bitters in this and drink it over ice. It’s a screw-up cocktail, and I think the ice is on the outside of the glass, and I don’t even care. Eduardo Nuñez hit a game-ending double play, and Wilmer Flores made a poor throw to second, and it was an error instead.
I’d swear that Nuñez was slow getting out of the box, too. It wasn’t going to be close.
But it was an error. And I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. Remember when Kelby Tomlinson borked a game-ending double play? WELL NOW THE GIANTS HAVE ONE. I’m holding it up like Corey Feldman holding up a coin at the bottom of the wishing well in Goonies. Sometimes, teams get help from the other team.
The Giants never did.
They did it this time. I wonder what the heck was going on last May 10? That silly J.A. Happ game, in which they most definitely did not come back, even though they got the tying run to the plate, as is their custom. So maybe don’t install the comeback pole until we see if this is an every-other-year thing.
The good news is that after that Happ game on May 10, the Giants became the hottest team in baseball, eventually finishing the first half with the best record in baseball. Will that happen with the Giants?
Only time ................... will tell.
The comeback wasn’t just the Mets screwing up, though. There were active steps taken by Giants hitters to win the game, if you can believe it. The heroes, in order:
Joe Panik took a one-out walk against Jeurys Familia, and the lasers are saying there’s some controversy with it:
Again, don’t care. The Giants pitchers sure as heck haven’t gotten the close calls in the ninth inning for the last two years. The team deserves 37 more ninth innings like this. We all do.
What’s notable about Panik’s walk, though, is that he roped a ball with home run distance right down the line that sliced just foul. And it got me all mad because the Giants were never ever going to come back again.
That brought up Nuñez who was close to being the goat of the game, even if he had two hits and made some sweet plays in the field. He was the go-ahead run, instead.
Hunter Pence didn’t exactly hit the ball three times with one swing, but he didn’t crush the game-tying single, either. It was exactly the kind of ball that gets caught in the ninth inning against the Giants.
Pretty sure I was screaming, “JIBBLE” right about here:
And right here was “JARBLE”:
And it was all followed by a “FROOOO”:
After Buster Posey walked on four balls that weren’t even tempting, the Giants had the bases loaded and one out. The game was tied, but I wrote “6-4-3 DP” on scorebook before the next batter was even announced. Also, I wrote it with a Sharpie because I was so sure. Also, I keep score on my computer, which is now ruined. I was just so sure, though.
Oh, ye of little faith. Because that brought up Christian Arroyo, who was 1-for-4 on the day. He seems like the perfect hitter to have up against Familia if his sinker isn’t sinking. While the video isn’t embeddable, that’s just fine with me because you could get fired for watching a drive into the gap like this.
Here, I’ll make it safe for work:
There were other positives from the game, of course. Matt Cain settling down after the first inning and pitching like the neo-Vogelsong he has to be now. Buster Posey hit his third homer in as many days, which means that Doug is still dumb. The Giants also scored six or more runs for the first time since April 14.
They won a game, and you can look it up.
For me, though, it’s all about the dumb things that had to happen for the Giants to come back, and how they won’t have to give them back. It’s like Branch Rickey once said: “Luck is the viscous, poisonous bog that swallows everyone whole because your design is flawed.” The Giants will take a little luck. They’ve needed it for years.
Derek Law looked shaky in the ninth inning, coming about 10 feet and/or a bleeder away from being a villain. His curve hasn’t been as sharp this year, and the data supports me on that one. Making him the semi-permanent closer until Melancon returns makes sense, in that he can get lefties out at a much better clip than Hunter Strickland.
Still, don’t do that do us, Derek. We have families.