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Giants score run against Max Scherzer, still lose

The Nationals scored three runs before the Giants came to bat, and you know how that usually ends.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine the Giants having someone like Ryan Zimmerman.

Not the actual guy, transported onto the team, as if that would have made a difference with this toilet season. But the idea. The fun that comes with watching a fan favorite crawl out of a pit of despair and reinvent himself. Or, more simply, a player who wildly exceeds expectations.

It seems ludicrous. He whomped the ball all series, and at no point did he look like anyone employed by the Giants. At no point did he look like anyone the Giants will ever employ again.

And when I’ve pointed out that it’s alright for spoiled fans to complain, my justification is that baseball seasons are long. They’re long enough that you’ll forget almost everything that came before it, good or bad, if the present state of the team is sufficiently extreme. That’s where we are now. The team that brought back Ryan Vogelsong, the team that stumbled into Marco Scutaro impression of Rod Carew, have fans that can’t imagine a Zimmerman-like season. The team that wasn’t sure if Buster Posey would ever catch again and then watched him win the MVP in a championship season 16 months later.

That team.

Imagine the Giants having someone like Ryan Zimmerman.

Nope. Impossible. For one, he hit a three-run homer, which the Giants are not allowed to do in this parallel universe. Every team had at least three before the night started. The Nationals now have 12.

It doesn’t help that the Giants are dead last in baseball in home runs in an era that’s becoming known as one of the most ridiculous home run eras in baseball history.

But back to the idea of Zimmerman, any Zimmerman, on this team. I want you to make a list of the best Giants seasons of 2017. You can use whatever criteria you’d like. Most encouraging. Empirically productive. Best omens for the long-term future. Give me a list of five.

Here, I’ll start:

  1. Buster Posey
  2. Brandon Belt
  3. Ty Blach
  4. Jeff Samardzija
  5. Josh Osich/Hunter Strickland (tie)

I keep going up and down the roster, hoping I’m being silly and hyperbolic. But I really think that’s the list.

The first guy is a cleanup hitter with 13 runs batted in (on seven homers). That’s three more than Anthony Rendon got on April 30.

The second guy still annoys half of the fan base for some inexplicable reason, even though he’s one of exactly two hitters who’s been worth a damn all year.

The third guy is the replacement for the ace who fell off a damned wheely bike because he liked to make vroom vroom noises, and while Blach has been a pleasant surprise, he’s been only slightly better than league average. Again, he’s the third best story on the Giants this year.

The fourth guy is allowing a bunch of runs, ha ha, but who can keep track of all those stats? He’s one of the best stories on the Giants because he’s striking a lot of hitters out, which should theoretically prevent runs. Which is encouraging. Kind of.

For the fifth-best story on the 2017 Giants, you can pick between the 28-year-old left-hander walking nearly five batters per nine innings pitched or the hothead who got a teammate concussed and will force his team to play short-handed for about a week.

Mark Melancon being delightful and unnecessary might be your fifth-place winner. Dunno. I’m flexible.

Those are all of the candidates for the best Giants story of 2017.

Is this too much of a downer? I’m sorry, it appears as if you’ve caught me in the middle of a losing streak. Please try again later. When they won against the Reds and Dodgers, when they went into St. Louis and came back, when they started the series against the Cubs with a win, I wanted to believe so danged bad. They’ve lost six out of their last eight, and it turns out April wasn’t the problem after all.

It turns out they’re just bad.

Matt Cain should have had a double play in the first inning, getting the grounder right where Brandon Crawford was positioned. Except Trea Turner was moving on the pitch, which put Crawford out of position, which kept the inning going. For Ryan Zimmerman.

Imagine that guy on the Giants. I, for one, cannot.

On the other hand, Cain also put runners in scoring position in each of the next four innings. He’s a five-inning, three-run kind of guy now. It’s just jarring to see it a) in the first inning and b) when he’s supported by a team that hasn’t scored more than three runs in 32 of the 55 games they’ve played this year.

Fifth starters are fine when they come with a functional lineup. As is, Cain is a fork and the Giants are a steaming bowl of salamander broth. It’s not working, there’s no way it’s going to work, and I’m not sure why you would want it to work.

He’s probably doing you a favor, really.

It should be pointed out that Max Scherzer is a lava monster who consumes teams whole, and he’s the real reason the Giants lost. He could have shut down the 2001 Giants tonight. Probably because they’re all 45 and paunchy now, ha ha, but you get the idea. I’ve spent the entire recap grumbling about what the Giants didn’t do, yet the best story of the game is how well a very talented superstar performed. He was amazing.

On the other hand, I’m grumpy as hell. So I hope that paragraph will suffice. Good job, Max Scherzer. You truly are the Jaime Garcia of your generation.