Do not convince yourself that this is rock bottom. The Pirates finished under .500 for 20 years after Barry Bonds left. The Giants spent most of the ‘70s and half of the ‘80s in a root cellar without the lights on because they thought it was a bus stop. We are all making the minimum payments on the huge karmic debt the Giants racked up from 2010 through 2014. This bad stretch isn’t going to pay down the balance much at all.
It’s not not rock bottom, though, which means that a little wallowing is fine, even if fans of other teams hate you for it. That’s fine. They don’t have to understand. But three hours at a time, this team is actively making baseball less fun than you previously thought it was. Maybe it’s chipping away geologically, and it will still take eons to fully erode your love for the sport. Maybe it’s basically gone for 2017, and it’ll need a year to regenerate. Either way is fine. There’s no right way to react to this season.
As long as we can agree that they’re making baseball less fun, day after day, as consistently as they made it fun years ago.
We’ll go live to our continuing coverage of Worst Start Ever. The Giants dropped to 11-23. How does that rank since 1871? Second. Tied for second, just behind the 1972 Giants. Will Clark was eight when the Giants started that season, and they weren’t good again until he was on the team, but, ha ha, I don’t even know why I included that little tidbit. What a strange tidbit. That couldn’t happen again.
Anyway, the ‘72 Giants won two out of the three games that followed their 34th game of the year, so there’s a chance for this year’s team to be alone at the top.
Ah, but that’s just by record. When it comes to run differential, the 2017 Giants are off to their worst start ever. Their run differential is -69 now, which disgusts me so much that I’m not even going to make a joke for the studio audience. That’s 16 runs worse than the next-worst start in Giants history, which is remarkable.
They had two hits against Zack Wheeler, their first former first-round pick. One of those hits came from Jeff Samardzija.
Toward the end of the game, I started daydreaming about an interesting hypothetical: If the Giants came back in the ninth inning — came back and scored six runs while the Mets flailed around, spraying a fire extinguisher filled with paper snakes — would it still be okay to be mad at them? After a few minutes, I determined that yes, it would still be okay.
The Giants did not score six runs in the ninth inning.
No, they haven’t scored six runs or more for 22 games now, which is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history. Think about how bad the 2009 lineup was, and how they undid everything the historically excellent rotation built. Think about how bad the 2011 lineup was without Posey. Neither of those teams went this long without scoring six runs or more in a game.
Think about the 1968 Giants, who played in the laboratory conditions of a mad scientist. The 1985 Giants, who lost 100 games. The 2008 Giants, who were bad at everything, with a couple of exceptions.
I could spin around like this for a few thousand more words, and it would end with me like Robert De Niro at the end of Casino, yelling about conspiracies to an audience of a 500 on cable access TV. I’m almost okay with that.
Instead, just a couple of notes ...
Buster Posey’s home run was even more impressive than Monday night’s, in that it was less impressive. That is, his majestic homer last night was crushed in a way that would have gone out if Cory Gearrin had taken the swing.
For Tuesday night’s homer, it was more of a home run hitter’s not-sure-I-got-all-of-it swing, a ball that went out without the classic home run sound or swing. The home runs he used to get regularly, in other words.
It makes sense in my head, at least. Anyone can hit the ball as hard as they can possibly hit it, but the guys who hit 20 homers or more will get home runs with good, level swings that aren’t necessarily designed for dingers. Posey had one of those. He’s usually pretty great at getting them, so here’s hoping he will be again.
Back in December, I watched a full game with Eduardo Nuñez playing left field for the Twins. It was the last game he played in the outfield, and it came with an error and several reverse-outfielder flubs. It was bad.
So when the Giants decided to keep his bat in the lineup at all costs by moving him to left, I got nervous. They didn’t even bother with him there in spring training, and now they’re trying it live, without a dress rehearsal.
And then nothing really major happened, so I relaxed.
This was a mistake, apparently. I encourage you to watch this play, which is roughly what Ron Wotus would look like in the outfield.
When the camera cut back to the action in the outfield, we were treated with the best “Apparently, something has gone very wrong” shot of the season.
Nuñez was 0-for-3 on the night, dropping his OPS back below .600.
Jeff Samardzija has another chance to lead the league in earned runs and throw 200 innings. I’m not even mad about that. It’s better than just leading the league in earned runs and being lazy.
Since 2000, there have been six pitchers who have thrown 200 innings or more with an ERA over 4.75.
- Livan Hernandez
- Ryan Dempster
- Rodrigo Lopez
- Jeff Suppan
- Sidney Ponson
- Eric Milton
Samardzija can be the seventh. Imagine Suppan with a 97-mph fastball, though. That would have been something. Maybe there’s a way to combine the two in that machine from The Fly.
Also, those six pitchers are a pretty good proxy for what we should expect from Samardzija over the next few years.
Also also, Mark Melancon went on the DL today.
At least the world is humming right along and we can all feel safe about current events. Never forget that sports are meaningless. It’s the other stuff that makes a difference, so thank goodness it’s all smooth out there in the real world. Because the GIants are bad, and I’m running out of words.