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Giants win, 9-2, show abundance of life

The Giants are playing .500 ball over their last two games, and everything is right again.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Is it a coincidence that on the same day there were questions in the national media about the Giants’ clubhouse integrity, with their pristine reputation besmirched, that the team showed more life than they have in months?

Yeah. Probably. I love a good narrative as much as the next baseball writer, but I don’t think German Marquez was unnerved by the focus in Buster Posey’s eyes, which caused the movement of his fastball to carry over the plate. The Giants got pitches to hit, and they hit them. Jeff Samardzija threw 95 mph, which is plenty fast, and he had another start with a bunch of strikeouts and no walks.

But that doesn’t mean the timing wasn’t incredibly satisfying. Ken Rosenthal is a fine, respected writer, and I’m sure his article was fair and properly sourced, but the underlying theme of his article was essentially, “The Giants are a rotten pigeon carcass. Let’s figure out why.”

That’s a fair question to ask, and I ask it roughly six times per day, but nobody reads me. Millions of people read Rosenthal, though, and the suggestion that the Giants were too boring/quiet/out of sorts to succeed the same way they have in the past couldn’t have felt good. So the Giants did the only thing they could do and played like the team we were expecting when the season started.

Actually, that wasn’t the only thing they could have done. They could have lost. By a bunch. Instead, they showed life, so much life. It was probably a coincidence. But if you want to believe in the kick-in-the-butt theory, I’m not going to stop you. Maybe there was a sheepish feeling of guilt when everyone who was messing up all season realized that they got Mark Melancon in trouble for stretching or not stretching or playing F-Zero in the clubhouse or making money or not being a homegrown reliever or, heck, I don’t know.

So they played like a team that cared. The hits were flowing. There were shots of players laughing in the dugout. Johnny Cueto had a big ol’ bubble going in the eighth inning. Based on the body language from both teams, you would never guess that it was the Giants who were 2-74 on the season, with both wins coming in rain-shortened games.

The Giants won by a bunch, and they looked like they had fun doing it. On a day when they were the talk of the national baseball scene for being the opposite of fun, they were fun. It didn’t have to be a response, but it’s not less fun to believe it was.

We’ll find things to care about this season. Young players. The trade deadline. Buster’s batting title. The chase for the first-overall pick. I’ll point this out, oh, every game or so.

For the rest of this month, though, I want everyone to argue about whether Jeff Samardzija should be a building block in the rotation or a trade candidate. That sounds like an awful lot of dumb fun.

I’m assuming the front office will reload instead of rebuild this offseason. You might not like that concept, but it’s the likeliest one. The options are roughly ...

a) Trade Posey, Crawford, Belt, Bumgarner, Krukow, Kuiper, Flemming, and Miller, collect top-five picks for four years and reemerge as the New Astros.

b) Keep Posey, Crawford, Bumgarner, at least, and try to build a better team around them

c) Keep Posey, Crawford, Bumgarner, and don’t try at all. Make them suffer with a hodge-podge of rookies and random veterans, but keep the jersey sales high.

And if the Giants decide to trade Samardzija because they can’t resist the siren song of sweet prospects, they’ll spend their offseason looking for someone who can replace him. Do you want the prospects plus what’s in the free agent box? Or do you want the large quality-start machine who can apparently strike out 10 batters for every one he walks now? Tick tock.

A large quality-start machine is what Samardzija has been this season, even if the Giants haven’t won a whole lot in those quality starts. He’s at 63 percent, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but he’s creeping up on the top third of baseball, just ahead of Jon Lester and Chris Archer, just behind Yu Darvish and Stephen Strasburg.

He’s fun to watch when he’s on, and when the Giants are catching the ball behind him. I could go for another three years of Samardzija, oh, yes, I could. And I look forward to arguing about whether you do, too.

When the Giants are contending and they lose a game to a crappy team, it absolutely bugs me when that team and their fans act like they did anything special. Like, oh, sure, your team has been trash this year, but you get to drink our tears and pretend it’s Cristal. Are you supposed to be proud of this? Seems like some low-hanging fruit.

It is! And I forgot how much fun it is. The Rockies are reeling, having lost six in a row, and even though they don’t have an especially robust franchise history — they’re one of two MLB teams without a division title, for example — when I close my eyes, I can still see Ryan Spilborghs rounding the bases. So I can appreciate a spirited 9-2 win against the Rockies right now.

I forgot what it was like to follow a bad team that makes you enjoy when they’re jerks to the good teams. It’s way more fun than it should be. Just forget about all the pain that led to the fun.

And also forget that it makes the Dodgers happy. Please forget that.