We’ve all had the same dumb thought, and we shouldn’t feel bad.
So, like, if the Giants were the best team in baseball in the first half of last year, and, uh, if they were the worst team in baseball in the second half of last year, then that means that if they’re the worst team in baseball the first half of this year, they should be the best team in baseball the first you know what I’m saying?
I’ve had these thoughts, and my internal monologue also sounds like a stoned college freshman. Can’t help it. It’s just so dumb. And yet we’re just thumbed apes wired to search for symmetry, so I can’t help it either. If the Giants decided to go on a magical run and become baseball’s best team in the second half, I would be very much in favor of that.
It sounds absurd, but we deserve it.
FAN OF LITERALLY ANY OTHER TEAM IN BASEBALL: Wait, you absolutely do not deserve anything, you horrible p
Yep, we would definitely deserve that particular outcome as long-suffering Giants fans. It would be a lot of fun, that symmetry. It would also be mighty confusing. We were used to the even-year/odd-year nonsense for a while, and we knew what to expect. The even year was good. The odd year was bad. What would be the expectations for a team that plays like drunken gibbons for half of the season and the 2001 Mariners for the other half in two different seasons?
Don’t know! And while I would be keen to find out, it probably isn’t going to happen. This is just one win. Against the Padres, who have been Giantsing almost as effectively as the Giants have been Padresing. And one of the greater hopes of the second half, Johnny Cueto, continued to be shaky with his command, and he left ominously after just four innings.
On the other hand, I can make a list of the encouraging moments and players of this game. If the Giants do much better in the second half, players like this will be the reason why:
Gorkys Hernandez was 4-for-4, his first career four-hit game, and that serves as a reminder that the Giants got absolutely nothing from the bench in the first half. It was an impressive running of the table, the kind of bench that would be hard to put together on purpose. Try it with your friends next March. Do a reverse-fantasy team and try to make the worst possible bench. One of the players you pick will hit eight home runs and get on base against lefties.
Hernandez continuing the hot stretch he started toward the end of the first half, then, would be a nice way to even out the rest of the season. It’s gambler’s fallacy to expect it, but I’m an even worse gambler than I am a baseball prognosticator, so I don’t see why it can’t happen.
Buster Posey hit a dinger, and it helped extend the lead. They needed it. Oh, how they ended up needing it. He also stole strikes throughout the night, and he probably smelled like cedar chips and a forest stream. If the Giants are not going to be embarrassing in the second half, Posey doing his thing will be a big part of it.
Miguel Gomez got a fastball, it tied the game, and Clayton Richard should have to pay a fine. I’d say it’s like they didn’t have a scouting report, but they had Manuel Margot playing him perfectly in the gap, so someone was paying attention. On the broadcast, Dave Flemming was talking about him being an almost perfect pinch-hitting weapon. I’m in. I’m so in.
Although, there’s another switch-hitting infielder on the market. I’m not saying. Just s
The bullpen was mostly perfect until the ninth inning, and while I’m not going to pretend like the future of the team is going to be dependent on George Kontos, Cory Gearrin, and Sam Dyson, the future of the second half sure is. Dyson was a lot shaky, a little unlucky, but, ha ha ha, he had the save locked down all the way, ha ha haahfdashlakk. But Kontos was sublime, and Hunter Strickland was showing off some of his best breaking balls of the year.
I honestly don’t know if the Giants are going to overtake the Padres this year. When the season started, the Padres were messing around with pitchers like Tony Armas, Jr. and Pat Rapp, and the Giants were defending 2017 Wild Card Champions™, and they had the $200 million payroll. To wonder openly if the Giants can catch the Padres, well, that’s a real poke in the chops.
Don’t care. I’m all about the lowered expectations at this point, and the Giants are undefeated in the second half. They’re playing .500 over their last two games. I don’t need this team to make a miracle run. I don’t need them to be the best team in the second half, even if I am a symmetry junkie.
I just want them to stop embarrassing themselves. And even though Dyson was a broken-bat hit away from making me a pile of twitchy rage on live television, they certainly didn’t embarrass themselves. They’re 1-0 in the 2017 season reboot, and let’s keep our fingers crossed for the hottest buzzword of the summer: symmetry. Sweet, sweet symmetry.