The Giants have ...
... not had the best of seasons. That’s fine. I still feel spoiled most of the time. And, really, if you’re looking for doom and gloom, I’m not sure if the roster offers a whole bunch. If Jeff Samardzija can really command and control his pitches this well now, I’m optimistic about his future. Brandon Crawford probably isn’t this bad, and I’m optimistic he’ll bounce back. Madison Bumgarner will be back soon. Matt Cain, bless his existence, won’t be in the rotation next year.
These are some of the reasons the Giants have been disappointing this year. They’re also some of the reasons I’m not as worried about the future of a last-place team as I probably should be. Most of what’s gone wrong doesn’t seem like the permanent kind of problem.
Matt Moore being absolutely broken is the worst counterexample. It’s one of the reasons the Giants have been disappointing this season. It’s one of the biggest reasons they should be nervous for next season. Moore was acquired to be a short-term fix and a long-term solution. He’s pitching so poorly that smart people are wondering if the Giants are going to pay $1.75 million for him to go away instead of pay him $9 million to pitch. He doesn’t seem hurt, and his velocity is holding steady, so you can understand the argument that he can be fixed.
You’ve watched him, though, so you can understand the argument that he might be irrevocably broken.
An irrevocably broken Matt Moore would be a huge mess. He would keep getting chances. It would be like Tim Lincecum all over again, just without the years of success that preceded it.
Moore’s night started with a bad-luck hit and a homer to Giancarlo Stanton. It wasn’t a good pitch, no, but what manner of unearthly leviathan ...
The breaking ball didn’t do what Moore wanted, but it’s hard to be mad at that. Sometimes, a pitcher faces Stanton and gets marked with his musk. This is your yearly reminder that the Giants had a chance to draft Mike Stanton with the draft pick they received for losing Mike Stanton in free agency, and they drafted Charlie Culberson instead. And while I guess that indirectly led to a championship, I still feel like anything Stanton does to the Giants is their own fault.
Don’t hold the two-run homer against Moore, then. One of those things. It was the pitches after that. Here’s an 0-2 fastball to Justin Bour:
That might be one of the worst 0-2 fastballs of the year, and it was thrown to a left-handed hitter with severe platoon splits. (Notice how silly Bour looked against Josh Osich later in the game.)
Or how about this 1-1 fastball to J.T. Realmuto?
He gave up a hit to JT Riddle, who is also in the Witness Protection Program. Riddle is a left-handed hitter, and he isn’t very good. Doesn’t matter against Moore, who looks irrevocably broken.
Moore then threw fastballs down the middle to J.T. Rascally, J.T. Rambunctious, and JT Roustabout. Probably. He would have, anyway. We know this when the second inning began, it began with a fastball right down the middle to Dee Gordon.
Now, I’m cherry-picking the bad stuff because there were moments when Moore gave up hits on balls that weren’t down the middle, like the second hit for Bour. But it’s not like Moore was unlucky. He was just a mess. Again.
Crawford will hit again. Bumgarner will pitch again. But there are no guarantees with Moore, mostly because nobody has any idea of what’s going wrong. A pitcher who impressed the Giants’ scouts enough to make the organization decide to make a risky, stunning move, who wowed all of us in the good parts of Game 4 last year, is a hot mess, leaving the ball over the plate on some nights and being unable to get the ball over the plate on others.
If you have a suggestion, uh, I’m all ears. When it comes to the most concerning parts of 2017, though, Moore is at the top of a surprisingly short list.
Also concerning: Austin Slater left the game with an injury again. He was helped off the field after straining his ... hip flexor again? Maybe a groin? Maybe a groin flexor? All I wanted from this swamp were a couple hundred exciting at-bats from the youngsters. The Giants finally get a left-fielder worth watching, and he done broke.
At least the Giants can see what Ryder Jones looks like in left f ... aw, man.
I’m torn between wanting the Giants to call up Chris Shaw and wanting him to wear a custom-made Barry Bonds elbow patch that covers his entire body.
If it’s the hip again, the Giants should exercise caution and keep Slater away from the 2017 Giants for a while.
Maybe I should strain my hip flexor.
Crawford doesn’t have to hit again this year, mind you. But I’m optimistic these last three months won’t define the rest of his offensive career.
At least, I hope not. Because I want to watch him for the next five years, and it’d be a lot cooler if he could hit.
On a positive note, Brandon Crawford. pic.twitter.com/dkx6XXt2is— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 8, 2017
If he doesn’t, well, look at that play. Look at all of his plays. He’s a warlock. A gnarly coiffed, smooth-as-heck warlock, and I love watching him shortstop.
If he could start hitting again, though, that’d be dandy. Not that he should be singled out for hitting poorly. I started this section as a way to praise his defense, and the grumbling snuck in through the ventilation system. I’ll get that checked out over the break.
The Giants couldn’t hit Dan Straily, which was also something of a problem. Pop-up, pop-up, pop-up. Pop-up. The Giants had three hits through the first seven innings, and one of them was Brandon Belt getting thrown out at second base trying to stretch it into a double. Denard Span got the mercy run, but it was the only time they could even touch Straily.
The reason the Marlins have Straily in the first place is because they traded a prospect named Luis Castillo for him.
The reason the Marlins had that prospect in the first place is because the Giants traded him away.
For Casey McGehee.
So to clarify, the Giants were beaten by a pitcher who wouldn’t have even been pitching tonight if they didn’t acquire Casey McGehee years ago.
Wonder how that prospect is doing now?
You know what? Forget it. Don’t want to know.