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Marlins sweep Giants

Matt Cain pitched in relief, Miguel Gomez got his first major league hit, the Giants even hit some home runs, but nothing they do will ever be better than anything another team does.

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants
The Giants aren’t very good, so, here’s a good Marlin.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I don’t know what we did to deserve extra innings today, but for some reason, the Giants just didn’t want this first half to come to a merciful end. I definitely had 75% of this recap written before the final out today. Such is tracking this godforsaken team. However, from the seventh inning on, the Giants played closer to their former selves than their current selves. Forget the winning streak from last week and consider that they’re simply... I don’t know, slightly more competitive this month than they have been in any previous month stretching back to last July (more on that later).

This game had some really interesting bits to it: Johnny Cueto didn’t look bad but he wasn’t fantastic, but if he chose to opt-in and stick out the rest of this deal with the Giants, I don’t think he or the team would regret it. He’s certainly been a starter this year, bordering on useful, even, in more starts than not. Today, he was semi-useful and helped by a competitive offense, but he never ascended to “staff ace” status after Bumgarner ended his own season earlier. Oh well.

Matt Cain was a reliever today and did not put the Giants in a steep deficit. He was in trouble, of course, and threw a lot of pitches, but he managed to be semi-useful.

Miguel Gomez got his first major league hit, and it was a good one, coming after two big strikes against the breaking ball and winding up driving in a run in the Giants’ 8th-inning rally. In his first big spot of his major league career, he was certainly semi-useful.

With Austin Slater’s injury, Jarrett Parker being too old for the status, and the Giants totally over Mac Williamson, it’s a shame there aren’t going to be too many prospects to check out over the next 2.5 months. If we can’t have wins or prospects to watch, entertaining will just have to do.

It just makes sense that the Marlins would roll into town and bash in the Giants’ brains. Every year, the Marlins roll into town and embarrass good, decent, or average Giants teams, so why not further embarrass an embarrassing team on their home field when given the chance? The Marlins franchise, of course, is objectively terrible in terms of its public relations and ownership “quirks” so this weekend series very much had the air of Carrot Top dunking on Michael Richards.

What a marvelously talented lineup the Marlins have, too — I mean, besides A.J. Ellis and J.T. Realmuto. I love Giancarlo Stanton, you love Giancarlo Stanton, and Giancarlo Stanton is simply a joy to watch. He hits the ball hard, he has that “friendly giant” energy about him, and there was at some point in history a non-zero chance of him being on the Giants, too. He’s filled the Vladimir Guerrero-sized void in my soul and I’m so glad he’s around. Watching him utterly destroy baseballs is a thrill, and you have to think that the Giants players know they’re so unbearably awful and talentless that they’re just thrilled another player is so good he makes people forget that and focus on how great he is instead.

The ball was really flying out to right field today. Not only did Brandon Crawford clobber a 2-run homer out there, Nick Hundley smacked an opposite field home run over the brick wall, too, only the 16th time a right-handed Giant has done that. Justin Bour and Denard Span also crushed the ball into the alleyway, too. Say what you will about the politics of environmental policy and the fact that weather patterns will create global crises the likes of which history has never seen, but at least global warming will make AT&T Park a hitters’ park very soon.

On a personal note, I fear we’re past the point of George Kontos being a decent trade chip. He had that moment, that 2-2.5 week spot where he was a very effective strikeout reliever, but the past few bad outings have dashed my meager hopes of the team moving him. Not that Kontos is bad, just that his value to a bad team is negligible. He and Nunez would’ve been an interesting pair to move around this time. Alas...

Congratulations, fellow fanatic. You’ve survived the first half of 2017 San Francisco Giants Baseball. Your reward is freedom from watching them play for the next four days. And there’s still more good news: they’ve already played more than half their games, so “first half/second half” is a bit misleading. The Giants are much closer to this dreadful season being over than yesterday.

But let’s take stock of how fortunate we’ve been in 2017. The Giants tried their hardest to put together the best possible team available to them through drafting & development, trade, and free agency. They’ve managed to assemble the worst $200 million dollar roster in professional sports history, and that’s an accomplishment that simply should not be ignored.

This organization put together three World Series-winning teams over the past decade and essentially the same group of brains and talent look like they’re woefully ill-equipped to work and compete in modern professional baseball. If we go back to last year’s All-Star Break, the Giants ended the first half with baseball’s best record at 57-33 (.633). That’s excellent. I want more baseball like that. They went 30-42 (.417) in the second half, which is bad, and I want less baseball like that. Combine the second half of last year with this year’s first half (34-56; .377), though, and the picture gets even uglier: 64-98 (.395).

What happened at last year’s trade deadline? Was the team too clever by half with their big trades or was their a colossal failure of talent evaluation?

At least the Jeff Luhnow-led Astros of 2011-2013 were putting together the worst possible teams a talent evaluator could imagine on purpose, but this sad accident with the Giants feels far less hopeful. They’re losing — badly — with essentially the same group of guys they plan to have on the roster of their next good team... whenever that may be.

After 90 games:

  • 2017 Giants 34-56
  • 2011 Astros 30-60
  • 2012 Astros 34-56
  • 2013 Astros 32-58

So, if there’s somehow a connection to be made between modern rebuilding franchises, then the 2017 Giants are the 2012 Astros, meaning they’re just 3 seasons away from getting back to the playoffs. How good will a 33-year old Buster Posey be? Will Jeff Samardzija and Ty Blach be an effective 1-2 combo at the top of the rotation? Plenty of questions for the future, but the only question for now is why?

There’s no shame in trying and failing. Trying your absolute best and failing on a historical level, though... that’s something else. Shame is probably irrelevant in a $9 billion dollar industry, so let’s just agree that what happened this year isn’t just some aberration. It’s not something that can be hoped away with the positive-sounding “reload”... the Giants are drastic failures. Drastic measures will be needed to staunch the failure.

Buster Posey plays again on Tuesday, and that’s something worth watching.