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Giants drop game, series

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Giancarlo Stanton was merciful, but the Giants lost anyway.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Miami Marlins
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The Giants lost the game. The Giants lost the series. They’ll head into the four-game series with the Phillies just 2½ games behind the worst record in baseball and the first-overall pick. Sure, the goals have changed, but there are still goals, people. Why fall down the stairs when you can fall down the stairs and face first into a pie? That’s my motto. Don’t bother with the second-worst record in the league if you have a chance to go all the way.

And the Giants might go all the way. They give us such hope.

The question of the day comes by way of ESPN’s David Schoenfield, who writes ...

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than this: Pablo Sandoval is hitting cleanup today.

My first instinct is to agree. My second instinct is to wonder if there’s anything that went wrong today that’s even worse than that. So I’ll build the recap around it.

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than Matt Cain starting at all. He’s making a start because Johnny Cueto and Tyler Beede are hurt. He’s making a start because Joan Gregorio was suspended for PEDs. More accurately, he’s making a start because the weekend rainout screwed up the Giants’ schedule, but the fact that he’s starting at all is sort of amazing. It’s 2017. He’s been bad since 2013.

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than Matt Cain pitching well today. I’m not going to pretend that he had no-hit stuff, but he had some sort of weird wipeout slider that we haven’t seen in a while, and Marlins hitters had troubles making contact. Giancarlo Stanton got a hit, but it was fisted out to right. And Cain allowed only two earned runs, which brings up the next part.

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than the Giants not catching the ball. Not necessarily making errors — although they did that — but just not catching the balls that other players might have.

That fister from Stanton? It came with Dee Gordon running on the pitch, and it would have been an easy double play if it were caught. Hunter Pence didn’t have quite enough juice to get there, and while he’s fast and alert and a hustle monster, I’m left to wonder if another outfielder could have turned first-and-third with no outs into two outs, nobody on. I honestly don’t know if Jason Heyward could have caught it if he were given a heads up which direction he needed to lean, but the thought is there, and it feels so very 2017 Giants for a starting pitcher to take the blame for a ball that an outfielder just missed.

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than Brandon Crawford not catching the ball.

GIANTS: We plan to contend this season on the strength of these good baseball players, who are good at baseball.

BASEBALL GODS: You forgot to send in your renewal paperwork. So most of them are bad now.

GIANTS: well

GIANTS: shoot

Brandon Crawford has been good at defense this year, don’t get me wrong. He’s still a top defender according to FanGraphs. It’s just the idea, though. “Oh, you’re used to Crawford making every single routine play? Here’s him borking one that leads to several runs. Sorry.” That’s how the whole season has been, just in different areas.

“Oh, you got used to Johnny Cueto being good? Looks like somebody didn’t read the fine print.”

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than them not hitting a damned thing against a pitcher they’ve seen just twice before. Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than them not hitting the reliever who came in after that, the one sporting a 7.04 ERA.

Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than Brandon Belt and Joe Panik both being out with concussions, which means that Buster Posey’s rest day was going to look ugly, no matter whom the Giants put in the lineup.

And, yeah, Panda hitting cleanup is pretty danged symbolic, too. Though he had a hit and a walk and played some okay defense, so he wasn’t even the reason the Giants lost. Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than Sandoval hitting into a double play at exactly the wrong time, though.

Is there a winner, something that was more symbolic than everything else? No. No, there were no winners, here. Everything is equally responsible. Nothing symbolizes what has gone wrong with the Giants in 2017 more than the Giants losing by a lot and taking all sorts of different routes to get there.

I’m starting to worry about where this season is going, really.