It’s the Giants and Phillies in 2017, everyone! If you’ll remember back to 2010, this was a big deal. If you’ll remember back to 2011, this was a really big deal. It’s the future, though. If they were bands, they would be playing at the county fair.
I keep looking around for Shane Victorino because I can’t hate ... [looks at index card] ... Nick Williams? And I’m sure the Phillies fans aren’t exactly tripping over themselves to hate Kelby Tomlinson or Jarrett Parker. What happened to the good old days? The days of yore? Remember those good times, buddy? Remember those good times?
Man, now that was a game. That was also the year that the Phillies tried to get their keys out of a sewer grate. The next year, they fell into the sewer. The year after that, as they were slaloming down a river of waste, they realized the keys were in their pocket the whole time. There are three more seasons after that if you want to keep the analogy going.
The point isn’t to make fun of the Phillies, but to realize that the Giants are trying to get that same set of keys, and they skipped a couple steps and fell directly into the sewer. This is the mirror series, and it’s instructive to look at the other team and realize they came into the season with a young rotation worth envying, and they fell into the toilet, which drains into the ... well, you know. Rebuilding doesn’t have to be quick. The progression doesn’t have to be nice and steady.
ANYWAY, the Phillies’ brightest light this season was Aaron Nola, who is an underrated George Lucas name because he grew up in Louisiana and went to LSU, which is like Tim Socal growing up in Long Beach and going to USC. This is the one part of the Phillies’ season that was going right — think of him as a combination of Buster Posey and Ty Blach, in a way. And the Giants actually hit him.
They hit him hard. They let him pitch himself into jams, and they drove the ball when he had to come over the plate. They had smart at-bats, and those smart at-bats translated into runs. The Giants scored five runs, which is 19th time they’ve scored five or more runs at AT&T Park in 60 tries. They’re 17-2 when they score five or more runs at home. I’m not a GM, but if they did that more often, why, they would be contenders again.
I wrote up there that Phillies fans probably can’t figure out how they’re supposed to hate Jarrett Parker and Kelby Tomlinson just yet. A couple more games like this would help. Parker was 2-for-3 with a walk and a couple of booming doubles to left-center and right-center, in that order. His double was the reason we got to see this moment of beauty:
The best part is when Span looked back with a smile because he absolutely knew that something was going on behind him, but he couldn’t look. Posey was at the plate, freaking out, there were Pence hooves making CLORMP CLORMP CLORLOMP sounds behind him, but he had to be disciplined and continue running as fast as he could. Bless him.
Tomlinson was a star, too, rapping two hits and making one of the best plays of his career:
An extraordinarily pretty play at the best possible time. I remember when Tomlinson first came up, and the Giants were drunk on the power of their middle infielder factory. Joe Panik was an All-Star, Matt Duffy was a Rookie of the Year finalist, and in the middle of all that, this spectacled fellow came up and started slapping the ball around. It was refreshing. Until he had to catch the ball. Then we realized we were being greedy, and a utility infielder ceiling would be enough of a gift, thanks.
Since then, he’s improved greatly. And while that’s still probably Tomlinson’s ceiling, I wouldn’t call him a defensive liability anymore. I don’t think I’ve thought of that in a while, even as his job often requires him to fill in for different Gold Glovers.
It was Parker and Tomlinson who helped Jeff Samardzija have a very Samardzija start and feel pretty good about it. Six innings (eh), four runs (ehhh), and two homers allowed (ehhhhhh) is definitely one of the songs you skip on the album, but it was definitely written in his style. And he got the win, after all (ayyyy), so it was a glimmer of how we would feel about him if this were a normal team.
With this win, the Giants moved four games behind the Phillies for the first-overall pick, and I’ll remind you at this point that you worry about that when the Giants lose, and you only do it to make yourself feel better. I don’t know if the Giants would have drafted Pedro Alvarez instead of Buster Posey, but I know that I was desperate for Alvarez to fall to them. The first-overall pick isn’t a talisman. I’d just as soon take the win in the hand, and let another team pick the player in the Matt Bush.
And as long as we’re making fun of the Padres, that’s the real goal for me. Catch the stupid Padres, who were designed to lose with a team that cost about $180 million less. Just do that much. Don’t worry about the Phillies and first-overall picks. Just catch the stupid Padres.
Six games back. That’s a dastardly climb. But that’s my pennant race now, and I’ll worry about the first-overall pick when the Giants lose and I need to placate myself. The Phillies are just another team to me right now.
A team that has fallen into the same sewer and has spoken with the Rat King, who has given them a similar quest. If we find the Rat King’s scepter, he can unite the Filth World under his rule, and the Giants can get back to the surface. It will take time, though. It will take time.
Also, the Giants won. It was a fun game! Should’ve listened to Doug, really.
This seems important: