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Giants lose 6-3, Matt Moore struggles again

It was a competitive game, and then there were six minutes of doom.

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The thing about a struggling baseball player or team: After two steps forward, every step back looks like two steps back. Unless it actually was two steps back, in which case it now looks like four steps back. And if it was actually four steps back, I regret to inform you that you’ve fallen over the safety barrier and park rangers have been alerted, but they’ve been drinking. Good luck.

Matt Moore is not allowed to take a step back at this point, much less two. Not if we’re supposed to be calm and reasonable, which is impossible at this point. If there is to be confidence built and fear allayed, he has to be perfect or close to it.

Matt Moore had a brutal season, but he finished August and September with a 3.20 ERA and a bunch of strikeouts.

Yes! I can get behind that. I can put that little lump of carbon into the pellet stove and warm the house for a couple weeks this winter. Moore pitched poorly for most of the season, but he came back around right when the season was ending. Now that’s a narrative.

Matt Moore had a brutal season, but he did this thing in August where he had three pretty okay starts, followed by a miserable start, followed by a decent start, followed by ...

Nope. You can end that after the first clause. Everything after the comma is superfluous, even if that’s unfair. It’s possible that Moore has made myriad adjustments, and this is just a hiccup, not a belch. On the other hand, he has zero benefit-of-the-doubt chips left this season. He will not be issued new ones after the season.

In this game, Moore was cruising, by his standards, and then he fell into gaping maw of the fourth inning.

  • Home run
  • Hit by pitch
  • Walk
  • Sacrifice bunt that he tried to throw into left field
  • Home run

Six minutes and 22 seconds, I believe. The entire game was short of two hours, but in six minutes and 22 seconds, the GIants lost. It’s when the clouds parted, the full moon was revealed, and Moore turned back into Jonathan Sanchez. The cloud cover returned, and he wasn’t that bad, considering, but it was a helluva six minutes.

The bummer of it all is that the goodwill Moore had built up — three quality starts! — is forgotten. It took hours to build up over 10 days, and it was gone in six minutes. Now he’s the old Moore. The bad Moore. The Moore-is-less Moore. There he goes again.

I have no answers. I still don’t think the Giants can afford to decline his option, not when the upside is still there, lurking. This isn’t Lincecum throwing 88. This is Moore throwing hard, if not as hard, and continually screwing up.

Just imagine if the Giants were a game behind the wild card, though. You’d feel pretty lousy about this one. As is, it’s just another disappointing game in a disappointing season, an unnecessary data point that didn’t provide a lot of new information. Maybe Moore is broken.

At least the Giants have a good track record of knowing exactly when to cut bait.

Boy, I really didn’t take a lot of notes about this game. I mean, I did, but looking back on them, I realize that I don’t care nearly enough about any of them to write up. The Padres caught the ball after they didn’t. The Giants should have scored six runs, but they didn’t. Jarrett Parker probably deserved better luck and fairer calls, but he didn’t get either.

But Joe Panik hit a home run, and I’m very much into that idea. His home runs look like they belong, and what I mean by that is when someone like, say, Kelby Tomlinson hits a homer, there’s something off about it, like he didn’t mean to use the swing that led to the homer. Panik looks like he’s five sessions with Dr. Von Launchangle away from doing that whenever he wants, even if that’s overly optimistic.

Regardless on his 15-homer potential, Panik is one of the only young guys remaining on the Giants. This is a team that can’t point at a lot of players and say, “Yeah, this guy is entering his prime. He should be better.” Panik was an All-Star before, and he could be an All-Star again.

Even though the Giants won’t win again because you traded it all in for those three championships, you greedy pig-person. You knew what you were agreeing to. You knew what you were dooming us to. It’s playing out exactly like the hooved sulphur beast said it would, and you still agreed to it.

Yeah, well, same. But that doesn’t make it right.