Regardless of what happened later in the game, Friday night was already a moral victory. While the rest of the Bay Area melted into a puddle, Johnny Cueto was cool as hell. He was back, he was pitching, and he reminded everyone why he was so fun to watch. That’s all that mattered.
When it came time to turn the moral victory into an actual victory, the Giants screwed that up. They put their keys in the ignition, and they were ready to start that sucker up, except they were in a photo booth in the mall. A security guard had to ask them to leave. Then they got their sandals stuck in the escalator.
It’s quite possible that the 2017 Giants don’t know what they’re doing.
Sam Dyson’s sinkers didn’t sink. Hunter Strickland’s sliders didn’t slide. Mark Melancon is still pitching for some reason, and he gave up a run. The Giants allowed nine unanswered runs, and they blew a game in which they scored five runs or more. That’s the 15th time they’ve done that, and they’ve scored five runs or more in just 47 games this year. They’ve lost 32 percent of those games, which is currently the fourth-worst winning percentage since moving to San Francisco.
The Giants allowed four triples. That’s just the seventh time they’ve done that since 1913. They lost all of those games.
Yes, it was a night of horrible stats and records. Did you know this was the dumbest lost since that other one from earlier this season, possibly last night? It’s true.
I had to rewrite a ton of this, and with every earned run, the keystrokes got louder and more obnoxious. I am the angry drifter at the library, pounding pounding pounding on the keyboard because someone on this O.A.R. message board is wrong wrong wrong, and I have to prove it to them with the force of my typing. What a sloppy, sloppy mess.
Dyson gets a pass. He hasn’t done a lot of this lately.
Melancon should be shut down. He’s been rough the last two games.
Strickland is still infuriating, and it’s getting to the point where the years of team control on his contract give me night sweats. The Giants have to explore a deal for him in the offseason. It looks so much worse close up.
The Giants lost again. I don’t know why it keeps surprising me, but the plot twists are so good, so deftly applied. I still feel like they’re going to win when they’re leading, 5-2. I still feel like they’re going to win.
September is off to a solid start, everybody.
But Cueto looked healthy and right. The game was a hot air balloon crash, but he was shimmying and pausing and quick-pitching. He wasn’t perfect, but he was still a blessed sight for a team that hasn’t had too many of those this year.
In the year 2021, we’ll be watching Cueto’s second consecutive All-Star season and laughing that we were all so worried that he was going to opt out. Unless he pitches so well over his next five starts that he does opt out. Either way, I’m looking forward to however much Cueto we’re allotted.
He was fine in this game, especially considering he was coming off a brutal rehab start. His fastball was 90-91, but he’d occasionally hump up to 93 when he needed to, in the parlance of Mike Krukow. He was commanding his pitches well. Here’s a strikeout against Paul Dejong, a lab-grown Cardinals rookie having a great season:
That’s, in order ...
- Slider to steal strike one
- Fastball that just missed
- Changeup that was more tempting than the diagram suggests
- Fastball on the black
- Perfect changeup
Again, Cueto wasn’t perfect, and he allowed a long, long home run. But he was still very Cueto. And, lo, how I missed watching that.
Prior to Friday night, the wildest thing Brandon Crawford had done in his career was pick his Players Weekend nickname.
CRAWFORD: I’m going to do it.
CRAWFORD: I’m going with “B-Craw.”
CRAWFORD: The “B” is short for Brandon, and it’s not even close to my full first name.
CRAWFORD: The “Craw” is short for Crawford, and it’s not even close to my full last name.
CRAWFORD: Though it’s a little closer than when I used just “B” for Brandon.
CRAWFORD: It’s still unexpected.
CRAWFORD: I’m going to do it.
That is, it was the wildest thing he had ever done ... until he was SASSY toward an umpire after hitting his second home run in as many at-bats.
Brandon Crawford looked back at the ump to make sure he didn't get robbed again: pic.twitter.com/NjHK2AUgJ9— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) September 2, 2017
That was exactly what I was thinking about, too. Watching it live, I thought, “Stare down the umpire. STARE HIM DOWN.” Except it was Crawford, so there was no way.
Except he gave an extra look. And you know he said the snarkiest thing he could possibly imagine.
CRAWFORD (to self): So was that a homer, or ...
CRAWFORD (to self): Pfft.
He also added two doubles and one of the best plays of the season:
You can only hope to be as smooth as @bcraw35. pic.twitter.com/wnNsgmrpwi— MLB (@MLB) September 2, 2017
That was a player who was playing as well as he possibly could, someone personally explaining in quiet detail why his WAR was so high over the last few years. And the Giants still couldn’t win.
“And The Giants Still Couldn’t Win ... “ will be published in December. Pre-order a copy if you hate yourself.