And so it was that in the final game of a highly anticipated series, the Giants failed to make the Dodgers feel bad or nervous or dispirited. The Dodgers will advance to the postseason, and their fans will watch, excited about baseball. The Giants will not advance to the postseason, and this was their last chance to make us excited about baseball. This was the closest the Giants were going to come to the World Series, and they stunk. Also they were boring. And they stunk. They were boring and then they stunk, unless they stunk and they were boring.
I’m almost proud of them. It’s very on-brand, and I applaud their commitment to the role. It’s method acting at its finest. The 2017 Giants couldn’t even follow through with a Safeway Select Joe Morgan Home Run, for that is not their way. They exist to disappoint.
Apologies if I’m wallowing, here, but did you see that game? The Giants were awful, spectacularly awful. Matt Moore gave up a pair of runs five minutes after the National Anthem, and he nearly threw 32 pitches in a 20-minute first inning. The Giants were lucky to be down by just two. Then the defense made sure a national ESPN audience could get the full aroma and mouthfeel of this vintage, screwing up in several different ways within a short span. There was a 1-6-5-3 double play, just because, and then there was dumb defense.
For the second night in a row, Hunter Pence let a ball drop between him and a second baseman, which seems like something that shouldn’t happen at all, much less two nights in a row. And this just sets up a scenario in which Pence atomizes Joe Panik because he’s determined not to let it happen a third time. That would be the 2017 Giants’ way, and it’s just so pure. Then Pablo Sandoval screwed up a throw, which would have felt a lot worse if he weren’t hitting so well.
Somehow, Moore pitched his way out of that mess, which was the second-most exciting part of the game. The most exciting part was when Cody Bellinger hit a 440-foot home run that made me think of Barry Bonds. It allowed me to retreat into my mental archives, which was easily the best part of this game, in which the Giants stunk. And were boring. And stunk.
No, wait. Eli Whiteside yelled at everyone. That was the best part of the game. Whiteside telling everyone to wake the hell up, being reminded of Barry Bonds because of a long Dodger home run, and Matt Moore cleaning up a puddle of Giants defense on aisle 2. Those were the only positive things that happened in the entire game.
Yu Darvish entered the game with a lot of pressure on him, as he’s been mostly forgettable for the Dodgers after coming over in a trade that cost them one of their top prospects. The Giants gave him reasons to feel good about himself, just like they gave the entire team reasons to feel good. The Dodgers and Darvish entered the series with night terrors and crippling self-doubt. All of them will feel at peace. The Giants had one job, but the Dodgers came in with a losing streak, and they left with a winning streak.
If there’s solace to take from this game, it’s that the Giants stand alone with the worst record in baseball. That’s right, they might get the first-overall pick next year. I don’t know who the consensus prospect will be, but there’s a chance it will be Kumar Rocker, who grades as a pure 80 in the named-Kumar-Rocker category. I can get behind that.
The Giants also crept closer to 100 losses. They’ll have to go at least 6-8, and if you go by winning percentage, they have the toughest schedule in baseball. Frank Robinson was in the ballpark today, which meant the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast got to play this commercial:
What that YouTube video omits, though, is the slogan for 1984, which was “C’mon, Giants, Hang In There!”, which remains the worst slogan in baseball history. And I love it so. There were no illusions. There was no hope. There was only a plea to endure the baseball. The honesty is refreshing. This year’s slogan is, “Look out at the bottom, because several people above you were hanging in there, but now they’re achieving terminal velocity as their corpses rain upon you.” It’s less refreshing.
The Giants scored a run, though, with the help of defensive indifference. That was pretty cool.
Upon further review, that was the best part of the night. This has been your 2017 Giants update.