The Giants won a game, and here’s why that’s extra exciting: They need to win one more stupid game before we’re sure they won’t lose 100. Part of me wants to go full Bryan and root for the nihilism. Another, larger, part of me wants the Giants to lose fewer games than 100 games because, holy Bonds, 100 losses is a lot of losses.
While I like to pretend that this season has made me dead inside, there’s still a little room for the extra-dead that comes with 100 losses. I’ve rooted for awful teams before, and only one of them has lost 100 games. I don’t need another. It’s not healthy. It’s possible to root for the first-overall pick and the Giants avoiding the ultimate humiliation at the same time.
(The Giants are tied for the first-overall pick now. I think the tiebreaker is the Phillies being stupid and smelling like Chase Utley so they lose the tiebreaker, but I’ll have to check on that.)
They Giants won by a bunch of runs, so many runs, and it’s an unfamiliar feeling. Baseball-Reference.com has a tool on the front page that shows you the margin of victory or defeat for a given team. The green lines indicate the margin of victory. The red lines indicate the margin of defeat. It looks like this:
Ha ha, that’s a lot of red, fellas! Well, it happens, we still love you, ha ha, but could you do something about all that red, ha ha?
Anyway, this is what that graph looks like when you isolate wins by four runs or more — the non-save situations.
That doesn’t include Monday night, but it gives you an idea. These are oases. There were three in the first month. Then there was a desolate hellscape. Then there were two of these wins in a row at one point! But never again. With tonight’s win included, that means that there were 22 limited-stress wins. Which means that every 10 games, we got a limited-stress win, cash value 1/100 of a cent.
Limited-stress wins are so fun. I know we inject the one-run wins straight into the jugular, and there’s something about a Cliff Lee/Tim Lincecum duel in Game 5 that makes us all tingly, but if baseball needs to have a season that’s 457 games, the limited-stress wins are nourishing. They help you survive the interminably long season. There have to be more than 22 limited-stress wins.
Heck, look at the Dodgers this year:
Just a whole lot more until you get to the last couple months in which THE GIANTS ARE TOTALLY BETTER, HA HA, SUCK IT DODGERS, LOOK AT THAT ONE SAD LIMITED-STRESS WIN AND aw, man, they had another one tonight. But you can see how many limited stress wins an exceptional team can enjoy. I’m envious. Gimme those limited stress wins.
Tonight’s limited stress win came courtesy of a few heroes. Hunter Pence hit a long opposite-field home run. Jarrett Parker was 3-for-4, with a pair of doubles. Nick Hundley hit the long three-run homer that turned it from a maybe-i-dunno-whatever win into a limited-stress win. The Diamondbacks made four errors, which seems unfortunate until you remember that they stole the Giants’ timeline this year. Then it doesn’t feel so bad.
At the same time, the Diamondbacks actually had a more laughable lineup than the Giants did before the game. It’s true! The real Diamondbacks were all pukey and celebration-saturated, so the Giants had to face the understudies. Hey, that’s how they won that one Dodgers game, too. Just give us the half-drunk bleary teams, and we’re good.
But that shouldn’t take away from Johnny Cueto, who is intent on confusing us all to heck before the end of the season.
He’s good! Yes, you can tell that by the eight strikeouts in six innings, along with the meager seven baserunners. He’s quality. He’s excellent. You want this pitcher in your rotation.
He’s messed up! No, you can tell by the fact that he walked Gregor Blanco twice without provocation. You probably have a good sense of how Blanco handles get-it-in fastballs at this point, which means you probably have an idea of how ludicrous it is to nibble with Blanco at this point. But Cueto is incapable of nibbling the way he used to. This is sketchy. This is unfamiliar. You’re not sure if you want this pitcher in your rotation.
Still pretty sure that I want this pitcher in the rotation, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be around, regardless of what I want. This game was a positive outing. Cueto missed bats and befuddled hitters, even he if wasn’t hyper-dominant.
That’s okay. Put the hyper-dominant in some tupperware and save it for next year.
Nick Hundley was the star of the night with his three-run homer, and he got some recap love over here.
It’s a fun group to win with, when we have won. I can’t imagine how much better it’d be if we were winning more games.
Buddy, I’m with you. The talk then turns to the ability and desire involved with the Giants’ ability to re-sign Hundley. It seems like a natural fit here. He knows where they keep the extra rolls of toilet paper and stuff, so why would he want to leave?
At the same time, the Giants aren’t likely to be interested in a backup catcher at a mid-tier starter salary, so this might be the last we see of him. He was pretty danged effective, especially after his early season slump. I’m hoping he’s back, even if it seems more unlikely with games like this.