When the ninth inning began, the Giants trailed the Brewers 4-3. They had every right to try and win the game, even if the odds were a little against them.
In the bottom of the ninth, they scored the two run they needed. Unfortunately, by that time, the Brewers had made it 7-3.
If the Giants had kept the score at 4-3 going to the bottom half of the inning, would they still have scored those runs? Who knows. The baseball butterfly effect is a wild thing, and even though Milwaukee’s closer, Corey Knebel was pitching, there’s no telling how differently he would have pitched in a situation that actually mattered.
But here’s what I do know: with a legitimate shot at winning the baseball game, the Giants gave the ninth inning to Chris Stratton. And after that, they no longer had a legitimate shot at winning the baseball game.
I mean no disrespect to Stratton, but there’s a reason he was in AAA yesterday, and there’s a reason that, when he was called up today, the corresponding move was an infielder, not a pitcher.
The Giants got six innings out of their starting pitcher. Yet, for some reason, they sent out the eight member of the bullpen for the ninth inning of a one-run game.
In Stratton’s defense, he entered in the eighth inning, with the bases loaded, and secured a strikeout. That’s all good and honorable, but what was he doing in that situation as well?
The Giants are good enough to make a push for the playoffs. They’re not good enough to do so with any margin for error.
Otherwise, it was the prototypical baseball game between a team deeply entrenched in a playoff race, and a team wistfully dreaming of entering one. The Giants played a reasonable, solid baseball game. The Brewers played one that was notably better.
It was a competitive game for eight innings, and then the better team won. If you’re looking for some sort of deep analysis on that, you’ve come to the wrong place. The better team won a rather standard baseball game.
That said, the game ended with the tying run in the batter’s box, and it ended on a strike three call that was a few inches outside. Nick Hundley argued his case, but the game was over, and the battle was lost.
Milwaukee deserved to win the game, but that sure is a stinker of a way for it to end.
I repeat: the Giants don’t have any margin for error, and that extends to things like luck and umpiring.
Speaking of luck, baseball is a stupid, cruel, ruthless game. In the eighth inning of a tied game, Mark Melancon got what appeared to be an inning-ending double-play ball. But Christian Yelich was stealing, and doing so drew Brandon Crawford’s momentum juuuust enough away from the ball that he couldn’t make the play. A pair of seeing-eye base hits later, and the Brewers had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Melancon’s Giants tenure has been a mystical concoction of poor pitching and horrendous luck. He seems to blow a lead or a tie in every other outing, and yet, after most of them, I tend to leave feeling like he got the short end of that stick.
Baseball is a stupid game.
Earlier today, Bryan talked about how there were merits to both booing Josh Hader, and staying silent, avoiding more attention towards his hateful xenophobia. It was a good, important article.
While I concur that there is power in silence, I’ll be honest: hearing AT&T Park boo Hader made me happy and proud.
Chorus of boos for Josh Hader here in San Francisco.— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) July 27, 2018
It's Hader's first road game since his racist and homophobic tweets surfaced. pic.twitter.com/3m0oqKgyPp
But when all was said and done, Hader got the winning decision.
Baseball is a stupid, stupid game.