The game began with Andrew McCutchen, who had appeared in 123 of the San Francisco Giants’ 127 games, not in the lineup.
He wasn’t in the clubhouse when media had access. He wasn’t on the field during warm-ups and batting practice.
He was on waivers.
The game ended with McCutchen in the on-deck circle, bat in hand and helmet on head, awaiting a pinch-hitting chance that never came.
That may never come.
McCutchen’s situation is a bittersweet one, whatever the resolution may be. I had a hard time enjoying the game, as the whole time I was thinking about how I may not seen McCutchen in a Giants jersey ever again. He’s a good Giant, even if he’s only played 123 games, in somewhat of a down year, in an orange and black jersey. I like him. I’ll miss him.
Then again, if he’s in the lineup tomorrow - and the next day, and the next day - I’ll be annoyed that the team, wholly incapable of honest self reflection, for not squeezing some prospects out of their tradable rentals.
No matter what happens, it’s a loss.
Hey, that kind of sums up the Giants right now, doesn’t it?
In the top of the first inning, Noah Syndergaard threw a changeup. It was a brilliant pitch, the type that looks exactly like a fastball, but, at a significantly slower speed, makes hitters look truly foolish.
It was 91 MPH.
In the bottom of the first inning, Casey Kelly threw a fastball, with everything that he had.
It was 91 MPH.
I don’t blame you if envy isn’t the first thing you emote when watching the New York Mets. They’re one of the few teams that manage to make the Giants look downright competitive.
But they’re still deserving of some envy. Syndergaard is better than anyone on the Giants roster. Jacob DeGrom is better than anyone on the Giants roster. Not only that, but the Giants’ best players are under honest-to-goodness contracts, while the Mets’ two-headed pitching monster is under cost-controlled team control.
Between the two, it’s easy to see how the team has a foundation for returning to success in the near future, or the trading chips that will allow them a hefty and efficient rebuild.
It’s a lot harder to find those things when looking at the Giants. Trust me; I’m looking as hard as I can.
Earlier today I wrote about how, even in a lost season, there’s Brandon Crawford and his defensive highlights.
Naturally he had an error in the first inning. And then one on the second inning.
Hunter Strickland got to pitch two innings in his quest to round back into shape, after his one-round pay-per-view match against a clubhouse door. Most likely, the Giants were just trying to get Strickland back into a groove, but if they were showcasing him for a potential trade, it didn’t go great.
Strickland gave up a fair amount of hard contact, including a home run to Todd Frazier, walked a batter, hit a batter, and seemed to be lacking both location and velocity.
It’s unlikely that any team interested in the former closer will be swayed one way or the other on a two-inning outing, but still . . . not good.
Since this recap has been all doom and gloom, let’s . . . . well, heck, let’s keep it up.
Brandon Belt since returning from the Disabled List: 5-24, 1 double, 0 home runs, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts.
Small sample size, certainly, but he looks a bit lost. It will indubitably pass, but if you’re looking for reasons to watch the Giants right now, one of the biggest ones remaining just isn’t there at the moment.
Okay, now for something completely different - something positive. Austin Slater, who has managed to provide a fair amount of value despite an OPS hovering around .700, let loose with a little power today. He had his first home run of the year, and it was far from cheap.
That was a beautiful swing, and a reminder that there are still some compelling players to keep your eye on as the season winds to a close.
This was a bummer of a game. But for better or for worse, they’ll wash it off and play again by the time you’re on to your second Thursday mimosa.