I’m not sure there’s been a more Giantsy series than the one we just witnessed.
If you’re looking for an entry for your It Doesn’t Get Any More Giant scrapbook, start here. Please, start here.
The Giants lost 3-1 to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, and they won the series 2-1.
You might saying that winning a series is very unGiantsy, but baseball is too random to care about that. The Giants put a ring on .500 months ago, and have been dancing between series wins and series losses, willy nilly, ever since.
What makes this series so Giantsy is that they did, indeed, win it. After so recently splitting a four-game set with the putrid Mets, and getting swept by the floundering Reds, the Giants chose to dance with winning a series now. Now. Against the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks! The one team that has a chance of accomplishing the Giants only achievable task: keeping the Dodgers out of the playoffs.
Yes, It Doesn’t Get Any More Giant than saving your wins for when they kind of hurt, and saving your losses for when they hurt even more.
Beyond winning a series at the least exciting time, consider the Giantsy things that took place this series:
Their two wins came in utterly unconvincing fashion, while their one loss came in very convincing fashion. That’s been the story for the last few months; every win feels like, “well, that’s baseball,” while every loss feels like, “well, they’re the Giants.” That they were .500 mere hours ago may not defy logic, but it certainly defies my emotions.
On Monday, the Giants started Hunter Pence because god forbid they let one of baseball’s best hitters, Brandon Belt, face a strong lefty.
On Tuesday, Steven Duggar suffered a likely season-ending injury, but the Giants didn’t take him out of the game because he showed requisite toughness.
On Wednesday, Belt, the team’s best hitter, bat fifth against a right-hander.
I mean, come on. These jokes write themselves, even if I’m butchering the delivery. This series was a microcosm of the season, right there: questionable lineups, questionable lineup orders, myriad injuries, and blatant recklessness with said injuries. Sprinkle in the feckless play that this series was full of (they scored four runs, y’all, and only one of their 12 walks/hit batsmen scored) and it really, truly, emphatically doesn’t get any more Giant.
One of the things I love most about baseball - or rather, organized, professional baseball - is the opportunity for win-win trades. They happen every July and August. A bad team trades a good player that they don’t need, to a good team who does need the player, in exchange for some prospects that the bad team desperately needs and the good team can afford to part with. Everyone wins. You grade an A for the bad team, you grade an A for the good team as well. No losers (Note: The Giants had their opportunity for a few of these. They swung at ball four.)
Today’s game featured a funny moment: a rare lose-lose situation. Ahead in the count 0-2 against Nick Hundley, D-Backs pitcher Zack Godley lost control of a fastball, which elevated directly into Hundley’s shoulder blade. A week ago, someone gave me a congratulatory pat on my shoulder blade and I’m still taking ibuprofen for it.
It was funny, though, in a morbid sort of way. Hundley puffed out his cheeks and exhaled, then marched down the first base line with a look of anger. Godley paced around the mound furiously, as though trying to summon the intestinal fortitude necessary to pitch well again.
Both men were upset. The opponents both wished the outcome had not occurred.
These are the kinds of things that bring you joy when it’s nearly September and your team is .500.
In the sixth inning, Gregor Blanco made his return’s return, and promptly drove a ball to deep right-center. Tell me if this reminds you of anyone:
It wasn’t a perfect impression - no right-hander can have one - but it was the closest thing that I can remember seeing.
In the top half of the inning, Bruce Bochy brought Hunter Strickland in to face the back of the Arizona lineup. To that point Godley, due up third, had hit three different Giants batters.
All I’m going to say is that Bochy has a lot more trust and faith in people than I do.
Strickland did not throw a heater at his opponent’s caboose, thank Godley. He did, however, seem to have a difficult time getting him out. Strickland ultimately succeeded, and had a clean inning, but the reliever simply hasn’t looked the same since returning from the DL. His velocity is down, and his pitches don’t appear as dynamic or dangerous.
Hopefully that’s just a result of getting back into game shape.
This recap was a bit pessimistic. This season has been a bit problematic. And that game was a bit of a dud.
And yet, after sitting through three hours of that crap, my heart sunk a little when Mike Krukow mentioned that there’s an off day tomorrow.
I’m bummed, even though It Doesn’t Get Any More Giant is more of a gag than a rallying cry.
Baseball is weird.