It was a perfect San Francisco night for baseball and perfect baseball for San Francisco to see. The San Diego Padres shamelessly shook off the few casual fans they had left, cheated the system, and stole from other teams to burn down any semblance of a professional sports franchise so that at some point in the future, they could feature one of the most stacked organizations from a talent perspective that the sport had ever seen.
The Padres are probably a year or two away from realizing the mendacious AJ Preller’s master plan to build a winner, but next to the “playing the game the right way” Giants, they’re dangerous and talented, poised for a promising future. The Giants look like... um... I’ve run out of words because it has been a long day, so I will use this gif:
The Giants saw a hard hit ball once when they were a kid, but now hard hit balls are everywhere.
Is it Bobby Evans’ fault the entire world passed by a team that won three World Series? It feels like it happened overnight, but that’s probably too simplistic a view. The seeds of their collapse must have been sown years before. It’s impossible that one person is responsible for the downfall of an entire franchise. Okay, we’ve certainly seen examples in sports where that’s not true, so let me rephrase: it’s impossible that one person is solely responsible for the collapse of this organization.
And hey, your mileage may vary here. Plenty of readers have witnessed truly grotesque stretches of Giants Baseball: years and years of futility, nihilism, and Johnnie LeMaster; but this team won three world championships at the beginning of the decade. It’s hard to keep reloading a team, but the Giants are one of the top revenue teams in baseball, one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports, and play in one of the top media markets on planet Earth. They just have to be good all the time now. That’s part of the deal.
Tonight’s game was hardly a referendum — it might not have even held up a mirror so the Giants could see themselves for what they’ve become; but it was still tough to figure out which team was tanking to get better and which team was playing with pride because it will never rebuild.
Generally, though, it felt very much like two bad teams playing out the string. The game even started one minute early. Nobody wanted to be there and it showed. The Padres can’t help it if the roll out of bed with 10 times the talent as the current Giants roster.
Derek Holland made plenty of mistakes tonight and didn’t look very good. It was only his second start of the season where he recorded fewer than 3 strikeouts (he had a 0 strikeout game against Colorado in Coors on May 30th) and looked a lot like a guy making either his last or next-to-last start of the season.
This is only the fourth start of Bryan Mitchell’s career where he didn’t allow a run. He pitched 5.2 scoreless innings back in April against the Astros, so that should tell you why: he’s at his best against the very best...
Prior to this season’s pair of scoreless starts, he had two in September 2016 for the Yankees. The Padres were keen to acquire him because of his high spin, high velocity fastball and they were willing to choke down the $13+ million remaining on Chase Headley’s contract in order to get him. That’s probably the best way for the Giants to get out of their situation — chow down on bad deals to get slightly above average major league players.
In addition to those 4 scoreless starts, I need to point this out: tonight was also his 64th game. It was only his 25th scoreless appearance. Teams have scored off of Bryan Mitchell 60% of the time he’s appeared in a major league game. Even the Giants have done this. They just did it literally a week ago.
Instead, Mitchell’s fastball movement flustered them and his cutter up and away was dominant against righties. He looked really good against a really bad lineup, but since this is Major League Baseball, where it’s hard to do well, that’s a compliment, not a diss.
Still, it would be irresponsible of me to not mention that he has been a tremendously awful pitcher for his entire major league career (6.16 ERA this season before tonight’s game, 5.42 for his career). This was easily his best appearance. The Giants did that for him.
If you want to know more about Bryan Mitchell, here’s what I can tell you about Bryans with a Y... we’re chill on the outside, but we’re sensitive, thoughtful creatures on the inside. Deep thinkers and total stinkers when we haven’t eaten in six or seven hours. And, yes, to answer your burning question: every single one of us can throw a 94 mph fastball. I just choose not to because
Here is the highlight. I’ve gif’d the sole highlight: