One day doesn’t tell you anything about a season. Not a thing. It could be Game 1 or it could be Game 74, but it’s just one game out of 162. If Game 74 is a dud, then oh well, there’s another one tomorrow. If Game 1 is a dud, oh boy, you think, this is gonna be a long season. Think about this for half a second and it’s plainly ridiculous. The Giants couldn’t hit yesterday. Oh well. We’ve seen plenty of games where good Giants teams couldn’t hit. It happens. Let’s move on.
On the other hand, oh boy, this is gonna be a long season.
Yesterday afternoon’s game was a distillation of every fear Giants fans have about this team. The pitching was good because of course it was, but they couldn’t hit because of course they couldn’t. The new young outfielders who were supposed to inject some energy into the team? When it really mattered, Bruce Bochy pinch hit for them with uninspiring veterans, because of course he did.
Yesterday did as much as it possibly could to let you know that the pessimistic side of you, the little Bryan in your head, was right. But it wasn’t just the Giants game shoving reality in your face and screaming that it’s not 2012 anymore. Just a 2 hour drive away, according to Google Maps and not local traffic horror stories — please do not send me your horror stories of Southern California traffic — the Dodgers started the season off by being everything the Giants aren’t.
In LA yesterday, the Dodgers obliterated Zack Greinke. Greinke, like the entire Giants infield, was really good in 2015. Unlike anyone on the Giants, he’s also been good for the last two years, but that didn’t mean anything in the face of the Dodger onslaught.
The Dodgers hit 8 home runs yesterday, and the Giants probably won’t hit 8 home runs all season. On the offensive side of the ball, the Dodgers perpetually seem to be young, dynamic, and powerful. They rummaged around in Oakland’s recycle bin in 2017 and found Max Muncy, who hit 35 homers in the majors last year; the Giants started Michael Reed in right field yesterday, who has hit 38 home runs in more than 3,000 professional plate appearances.
The Dodgers have won the NL West for six straight seasons, and the only three players still around from their first one in 2013 are Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenley Jansen. They have turned over their entire offense and still kept rolling; meanwhile, the Giants are still building around their stars from way back when, because they haven’t found anyone else who can contribute.
2013 was the beginning of the Dodgers’ run, and if you think of it as their 2010 Giants season, then we’re well into what should be the decline phase of their run. But they’re showing no signs of slowing down, while the Giants, who hired Farhan Zaidi away from the Dodgers in large part so that he could do the same thing, have shown no signs of doing anything but slowing down. Maybe the gaggle of minor league free agents on Sacramento’s roster this year will produce a Muncy or a Turner or a Taylor, but for now, just like basically all the hitters on the big league roster, none of them seem particularly exciting or powerful.
None of this is to say that Zaidi can’t engineer a turnaround or that the Giants will be hopeless forever, perpetually pushing that Dodgers stone up a hill, only to yell “1988!” at it when it falls down at the end of the day. They do have a long way to go, though, and every 2-0 loss is just one more sign of how far away they are.