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Giants vs. Blue Jays, 5/14

Nick Vincent (0-1, 3.11 FIP) vs. Trent Thornton (0-4, 4.74 FIP)

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing season ticket holders have made clear over the years it’s that they really wanted the Giants to sign Mark Melancon, didn’t want the Giants to go anywhere near Bryce Harper, and strongly object to the idea of their favorite team using The Opener.

Maybe we fans might not have any idea what we’re talking about? Or are too emotional to know what we truly want? We want the Giants to win, but only in a very specific way?

One of those ways is for the Giants to have good starting pitching again, like when there was Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner. Yeah, that’d be great. That’s what every team wants. Short of that, though, shouldn’t the goal be to win a game by any means necessary?

Apparently not. The fan base would rather the team lose with bad starters than increase the chances of winning a little bit more by trying something a little less conventional.

No, seriously.

Exhibit 1:

When Farhan Zaidi stood in front of a group of Giants season-ticket holders in January, he was asked if he was serious about occasionally using an opener. The new president of baseball operations volleyed the question back, asking the fans if they would still be against an opener if he could guarantee them that the strategy would improve the Giants’ chances.

Zaidi learned a lesson that day. The majority of the fans in the room confirmed that yes, they would still be against the opener, a recent addition to MLB rotations, even if it helped the club’s chances.

Exhibit 2:

But, to be fair, maybe it’s this same strain of antidisestablishmentarianism that fuels the NO DH IN THE NL crowd, and that’s a position I can get behind. Heck, it’s my position, too.

Part of the pleasure in watching baseball is having our expectations met. There’s a shape to baseball, and changing that shape, even if the essence is still basically there, disrupts the experience to the point of distraction.

If a hobby is distracting or upsetting, I think I get it — someone’s getting a haircut right next to your picnic. Now there are little hairs in your potato salad.

On the other hand, the Giants need a haircut. Or some sort of radical makeover. The shaggy, professionally questionable status quo look they’re showing in public cannot continue. For the team’s sake, and just to continue this ill-considered metaphor, they just didn’t want to keep getting ingrown hairs and losing out on job opportunities because of their rough look.

Anyway, enough about The Opener and what the future holds. The Giants are just trying to get through the next couple of days without totally embarrassing themselves. Not only does an opener help them in that respect tonight, but so does facing the Blue Jays, who’ve gone 2-10 in their last 12 and won a total of five games since the Giants saw them last month.

The really exciting part of all that is they debuted Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who’s off to a really poor start to what has been projected to be a Hall of Fame career. There may be kismet this evening, however. The Giants couldn’t stop Nick Senzel from coming up and immediately playing at an All-Star level and maybe they’re exactly what Vladito needs to get things going. That should work to our benefit as baseball fans as we’re sure to be entertained as he pummels our team.

Trent Thornton has had a Thanos season so far. He’s made eight starts: half of them have been solid to good, half of them have been poor to awful. He gave up four runs in five innings against the Giants on April 23rd in the Jays’ 7-6 loss. Joe Panik and Evan Longoria homered off of him. In his most recent start, he got knocked out in the third inning after giving up five runs on seven hits (including two home runs) and two walks.

Longoria won’t be in tonight’s lineup, but Joe Panik will be.

2B — Joe Panik
RF — Steven Duggar
3B — Pablo Sandoval
1B — Brandon Belt
C — Stephen Vogt
CF — Kevin Pillar
SS — Brandon Crawford
LF — Mac Williamson
OP — Nick Vincent

Aaron Altherr has also been activated and is available off the bench. Together with Tyler Austin and Evan Longoria, the Giants basically have three right-handed power threats to come in and pinch hit later in the game or on a double switch to accommodate the opener situation.

In terms of how The Opener situation is supposed to work out...

In other words: we’ll see!