Have you ever wondered how a mid-tier sports blogger writes their recaps?
No? Then dang it, I have to delete the 4,000 words I just wrote detailing my creative process.
Here’s the truncated version: while the San Francisco Giants play, I jot a few notes into the McCovey Chronicles content management system. As the game nears its conclusion, and after it is finished, I go in through the notes and flush them out (and also flush some of them down the toilet).
There you go. A titillating look behind the curtain, isn’t it?
Anyway, here’s what my notes looked like when the Giants game ended on Friday:
none of this matters!
If you’ve stuck with me for the last half a year, you’ve probably noticed that’s been a central theme. This has been a year marked by historic pandemics, horrendous civil injustices, environmental disasters, and unfathomable political failures.
Baseball is rarely big picture important, but it’s especially unimportant now. And with the Giants game starting mere hours after ... well, you were alive on Friday, I presume ... it felt quadruply unimportant.
That’s not to say that baseball isn’t fun or exciting. As dubious as I was about the 2020 MLB season happening, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it, and I get excited every time my watch shows that it’s Giants Baseball O’Clock.
It’s just that, on days like this, it’s hard to care much about the negative outcomes outside of them being the cherry on top of the ol’ [redacted] sundae.
It doesn’t help when the Giants play poorly, and let me tell you something: On Friday the Giants played poorly. Yes, they were matched up against one of baseball’s best teams, the Oakland A’s. And yes, they were without their best player, Mike Yastrzemski. And yes, the outcome was what you feared and perhaps expected.
Funny how that works.
The Giants lost in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and pitching.
It was an ominous start, when, in the first inning, they started to kick things away defensively. With one on and one out, second baseman Donovan Solano moved to his left to field a grounder, and decided to go against his body to try and get the runner at second. The throw likely would have been late had it been on target, but it wasn’t on target. That runner would eventually score.
They kept that energy in the third and fourth innings with their pitching, when Logan Webb couldn’t find the strike zone except when hanging meatballs over the plate.
Webb gave up a trio of runs in the third and another pair in the fourth, finally leaving the game after 3.1 innings, having allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs, while striking out just 1 of the 20 batters he faced. Lest you think those numbers are not reflective of how he pitched, let me tell you: they are.
The big hit was a three-run home run by Matt Olson, who is having a hilarious season. It was Olson’s 14th homer and 41st RBI (numbers that would rank fifth and sixth, respectively, on last year’s 162-game Giants squad). His batting average? .191.
And finally, not to be outdone, the Giants offense matched and exceeded the poor performances by the defense and the pitching, mustering just three hits on the day, one of which was of the infield variety. They did walk five times (twice by Brandon Belt, because obviously), but had just four at-bats with runners in scoring position all night.
The Giants had exactly two exciting plays all game: A double by Brandon Crawford, and this defensive gem, also by Crawford:
Crawford ran all the way back to San Francisco to make this catch pic.twitter.com/LJsd4vJwAH— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 19, 2020
Other than that, everything was dreadful, and the Giants lost 6-0.
Baseball isn’t important, but sometimes that just makes the bad games even more deflating.