Grab a Bud Light, the beer of Tyler Rogers’ choice. Grab a second and a third, so you don’t have to keep getting up.
Kick back in your favorite chair. Wear something cozy. Put your feet up. Take a large, exaggerated sigh to represent your readiness for the recreation that awaits you.
Grab the remote. Locate the fast forward button. It’s two arrows pointing to the right. The first arrow represents that we’re going forward. The second arrow represents that we’re going there fast.
Press the button and hold down. Watch, in 10x speed, the Giants get on the board in the first inning after a LaMonte Wade Jr. leadoff double, then watch Anthony DeSclafani look like he’ll have another disaster against the Dodgers, then watch him get that figured out, then watch him give up a two-run home run to Will Smith, then watch the Giants offense do nothing.
After a few minutes of watching the players run around like ants on party drugs, you should be at the ninth inning. Let go of the fast forward button. Open that first beer. Maybe the second one, too. You’re done with the remote now, so you have two free hands. Might as well take advantage of that.
Here you are. It’s the ninth inning, and the Giants trail the Dodgers 3-1. A day after Rogers avenged his prior day’s ninth-inning meltdown with a save, the Dodgers are trying to do the same with Kenley Jansen.
Let’s see what happens.
Batter No. 1: Mike Yastrzemski
Yastrzemski strikes out on three straight pitches, including two swings and misses. It seems that Jansen has it tonight.
Batter No. 2: Wilmer Flores
Flores was the one who had the huge hit on Wednesday, knocking a mammoth two-run bomb off of Jansen to give the Giants the lead.
He can’t give them the lead here, or even tie the game. But he can start the rally, which he does by singling one the other way.
One on, one out.
Batter No. 3: Alex Dickerson
Dickerson works the count a bit, and you start to dream about him hitting a hanging slider over the fence to tie the game.
But he strikes out instead, and you realize that this is probably just one of those games where Jansen has it. That is most games.
One on, two out.
Batter No. 4: Donovan Solano
Solano is not the ideal person for the situation. He doesn’t have a lot of power, and right now you’re really just hoping for a home run.
Then Donnie Barrels cracks one to center and you start to believe. Cody Bellinger races back and back, and you think “oh my goodness, did he actually do it?”
And then the ball goes off the wall. Flores stops at third. Solano gave it a hell of a ride. But the Giants are still an out away from doom. You smile that smile that acknowledges a good, albeit failed effort.
Two on, two out.
Batter No. 5: Jason Vosler
Vosler gets pinch-hitting duties and quickly falls behind in the count 1-2. So this is how it ends, you think.
Somehow Vosler lays off a strikingly gorgeous low slider to even the count, then spits on two high fastballs to draw a walk. The line keeps moving, but the Giants still have to find a way to score at least two runs before recording an out.
Three on, two out.
Batter No. 6: Thairo Estrada
It’s at this point where you’re starting to think this might actually be a thing. The Giants might actually pull off a ruthlessly rude ninth inning comeback for the second straight day.
Right as you’re entertaining that notion, Estrada hits a routine ground ball to shortstop. Chris Taylor fields it cleanly, then sidearms it to Sheldon Neuse at second base. The out is called. The game is over.
Briefly, that is. Thank god for baseball EKG machines. Vosler sure was close at second, wasn’t he?
And so the Giants challenge, and by the time you’ve come to grips with the fact that while Vosler was definitely safe there’s probably not enough to overturn it, the umps have shed their headphones and deemed second base his to rightfully inhabit.
He would have been out if Taylor rushed the throw. He would have been out if Neuse had stretched even a little bit for the ball. Estrada probably would have been out if Taylor threw to first.
None of those things happened, and the Giants scored a run. They now trail just 3-2.
But it’s not all on the Dodgers. Score one for Vosler and the coaching staff.
Jason Vosler said first base coach Antoan Richardson reminded him to take an aggressive enough lead to be safe on a ground ball, and that extra inch or two made the difference in the ballgame.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 23, 2021
Three on, two out.
Batter No. 7: Darin Ruf
Even in a righty on righty matchup, this feels like good news for the Giants. Yet you’re nervous as all hell, because the math says that Ruf is likely to be retired, but your heart tells you that you’d find that awfully disappointing, even if it’s the likely outcome.
Ruf takes a pitch well off the plate. Ball one.
Ruf takes a second pitch well off the plate. Ball two.
Ruf takes a third pitch well off the plate. Strike one?
That’s ... certainly a choice the umpire made.
Ruf seemed a bit rattled by that, and swung through another pitch well off the plate to even the count 2-2.
He took another pitch well off the plate, and it was a full count. One more ball and the game was tied.
Jansen threw a ball. Ruf tried to check his swing. It’s a fun idea to think that Ruf checked his swing, but fun ideas are not always correct ideas, and Ruf definitely did not check his swing. Ruf swung his swing.
But the baseball gods and goddesses are just and fair, and recognizing that Ruf had already taken four pitches outside of the strike zone, granted strike three as a retroactive ball four.
The game was tied, and Dave Roberts — a baseball atheist who does not believe in the baseball gods and goddesses — was ejected in the ninth inning for the second straight night.
The Giants tied the game and Dave Roberts LOST HIS MIND pic.twitter.com/93BzpqWfE4— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 23, 2021
Three on, two out.
Batter No. 8: LaMonte Wade Jr.
With the idea of a ghostrunner looming over everyone, Wade lined a ball into right field. Billy McKinstrey — making his Dodgers debut — tried his best to play the role of a hero, but couldn’t quite get there. Happens to Dodgers a lot, it seems. The ball fell in front of him, and two runs scored.
The Giants led.
Batter No. 9: Buster Posey
Posey grounded out to end the inning. There’s nothing exciting there but sometimes you need a boring final chapter or else the story doesn’t make sense. Didn’t want to leave you hanging thinking the Giants only recorded two outs in the inning.
Jake McGee gave Rogers a much-deserved day off, and earned the save. The Giants won 5-3. I imagine it was a touch humiliating and more than a tad deflating for all of the Dodgers and their fans.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Bud Lights to drink while I think about those Dodger tears.