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One bad inning can rot the whole barrel

So can a few bad innings, for that matter.

Alex Cobb leaping to try and catch a ball Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Forgive me for quoting a show that everyone watches but no one admits to liking, but I take in every San Francisco Giants game, which means about 250 times a year Wilmer Flores comes to bat at Oracle Park and I’ll be there for youuuuuuuuu comes blasting through the park speakers loud enough to make it into my apartment, and so I’ve got Friends on the brain.

So here’s what happened in the Giants game:

Yep. The Giants were indeed just cruising along against the New York Mets, thanks to a much-needed hit from Evan Longoria (who went 2-4 with a double), and one of the more impressive Giant swings of the season: Brandon Crawford taking on dead center with ease, against a lefty who, in his career, had surrendered just three home runs to left-handed hitters in 129 plate appearances.

And then BAM! They got hit by a blue and orange bus.

The bus could have avoided them. It really could have. Darin Ruf tried oh so hard to be avoided by the bus, but in the process he kind of ran into the bus, which hurts even more.

New York had loaded the bases in the third inning, but there were two outs. Alex Cobb got Francisco Lindor — a four-time All-Star — to hit a lazy, shallow fly ball, but it was a half marathon for Ruf. He gave it the ol’ college try, but much like the wagon in Calvin and Hobbes, Ruf does not particularly have a functioning set of brakes.

He overran the ball, overran the field, and ended up ass over teakettle in the stands, with the ball bouncing into the seats with him in a show of solidarity.

Had the ball been a few inches to the left, it would have been foul. Had the Giants not been so hilariously injured, Ruf would not have been in left field. And had Ruf simply made a better play on the ball, which he’s capable of, the inning would have been over.

Instead, two runs scored.

And exactly one pitch later, Pete Alonso sat on a breaking ball and launched it into the ether, and you knew in your heart of hearts that this game was over.

Which isn’t to say the Mets were done. Far from it.

They added an extra run in the sixth off of poor Alex Cobb who ... look, he deserved better. Yes, he gave up 10 hits, and yes, some of them were hit quite hard. He also pounded the strike zone, avoided walks entirely, and struck out seven batters. The two hitters who singled immediately before Lindor’s double (when there were already two outs) had expected batting averages on their hits of .160 and .200.

Lindor’s double had an expected batting average of .010. One out of every 100 times that ball scores some runs. 99 out of every 100 times it ends the inning. He also gave up a single with an expected batting average of .090, and even the sixth-inning RBI double sat at just .330.

Or, to let someone else put it more succinctly for me:

Yes, it should have been a much better outing for Cobb. But it wasn’t, and that’s baseball.

The Mets added four runs in the eighth inning, which featured a goofy reenactment of Joc Pederson’s trip to Milwaukee. With Jeff McNeil in the batter’s box, the on-field mics clearly caught a fan yelling, “You need to work on your legs McNeil, you have no power!”

You can guess what the outcome of that particular at bat was. Many a power was featured.

And then the Mets added three more runs in the ninth inning when the Giants sent Luis González to the mound, making it the first time in well over 100 years that the franchise had used a position player as a pitcher in consecutive games (the tracking data only went back to 1906, so it very well may have been the first time).

González threw 19 pitches. 18 of those pitches were between 39 and 45 mph. And one of them was 83 mph.

I have a few questions.

All of that led to the Giants trailing by 11 runs, so when they mounted an epic ninth-inning rally with three singles, it still fell 10 runs short, and they lost 13-3.

The baseball they are playing right now is not good. But tomorrow’s a new day, or so I’ve been told.

We’ll see.