I was tempted to copy-and-paste the recap from Thursday’s game here for today’s 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was its spiritual twin in many ways: decent but strained starting pitching, missed scoring opportunities for San Francisco, an inability to finish opposing hitters in 2-strike counts or close out innings, a dramatic Darin Ruf home run to tie the game and offer a flash of hope for Giant fans, a lead briefly held, a defensive miscue, a bullpen pitcher unable to hold the line in late-game tie.
RUF TIES IT UP pic.twitter.com/bCj1WmMUAZ— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 24, 2022
Play with the order a bit in the sequence of events, but the series finale that capped the four game sweep in Los Angeles had it all in 2022 San Francisco Giants bingo.
Starter Alex Cobb went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. He was able to limit the damage in the 1st to just one run after the three Monstars at the top of the Dodger lineup hit consecutive singles before an out was recorded.
Gifted a lead with a two RBI single from Thairo Estrada off Clayton Kershaw in the 3rd, Cobb was unable to wrap up the bottom half of the inning after retiring both Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman on ground outs. The next four batters reached base: all of them were battling in two-strike counts, three of the four did damage on Cobb’s splitter. The Dodger’s deficit was quickly flipped to a 2 run gain. No sweat.
Frustrating for Cobb. Frustrating for Bay Area viewers.
“Not good enough.”— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 25, 2022
Kapler reflects on the Giants’ fourth straight loss in Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/d24VcZQRmO
From top to bottom, Los Angeles has a lineup of professional hitters with incredible pitch recognition and zone discipline. They are an incredible team in the midst of another very good dammit incredibly good season. Please don’t make me type incredible again. It’s almost as if they prefer to bat down in the count, or on their last leg in an inning. It clears their head or something. Zens them out. Focuses them. Whatever it is—Giants pitching couldn’t seem to find the door when facing this lineup. That’s LA for ya—they grind you down and wear you out until the sun loses its warmth and your life is drained of any semblance of light or joy.
Let’s put that feeling into numbers.
The Dodgers logged 22 two-out RBIs in the series. 22 out of 25. 22 of their 25 runs in the past four games came with two outs…
Who wants to put themselves through the torture of trying to figure out how many of those runs crossed home after 2-strike counts? My wager: a sufficient amount for me to consider dropping this whole baseball writing thing cold. I always wanted to be a guy who drives a John Deere cart at the San Diego Zoo. Doesn’t sound like a bad gig—just zipping around from the polar bears at the Northern Frontier to the hippopotamus enclosure. A simple life.
I’m clearly processing things right now. I’m sure, dear reader, you are too.
Being swept by your arch rivals will do that to you—and it doesn’t help that even without the back to back to back to back losses, our team is having an identity crisis of its own. Who are the 2022 Giants? What are they? A .500 team? A postseason dark horse? A pile of spare parts? Buyers? Or sellers? Or do-nothing-ers?
The All Star Break didn’t bring any answers. Now it might be more convoluted.
Yes, the Giants just got swept by the Dodgers and we feel like a bunch of losers. Way back in 2021, in the midst of a division race with those SoCal knuckleheads, this would’ve been devastating. Simpler times in ‘21 AD—but San Francisco shouldn’t fart in the general direction of the NL West crown any more. The pressure to repeat is off and that might be a blessing. As great as it is to take it LA, the Giants shouldn’t necessarily make any life decisions based on what happens in a series like this.
I know, I know—these are the teams we will face in October. But I’m trying to stay positive...and let’s just get there first! We don’t need to dominate LA to do that (though dropping the back 9 against the boys in blue won’t help either).
San Francisco has a week of games against Arizona and Chicago before the trade deadline and (cough) four more games against the Dodgers. But it’s those match-ups against sub-.500 teams that will clear the air for this squad looking for answers,
See you in the desert.