There are few things in this world that I love more than breakfast baseball. Pour a cup of coffee. Flip your eggs. Do the crossword. Pour another cup of coffee, you sludge-loving heathen. Turn on the San Francisco Giants game.
But breakfast, while beautiful, can sometimes be ruined. Sometimes all you want is a parfait, and it’s only after you’ve cut the fruit and put the granola in the wine glass (oh you think you’re so fancy) that you realize the yogurt is moldy. Sometimes you make a hot cup of coffee and then remember it’s 105 degrees out. Sometimes the waffles just don’t come out quite right.
Breakfast was bad for the Giants.
The Giants chose to eat at IHOP, and while I recognize that a 1,400-calorie pile of colorful, overly-sweet pancakes, with a side of shoddy bacon and seven cups of brown water is occasionally the perfect meal (particularly after a night of imbibing a few too many adult beverages), the Giants chose to eat at the other IHOP. The International House of Poop.
It all happened in the fifth inning. Seriously, all of it. It was a totally fine, albeit not noteworthy breakfast until then. It would have been a satisfactory, if not exemplary breakfast after then, if the “then” hadn’t happened.
But it happened. A demon fifth inning. Where one bad egg can (and did) rot the whole omelet.
The Giants were cruising entering the fifth. Or rather, Logan Webb was cruising. The offense was cruising in the same sense that a PT Cruiser cruises, which is to say I was laughing at how funny it looked.
Webb entered the fifth with a no-hitter. He was getting swings and misses. He was limiting hard contact. And then, through a glorious combination of slipping up, getting unlucky, and having the team’s poor defense rear its ugly head, Webb lost it all.
It started with a one-out single that had an expected batting average of .250. It moved on to a double with an expected batting average of .070. Webb walked the bases loaded, then dug deep for a one-out strikeout, keeping the game scoreless. Here came the magic that has come to define the team’s most compelling player over the last two years.
Needing just one out, Webb hung an 0-2 slider over the plate to Victor Reyes, who hit it squarely at Brandon Crawford. It took an intense hop. The kind of hop that, when converted into an out, makes you wonder how professional baseball players actually do their job.
Crawford has spent the better part of the last decade making us wonder that. He spent the better part of last year making us wonder that.
And this one kicked off his glove. It wasn’t an error, or even a bad play. But it was the absence of the play that we’re used to seeing, and that’s been the defining characteristic of this Giants season.
With two runs in, Webb hung another offspeed 0-2 pitch to Roger’s son, Kody Clemens, who showed off his cornhole touch by dropping the ball perfectly between the shifted infield and the outfield. The next batter, Harold Castro, snuck one right by Crawford.
Webb’s day, so brilliant a few batters prior, was over. And to stop the bleeding the Giants turned to Thomas Szapucki, who entered the game having retired just 23 of the 45 batters he’d faced in his MLB career.
He promptly gave up a double, and the Tigers, who entered the game having scored six or more runs just 16 times in 124 games, had put up six in one inning.
It was the breakfast equivalent of the waiter bringing out your gorgeous wild salmon benedict, then dropping it as they got to your table, and announcing that the kitchen had closed.
Let’s watch it!
Oh yeah. That’s just as awful as I remember. That’s why I’ve stopped eating breakfast most days.
The Giants got exactly one run back, on a single by Tommy La Stella, which represented their only hit in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Had they only played innings one, two, three, four, six, seven, eight, and nine, they would have won! Isn’t that nifty?
Instead, they ruined breakfast. As only they can do.