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Lights turn on, illuminating nothing

Early delays postpone what feels like the inevitable San Francisco loss

Umpires convene on field as a lights issue delays the Giants-Padres game in the 3rd inning Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants hoped the lights finally turning on was a metaphor.

The stadium light stands were operating below capacity—clearly on, but unable to illuminate the field enough that the umpires had to suspend play at the top of the 3rd until the issue was resolved.

At that time, the San Diego Padres had already tagged starter Carlos Rodón for 3 runs. An unwelcome and unexpected development not only because of how dominant Rodón has been in his past outings, but how the 1st inning rally ambushed him.

It started humbly enough with a one out walk.

Juan Soto, as advertised, turned an 0-2 count into a 10-pitch base-on-balls by fouling off elevated fastballs and willing breaking balls into the dirt with his telepathic glare.

Somehow the showdown was more impressive that it culminated with a walk rather than a home run. Is it more maddening for a pitcher? I think so. The pitcher ostensibly makes a mistake when he allows a home run and the batter capitalizes on it. One pitch and its settled.

Soto’s free bag wasn’t free. It was earned. Rodón didn’t miss his locations by much in that 10-pitch sequence, and Soto parsed each offering within milliseconds, correctly re-organizing four-seamers into fouls and sliders into balls dropping out of the zone. He spat on each breaking ball. Swung and spoiled three letter-high fastballs. 0-2 to 3-2. (Is Juan Soto better at being Brandon Belt than Brandon Belt is?)

By the time the AB was over, Soto trotted to first and Rodón looked like he wanted to walk off the pitcher’s mound into McCovey Cove.

It might seem over-the-top that I give this much credence to a 1st inning walk, but it set the tone for the rest of the Padres half inning which set the tone for the next 8 and a half.

Rodón had been dominant. He took the mound breathing fire—Soto’s plate appearance didn’t slay him, but it revealed the chink in his armor.

With two outs, Soto advanced to second on a ball in the dirt. Josh Bell then singled him home on an elevated fastball. The next pitch Rodón threw was a cheesy fastball to Brandon Drury that he jumped on for a 2-run homer.

2 pitches = 3 runs. The math somehow makes sense no matter how much Rodón shakes his head in disbelief.

The Oracle bulbs bursting on did not precipitate a proverbial switch being flipped for San Francisco’s offense. The light delay merely prolonged an already tiresome game and guaranteed a short leash for both team’s starters.

Rodón threw 94 pitches over 4 innings, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits with 4 BBs and 2 Ks. It was his highest walk total of the season and matched his lowest for strikeouts on the season.

San Diego starter Mike Clevinger went complete 5 innings and man, that little dance he does before each pitch is especially annoying when he has a lead.

Mike Krukow calls it the cha-cha, he also compared it to his kids bathroom squirm when they have to pee. Both are apt. I liken it to my cat when she kneads my stomach, purring and drooling uncontrollably. Making biscuits is what the internet calls it and that’s what Clevinger does on the mound. It worked for him tonight. The only blemish was a 2-run homer in the 4th off the bat of Joc Pederson. The blast marked Pederson’s 19th for the season, but only his second long ball since the All-Star Break.

To be honest, I fell asleep a little bit in those middle innings. The snooze was a release, a welcome respite. I didn’t miss much. The Giants made things interested in the later innings, mounting a rally in the 8th that culminated in 2-out RBIs by Austin Slater and J.D. Davis good for 3 runs, but it was too little too late. The runs stalled out and San Diego secured the 6-5 win after 4-hours plus of waiting.

San Francisco’s losing skid is at 5 games. Their 8.5 games behind San Diego. September is right around the corner, a month chock-full of match-ups against division rivals and Wild Card contenders awaits and the Giants seem to be chasing their own tail rather than a playoff berth.

Same time today then?