Sunday, September 13, 2009
We're (Still) In This Thing!
This is such a bloody infuriating team. They spend an entire week swinging the bat like the second coming of the 1992 Angels, seemingly primed to rip the orange and black hearts from our chests as a near-miracle season winds down. Then...hope. A glimmer, yes, but hope. The Giants are four-and-a-half back of Colorado. If they sweep them in the next three games, they're right back in the thick of things with 16 games left to play. If they lose just one game, they're probably done. Being a long time Giants fan, I probably should have learned some time ago that I'm just bound to be disappointed (well, more likely devastated), but what the hell? Masochism and Giants fanaticism go hand-in-hand apparently.
I went to Friday night's game, stewed through nine innings of a brutal 10-3 loss, and left with a strong urge to drive right off the Bay Bridge. It had to be the worst Giants game I've ever attended, and I've been to some stinkers. After every hard hit ball into the gap, drunken Dodger fans laughed and danced a jig around me. Two little kids dressed in LA peraphernalia in front of me got in on the act, yelling "Giants suck!" at all within earshot, as for the first time in my life I felt the distinct desire to cold-cock an eight-year-old. When the game ended, Giants fans death-marched out of the stadium and into the cold night wondering what in (Dodger) blue hell they had done to deserve this treatment.
From my seat down the third base line, I got a great view of Giants hitters being completely outclassed by the Dodgers. With Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, the Giants made him look like Greg Maddux, swinging at bad first pitches and hitting weak ground balls all night. Meanwhile, the Dodgers were bleeding Matt Cain dry, working deep counts and running up his pitch total so that he was gone after six. Through six innings I think Kuroda had only thrown like 59 pitches. Yes, this inept Giant offense really has to be seen up close to truly be appreciated. The next night was virtually a carbon copy of Friday night's debacle, and I tuned out early and leapt into the warm embrace of my Netflix pile.
The Giants aren't going to score much in the next couple of weeks, as our good friend Captain Obvious can tell you. That means if the Giants are going to sneak into the playoffs it'll be via pitching and some of the ugliest winning you'll ever see. Hell, we've been watching it all year. Never has a team turned scoring on wild pitches and slow-hit infield choppers into such an art form.
Luckily the Giants have the arms to pull out the miraculous, and nine games left with the awful DBacks and Padres help. The addition of Brad Penny has been brilliant, and the Giants go into this stretch with five pitchers starting who can completely shut you down on any given day. That's a wonderful thing to have in a gritty fight for a playoff berth, moreso since the Giants are probably going to average like .5 runs scored in that span.
I will say one thing: If the Giants continue to play Eli Whiteside over Buster Posey when Bengie Molina gets a day off, they just aren't serious about winning. Whiteside has been a decent backup and all, but let's face it. If Posey were installed in the lineup right now he'd be the Giants' second-best player. He should be starting instead of Molina but that'll never happen. When he's losing time to Whiteside, though, that's just brain damage.