Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some Perspective

After last nights game, Giants fans are going to be quick to point out that the ‘Baseball Gods’ have it out for their squad. They couldn’t be more wrong. Perhaps it’s time to look at last night in a different way – and perhaps the previous 25 games will allow us to do that.

The first important thing to note about the ninth inning of last nights game is not the now infamous broken bat triple. It’s the walk that directly preceded it. When I played in college, a leadoff walk resulted in all of the pitching staff having to run two poles, i.e. running the length of the outfield from foul pole to foul pole. Two poles also resulted when a pitcher began a batter 0-2 and then walked him. Jonathan Sanchez accomplished both those feats last night to begin the ninth. As for the triple, Gonzalez may well have been as unlucky as he was lucky. According to CarGon, he barreled the baseball. I reviewed the replay and it seems he was telling the truth. There’s a strong likelihood that if the bat doesn’t break, the ball simply goes further and Ross doesn’t get to it anyway. It wasn’t a bad break, it was baseball.

Players and teams make their own luck – they don’t wait around for it. On August 3rd I was flying high and so were the Giants. I’d just watched the Giants complete a sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday with my soon to be Father-In-Law – after having proposed to my now fiancé just three days prior – then beat the tar out of the Rockies 10-0. They were a season high 16 games over .500 – which I’m certain is a better record than they’d had since 2004. The Giants had scored more runs than any team in baseball in July amidst Posey’s torrid hitting streak. Then they turned into pumpkins.

Over the next twenty-five (25) games – which brings us to present – the Giants’ starters would go three and thirteen with nine no decisions (3-13-9). That’s remarkable for a team supposedly built on pitching. More startling perhaps is the fact that their Ace, Tim Lincecum, has been freakishly terrible. He’s 0-5 in that span, and among his five turns I assure you there are no tough losses among them. Rather, he’s one start away from a half-dozen eggs. The 25 games remarkably manage to look even worse when strung together in a list. Here’s the rotations line: L, L, ND, L, L, ND, L, ND, ND, L, ND, L, L, L, W, W, L, L, W, ND, ND, L, L, ND, ND. They lost the August 4th game to the Rockies in convincing fashion. They then dropped three of four at the hand of the Braves. Take three of four from the dreadful Cubs. That series was quite telling in the fact that they were managing to beat the Cubs but needing dramatics each night to do it. They couldn’t just beat them business like. They followed that by dropping four of the next five series’ against the Padres, Cardinals, Phillies and … Diamondbacks, only managing to win a series against the Reds in which they’d score 38 runs – somehow. Toss last nights crushing loss on top and here we are.

The starting pitching has been awful, the defense crummy and the offense as consistent as the temperature of a microwaved Hot Pocket. They’ve rarely if ever put it all together at once in 2010. That same coach that had us running poles in college had another philosophy. If you threw a groundball that should have been an inning ending double play that instead resulted in no outs, then gave up a three run jack? That sure as heck wasn’t going to work as an excuse. He’d say, “…who cares, who said you had to serve up the next pitch on a platter?” It’s time for the Giants and their fans to stop making excuses and to be accountable. If they’d just played .500 baseball over the past 25 games they’d be just ½ game out.
I don’t know if they have another run in them, but I hope they do. Here’s to hoping September is much kinder than August.

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