So, a 3:35 PM start, huh? Well, that was fun… can’t wait for round two tomorrow!
There’s nothing quite like the extra-special way the Giants have lost to the Padres the past two seasons. Nothing quite like it. I was just sure they were going to right the ship and sweep the Padres out of their own yard, and during their home opener no less. Tonight sure fixed my wagon. After today, I’m just sure the euphoria of 2010 has finally dissipated and we’re back to the drawing board, back to trying to figure out how the heck to beat the stinkin’ Friars.
Back in college, I was slated to work a baseball camp for kids at Stanford University, which is actually just a nifty way for Stanford to steal money from rich parents without them even realizing — or something close anyway. But I digress. I was about two or three days into the camp and all was going according to plan. Easy money. That evening, I was eating dinner like I’d done so many times before. Probably chicken – I used to eat a lot of chicken. My wisdom tooth was bothering me, like it had many times before. I thought nothing of it because this sort of thing usually works itself out; it just stops hurting eventually.
Next morning, I looked liked Don Corleone, or a chipmunk, or both. Also, my tooth was absolutely killing me. So, I made an emergency appointment with the dentist. Much to my delight, I was informed: “That tooth has to come out. Today.” Splendid. Apparently, my tooth was infected.
A couple of hours later – and sparing you many of the gory details — I was laying on a table while a dentist (barbarian?) tore my teeth out… while I was awake. When you have your wisdoms removed on an impromptu basis, they don’t knock you out. The most alarming part about it, for those that haven’t experienced this absolutely wonderful event, is that taking wisdom teeth out is quite loud. But the silver lining was that I a) was high as a kite on laughing gas and b) was listening to Metallica – not the eh, Metallica either, but “The Black Album” Metallica.
But the reason I’ve told you this anecdote is that, as unpleasant as that day was, it was better than watching the Giants lose to the Padres in that extra special way. People will tell you: “I want to [do some-such thing] like I want a hole in my head.” Well, wisdom teeth are quite large, and literally leave a hole in your head when removed. And personally, I’d actually rather have that type of hole in my head than watch the Giants lose to the Padres again, in the manner they did today for what seems like the zillionth time. The way they did last year… over and over and over and over and over.
Not once during any of last seasons narrow losses, and not tonight, did anyone have the decency to give me headphones pouring the sweet, sweet noise of Metallica deep into my ears and a gas mask to fill my lungs with nitrous oxide. Not once.
Other things that are better than watching the Giants lose to the Padres:
1) Listening to every Nickelback song ever recorded in a single sitting
2) Watching From Justin to Kelly
3) Watching my fiancé file her nails – which just so happens to be my nails-on-a-chalkboard poison
4) Watching Yuniesky Betancourt play baseball
5) Listening to Joe Morgan disparage sabermetrics
6) Reading every word Murray Chass has ever written…
700,062) Instead of muting the television and watching the playoffs: closing your eyes and just listening to Tim McCarver and Joe Buck
That’s all I have for now. Feel free to add those I missed in the comments.
I could sit here and write about how umpire Marvin Hudson called a questionable strike on Buster Posey with the bases loaded in the top of third. That he called the same pitch a ball to Chase Headley in the bottom half, failing to ring him up and perhaps costing the Giants a run – they were either both balls or both strikes, it was the inconsistency that you fret over. But if I choose to do so, it’s going to feel an awful lot like I’m playing my best friend in Madden Football on Playstation 3 and whining that he’s “cheating” by running the same button-hook pattern 36 times in a row, making 36 straight completions and running the score up to 84-0.
I could do that. It’d be a decent play. But the truth is that the Padres took advantage, the Giants did not.
Before Buster had to expand his zone and grounded out to Aaron Harang, Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez struck out with runners on first and third with zero outs. In the bottom half, Madison Bumgarner couldn’t field a swinging bunt and throw Chris Denorfia out at first. And after Bumgarner was knocked out in the fourth inning with zero outs, the tandem of Guillermo Mota and Ramon Ramirez held the Padres to three base runners over five innings. Meanwhile, the Giants couldn’t score in any of those innings, nor the two prior after a feeble groundout in the first frame by Aubrey Huff netted them their only run of the game.
So here’s the bad news: Huff has a .549 OPS and one extra-base hit. Posey has a .536 OPS and zero extra-base hits. Torres has one extra-base hit, a .649 OPS and zero walks. Tejada has a .571 OPS and two extra-base hits – also, despite what Mike Krukow said on the broadcast today, his range is not superior to what Giants fans have seen the past couple of years (i.e. while Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria manned the keystone.) Despite the lauded plate discipline of the pup, Brandon Belt has a .580 OPS and one extra-base hit (the home run off of Chad Billingsley.) Pat Burrell has a .711 OPS – of note is the .211 OBP – with two extra-base hits, both solo home runs.
Three-fourths of the Giants lineup are hitting like Brian Bocock. They’ve scarcely been able to muster a hit with extra bases. And when they have hit home runs, they’ve mostly been without a soul on base. Of the six, only Belt’s blast tallied more than a single run. This is of course in addition to the three-ring circus act they’ve been calling their defense.
On a lighter note, the good news: Freddy Sanchez is hitting .368 with a 1.033 OPS and two extra-base hits. Pablo Sandoval has a .908 OPS with his single extra-base hit being a solo home run. He’s also running well and appears to have far better range than he did a year ago. What’s more, the smart bet is that the majority of the Giants’ hiters won’t continue to hit like a bunch of Jeff Mathis’ and the home runs they hit won’t all come without runners on base. I even think they’ll play decent defense.
And if that fails: This also tends to cheer me up. Either that or fire up the iPod and boost a nitrous oxide tank from the nearest dentist; A few more losses like this, and I’ll be willing to give it a shot.