Record: 30-23. Pace: 92-70. Change on last season: 0
I'm sorry: these are not the San Francisco Giants I signed up to face. I signed up for the franchise widely predicted to have the worst record in the National League, and probably lose somewhere around 100 games. There appears to have been some kind of mistake - these Giants came into the impregnable fortress known as Chase, and pounded our butts to the tune of 17-6 in the first two games. I would like to return them for the anticipated woeful bunch of Bonds-less losers. I still have the receipt somewhere.
Ouch. That'll leave a mark. And, I note from the opening line, bring us back on track with the 2007 version of the team for the first time in a long while. Since they went on to win games #54-56 inclusive, we're going to have to seriously pull up our socks if we don't want to end this homestand in negative territory and trailing ourselves from last season. We can't hit, we can't pitch and we can't play defense. How in hell is this team still 3.5 games ahead in the NL West? We've now lost five of our last seven games and yet, have actually increased our lead by half a game in that time. Sheesh: I can only imagine what the rest of the division has been doing. Oh, yeah: losing to the other divisions. The NL West now has a combined record of 22-31 against the East and 31-47 facing the Central.
Where to start tonight? Not that I really want to, for this is the kind of humiliating defeat that is best ignored entirely. As tonight's Gameday Thread proved, in which we managed to accumulate more than 750 comments, most of them not dealing with the actual game at all. Can't say I blame anyone. Let's being with Doug Davis, who was awful: nine hits, three walks and six earned runs in five innings of work. That said, he just about kept us in the game until the four-run fifth, and he would probably have got out of that unscathed, except for an ill-conceived stab at a comebacker with the bases-loaded. That turned a potential double-play into an RBI infield single; an RBI walk and a two-run single later, the Giants were 6-0 up and the discussion of ice-cream could begin in earnest.
Our bullpen hardly covered itself in glory, allowing five earned runs in the four frames of mop-up duty. Juan Cruz was the worst offender, with what started off as a fairly typical Cruz performance: walk, swinging K, walk. He then allowed a double and was lifted from the game complaining of a sore neck. This was also experienced by the 24,336 in attendance, who strained their muscles watching the Giants players whizz around the base-paths. Slaten and Gonzalez followed, while Brandon Lyon appeared in among the least save-like situations of his career, as we trailed 11-3. [On August 24, 2005, he did come in to a game against the Mets when we were 16-0 down!] He struck out the side, around a couple of hits, becoming the only pitcher to escape unscathed.
That was a rare pleasant point on a night where we sucked on just about every level. If we're clutching at straws, Justin Upton finally got a hit, ending his streak at 0-for-27. He thereby dodged setting the franchise record for such things, which remains at 0-for-30, by both Steve Finley in April 2001, and Travis Lee in July-August 1999. J-Up, however, had rather more strikeouts during his streak, than that pair combined - he added another two K's tonight, and is now tied with Mark Reynolds on 62, equal third in the majors [Ryan Howard, remarkably, is already on 76, on pace to smash all known strikeout records into oblivion. By about the All-Star break...]
By the time Upton put us on the board with his two-run double, we were already ten runs down, so the words "damned with faint praise" come to mind as far as our offensive performance went tonight. Mark Reynolds showed signs of life with two hits, including his ninth homer, and a walk - if we can get him and Upton back on track, that will be a major step towards this team breaking out of their funk at the plate of late. In April, we collectively batted .268; in May so far, much the same roster has slumped to only .246. We are taking a few more walks, but the power outage has been dramatic; we had 36 homers through the end of April, but Reynolds' shot was only the team's 20th in May, with just three days to go. Reynolds, Upton and Jackson combined for 17 homers in the first month, but have only four since then.
Our worst performance in quite some time, but the best Gameday Thread turnout in a while too. I blame 'Skins, who cracked the double-century of posts, but got valuable assistance from: srdmad, soco, hotclaws, kishi, UofAZGrad, victor frankenstein, dahlian, mrssoco, likeavirgin, foulpole, 4 Corners Fan, RAMJB, Wimb, unnamedDBacksfan, IndyDBack and Zephon, the last-named who had the misfortune to be present at the game. Wisely, he left with the score 6-0, and it didn't get much better from there on.
As they say, it's always darkest before the dawn, and these couple of games have been pretty damn dark - ergo, it's time for light to peer over the horizon. Tomorrow sees a battle of more or less over-paid starters; normally the prospect of facing someone who's 1-8 would be an encouraging sign, but the way the offense has been playing of late, we'll probably get no-hit by Mr. Zito. I know it doesn't feel like it, but do please try to remember that we are not just still atop the division, we have also got the biggest lead in all baseball. The rest of the season starts here...