A Note on the Giants from August 11th, on August 16th
I suffer from crippling bouts of melancholy. So too must Jonathan Sanchez, in some roundabout way (it’s hard to imagine professional ball players being maudlin by nature), from the melancholy he’s been provoking in Giants fans recently. He got destroyed last night, in the same fashion (5 runs before the 5th) as his unfortunate evening with the Phillies last week. He’s now 0-4 in last 4 starts, which wouldn’t be so terribly, woefully depressing and melancholy-inducing but for a few glaring problems. 1) The loss dropped the Giants back a half game behind the Diamondbacks who have, this isn’t a typo, a +127 runs-scored differential with the Giants. 2) That the Giants’ runs-allowed differential with the the Diamondbacks is an encouraging -94 becomes less encouraging with effectively a four man rotation (Lincecum, Cain, Vogelsong and Bumgarner) to keep those runs down; all of them, even Cain, have been occasionally erratic this year. 3) Sanchez pitching badly means…more Barry Zito, who has been even more dreadful this year than Sanchez but is likely still a better option at pitcher than Aubrey Huff.
I went to the final game of the Phillies series this Sunday. It was the day after Sanchez’s last outing and the faux-brawl that erupted after Ramon Ramirez nearly decapitated Shane Victorino. The crowd was edgy, angry and nervy in a way it hasn’t been in a long time. This season the Giants are expected to win, now. They are making trades to win, now. But they are losing game after game, now. Lincecum was pitching-pitching to avoid a four game sweep at home- and the whole stadium seemed to be leaning forward, with bated breath. He opened the game with a four pitch walk and the entire stadium started to sink into the bay. He recovered, though, and after allowing a run to Roy Oswalt settled into throwing strikes. The Phillies never really threatened after that. But the lingering unease remained.
Summer in San Francisco is famously cold. It’s moody weather, brooding weather, good for whiskey cocktails and sweaters, the sort of weather that inspires beat poetry. It’s the sort of weather that looks and feels like you’ve just quietly slipped out of first place in a soft division, and if you don’t crawl back the rest of the country might not notice.