I started doing yoga in front of the television around the eighth inning. Buster Posey was throwing all these people out and the FOX broadcasters were mispronouncing everyone’s names and it was a tie game against the Dodgers in the middle of September. I was doing Triangle Pose and drinking my banana-mango smoothie because, as you all know, baseball games make me nervous. Vah-ree nervous.
This is triangle pose. It’s a great pose for lazy people like me who don’t actually do yoga.
Anyhows, this was a good game all around: close, good pitching and some nice bits of situational hitting. It didn’t go the Giants direction, in the end, but Matt Cain was almost entirely dazzling and Buster Posey was marvelous, marvelous, marvelous. He was involved in both of the Giants runs and threw out a career record three runners. Two of them were back to back, Hanley twice and Ethier once.
This game was that example of a time when the team just has to be that much better. That being not that much at all. And it’s not exactly something you can pinpoint or try to fix, because some days one team will be there and the other won’t be. The Giants have made some choices of offense over defense and it’s paid off. It didn’t, today, but that doesn’t mean we should scrap the whole idea, of course. (Although if they decided to scrap the whole idea in favor of turning the San Francisco Giants into the San Francisco Giants Cupcake Shop & Café, I would totally be down for that.)
In other news, Matt Kemp was out today and tomorrow with a shoulder injury. We can add him to the long list of causalities on opposing teams that the Giants have left in their wake. I haven’t ruled voodoo out yet. I think I’m going have to open up a research project, this offseason, to analyze that ever-so-slightly-disturbing trend.
I shouldn’t be feeling this optimistic after a series loss to Arizona. But I am. Partially, probably, because the Dodgers lost last night to San Diego, which is even worse than losing to Arizona. So that’s good. And I maintain that I think the Giants are doing a lot of things right at the moment. Sure, they got no-hit into the seventh last night and the pitching staff is kind of yawning and saying, Is this over yet? but none of that changes the fact that they’ve held onto a four game lead with the Dodgers coming in tomorrow night. The Dodgers can’t take a division lead no matter what happens this weekend, remember?
Vogey is this close to taking a nap right there in the dugout. Man after my own heart.
The Chosen One is facing Tim Lincecum tomorrow, as well, in a funny turn of events. He sadly does not bear a great resemblance (read: no resemblance at all) to the Best Chosen One Ever – Luke Skywalker, of course – but he was supposed to bring balance to The Force and stuff when he came to LA, so it should be interesting to see what he does, facing the opponent in this pennant. I think I promised not to use “interesting” in relation to Tim Lincecum again, so just intuit how I feel about him, okay?
Okay, maybe a teensy resemblance.
Lastly, to people who are saying the NL West is the new AL East… you’re probably the same people who say pink is the new black every season. No. Just no. Pink will never replace black and the NL West will be never the AL East. Particularly not with the Giants as the Red Sox. I mean, to add insult to injury. Couldn’t we at least be the Yankees? Couldn’t a sensible color like blue be the new black?
p.s. Since there seems to have been a rash of on-field fights across Major League Baseball, now seems like a good moment to break out the, “Peace out! And check out my ump-themed tote!” photo.
Henry Schulman said the Giants clubhouse was quiet last night, but the atmosphere with the fans? The eventual loss in the eleventh inning couldn’t crush that. This Giants team suddenly looks stronger in a thousand and one ways and the fight they put up was really something to watch. Let me be the millionth person to say that something special is happening in San Francisco right now and not in that they are having incredibly, painfully long games. More in that they look good. Really good. Arizona out-bullpenned them last night and the fact that it went down to extra innings points to the fact that they made other mistakes and missed other opportunities as well, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still 4.5 ahead of the Dodgers as we get deeper into September and they are looking up to the challenge.
Another explanation for why the Giants clubhouse was quiet last night: all the players were sleeping.
Hunter Pence: I’m going to ride my scooter home now and—
Marco Scutaro and Random Beat Writer turn to see why he stopped talking and see he’s fallen asleep by his locker. They drape a Giants snuggie (leftover from the giveaway/donated a few days later by a fan who realized he didn’t actually want it at all) over him and leave him to spend the night there. Alternately, one of them offers him a ride home. The impractical side of a scooter, see.
We have one more game against the Diamondbacks tonight and then an off day (unconfirmed: Hunter Pence is going to spend entire off-day sleeping) and then the Dodgers are coming to town for what’s sure to be a huge series. The great part of this huge series, though, is that no matter what, Los Angeles cannot take a division lead. We’re safe(ish).
p.s. A bunch of crazy people did yoga this morning on the field at AT&T Park. What do you call the opposite of Bikram Yoga? Freezing-cold-why-did-I-sign-up-for-this yoga? Because that’s what they were doing.
Before I get to the fabulousness of Marco Scutaro, I just want to comment on the other (semi)major storyline of today’s game. Courtesy of @RaelEnteenCSN on Twitter, we found out that Hunter Pence bought a new scooter and rode it to the ballpark today. He parked it in the clubhouse but then somebody took it for a joyride. That somebody being Marco Scutaro. (In other news, Twitter has completely ruined practical jokes, similarly to how it’s ruined gift-giving. Seriously, how many times a day do you see people tweeting about the gifts they’re going to give on Twitter? Do they really think the future recipient can’t, you know, look at their tweets?) Anyway. Back to the point. I took one thing away from this story. Say Marco Scutaro’s name out loud and you’ll understand.
Ahem. We’re going to leave that blip of immature hilarity in our past now, okay?
Scutaro did other things than have a name like a scooter. When there were runners in RISP – amazing enough to begin with – and it was the tenth and it was tied and we reallyreallyneededawin Scutaro came through and hit the ball did just that for the Giants on Labor Day and Star Wars Day and Orange-Banana Smoothie Day. Okay, I made that last part up. But still. A lot of people really came through and although Zito ended up struggling, after starting off quite well, the team put together a win. Aubrey Huff had his first at-bat since June when the Giants played the Rangers in the Best Series Ever and got a single and Guillermo Mota, cough syrup in hand – I kid, I kid – pretty much bombed. An interesting day over all and a very, very good win.
I’m off to celebrate Labor Day now. Speaking of kidding. I’ve never really understood how to celebrate Labor Day, but I haven’t watched The Hobbit trailer in a while and there all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies in the house, so that sounds like a celebration to me.
Chicago treated us awfully well. (And San Diego scored 10 runs today, so although they lost, the Jed-Hoyer-ditching-the-Cubbies-for-a-West-Coast-vacay theory still seems increasingly likely.) He was probably all, “I miss you, I’m going back home to the West Coast!” and the Padres were all, “Yay! Come! We’ll make you cupcakes!”
I’m a good hipster. That was the first thing I thought of when I wrote that.
So he did (go back home to the West Coast, that is). He also snuck some magic potion in Xavier Nady and quite probably Matt Cain, too. In case you’re wondering, that’s not a doping reference. It was a reference to the greatest series of comic books that have ever been created, Asterix and Obelix. They’re French comics, but they’ve almost all been translated into English and if you haven’t read them, you seriously need to go do it now.
Alternately, read all the statistics about the records the Giants and Dodgers would have to have to end in a tie for first place. It’s a little mindblowing. In a good way. A very, very good way. Additionally, the A’s have the same record as the Yankees now and Bud Selig is more in love with the second wildcard than ever. Needless to say, he and I are going to have a little talk.
But I admit it: this second wildcard is a lot of fun, even if it’s kind of morally abhorrent or whatever.
Anyway, have a lovely Labor Day, peoples! The Diamondbacks will be in town tomorrow and over in Oakland, Billy Beane is in a fabulous mood. (But he still looks nothing like Brad Pitt.)