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.
I took a lot of photos of my blood orange San Pellegrino and it was absolutely delicious and then I Instagramed the photos and it tasted even better, because Instagram is weird like that, but the point is: none of that helped. Sadly, I am actually writing today to recall any advice I may have given yesterday. And I don’t even have any new advice. (Which is kind of pathetic.) Why? Because I’ve come to a realization. A disappointing realization, but a realization all the same. Here it is:
Nothing helps with the stress of ohmygodTimLincecumispitching.
I will give you a moment to recover from the mind = blown thing.
Ready? Okay. Yeah. I was pretty shocked too. I’ve gotten pretty good, over the years, at eating pickles and painting my nails and making frappuccino cupcakes and all that stuff that relieves the stress of the Giants being… stressful, for lack of a better word. I thought the San Pellegrino was going to help. But it didn’t. And if the best drink on earth (other than black coffee, of course) can’t help then absolutely nothing can.
We will just have to suffer. And bite our nails. And not have excuses to make cupcakes based on Starbucks drinks, which is probably the saddest part of all.
Still, the obvious brilliance of the Dodgers blockbuster deal is turning out a bit like Blockbuster the movie store, ‘member that? Didn’t turn out so well. I mean, yes, A-Gon hit the ball a billion miles in his first at-bat, but then Josh Beckett kindly gave it right back, allowing a homer to the first batter he faced in his first start in Dodger Blue. As of this moment, the Dodgers are losing 1-0 to the Rockies (I laughed uncontrollably at the writing of that) and the Giants are still two games up on ‘em. Heading to Minute Maid Park. Things don’t look so dismal after all.
In a shockingly good move for the post-Theo-Epstein Red Sox, they unloaded a lot of players on the Dodgers and then basically laughed all the way to the bank. They got James Loney, ‘cause he’s lonely and they felt badly or whatever and a nice quad of prospects as well. The Dodgers got one of the biggest busts in recent baseball memory, Carl Crawford, who also recently underwent Tommy John surgery. They got Josh Beckett, who’s not really (at all) that good and Nick Punto who’s probably extremely talented at many things, but baseball is not necessarily one of them. (I kid, I kid. All Major Leaguers are extremely talented, of course, Nick Punto included. But still). Last but not least, they got Adrian Gonzalez who’s batting .300, compared to the .254 average that Loney was sporting. It’s an upgrade, but with all the money the Dodgers are dropping – which, according the LA Times is over a quarter of a billion dollars – they could have gotten millions of tall Dark Roasts at Starbucks or hundreds of thousands of Victoria Beckham handbags or, say, some really good ballplayers. They did none of the above.
Never fear, Giants fans. The National League West did not just get significantly better. It just got significantly less coffee.
p.s. If you’re not really a coffee person, a) leave this blog now or b) imagine how much of that divine Iced Lemon Pound Cake at Starbucks they could also have gotten. I can’t seem to find the price of that online, but let’s just say they could have gotten enough to feed the entire crowd at Dodger Stadium for a hundred years or so. Especially considering the size of an average Dodger Stadium crowd. (Low blow? Yes. True blow? Yes to that too.)