“These are times that try men’s souls.” OK, so no one will ever confuse Thomas Paine with Bruce Bochy. Baseball is not the stuff that tries men’s souls, but it does grate on the nerves when your team, the San Francxisco Giants, the one with the best win/loss record in the majors, drops a second consecutive game that was seemingly in the bag.
You have to go back to April 17-22 of this season, to find a similar stretch where the San Francisco Giants have lost five out of six games. The reality is that there will undoubtedly be other stretches when they have comparable lapses, as far as poor win/loss record over a short span. It’s the nature of the beast, when you play 162 games. With that being said, here are five reasons why Giants fans should not sweat the recent stumble by the Giants.
First, despite the hiccup, Giants still have the best record in baseball, at 43-26. Let’s face it, only a team that has bull-dozed its way over every team it has encountered for six weeks, draws the kind of reaction that is emitting forth from Giants fans.
Secondly, the Giants remain comfortably ahead of the Dodgers, with a six-and-a-half game bulge, so there’s minimal pressure on the Giants that could be contributing to the stumble. A few weeks ago, not only the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Colorado Rockies as well, were breathing down San Francisco’s back, waiting for just this kind of flop. Now? Not so much and it makes a big difference.
The third reason is because both of the teams that the Giants have had trouble with are worthy opponents. The Washington Nationals swaggered into AT&T Park and schooled the Giants, because that’s what good teams do when they are hot. They did to the Giants, what the Giants have been doing to other teams all season. Fortunately, this is not the playoffs.
Losing to Colorado Saturday night in such a bizarre fashion is purely a product of the sense of humor of the gods of baseball. What are the chances that any game-at any time-will end with an inside-the-park-home run, as Angel Pagan demonstrated a year ago, May 25th, against these very same Rockies?
What are the chances that the Rockies should end a game against the Giants, almost exactly a year later, in the same park, with a two-out, ninth inning, inside-the-parker? The gods are still chortling about that one. Besides, I saw the winning rally as two singles, the second of which got past a sure-gloved center fielder. Oh, well.
Fourth, for all fans out there screaming for Sergio’s head, just remember this is the same Sergio who threw a ninth inning fastball and hit Kevin Frandsen of the Nationals, to revenge the Michael Morse plunking in the first game of the series. That was only three days ago on Thursday. We loved what he did then, and we loved the fact that he was leading the league in saves. You can’t have it both ways. You have to accept the whole package.
Finally, I said it the other day, and I will repeat it. Lessons learned in June help prevent an October swoon. Timing is everything, I’m glad the Nationals are gone, and I look forward to the rematch in Washington.
As for the team with the best record in baseball, it’s all part of the big picture, the one ending with the Giants in the postseason. After that, it’s the best of five, and if you’re good enough, the best of seven, twice pipes.
And we’ll figure that we’re finished with games ending in inside-the-park home runs.