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San Francisco Giants: ‘Torture’ is in Full Effect

Sep 16, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits a two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 16, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits a two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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If the San Francisco Giants were just a bad team, then these woeful last couple months would be tolerable—or at least reconciled through emotional detachment and a turning an eye toward 2017. If the Giants had come out of the San Diego series—during which they suffered a three-game sweep to a bottom dweller—and lost the first two games of the Cardinals series, it would be much easier to just let go of hope, accept that the Giants are no longer contenders, and let the season run its course.

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But no. They’ve instead trounced St. Louis in the first two games of a four-game series, outscoring their fellow wild-card bidder 14-4 so far, and fanning the flames of hope despite a disastrous second half of the season that seemingly should have knocked the Giants out of contention by now.

This is the pure embodiment of “torture,” the term Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper used to describe watching the Giants way back in 2010—when we were merely innocent baseball fans who could only dream of their beloved Giants one day winning a World Series.

Three championships and six years later, the Giants are still at it—but this time with a nastier, more brutish brand of torture.

But hey, we’ll take it if it means the Giants are still in the playoff hunt.

Torture talk aside, there have been a couple of other pleasant developments in the Cardinals series.

The most welcomed of which is the return of Buster Posey, Home Run Hitter. He hadn’t gone deep since way back when the Giants held the best record in the Major Leagues—two months ago. Along with Friday’s two-run shot, Posey drove in a pair with a bloop single that helped key the Giants’ six-run third inning. (They scored more runs in that inning than in the entire San Diego series.)

It’s too early to say Posey’s on the brink of a home run barrage. But even if no more long balls are in Buster’s near future, he’s batting .433 over the past seven games. So as long as the hits keep coming, he’s doing his part.

On the mound, Matt Moore gave the Giants another quality-esque start. (Technically, it wasn’t a quality start because he only pitched five innings. A QS must be at least six innings.) In fact, in his nine starts since being acquired from Tampa Bay, Moore has allowed two or fewer runs in six of them. If the back end of the bullpen could just do its job more often, Moore would be racking up the wins down the stretch.

Speaking of the beleaguered bullpen… Dare I say, it was nice to see Santiago Casilla get in the game and take command for three outs. It was the eighth inning with a six-run lead, so it’s not like he earned back the closer job. But by striking out two while not allowing any baserunners, he may have shown—or at least suggested—that he can still be an effective bullpen arm.

If there is any reason to hold back excitement for Friday’s win, it’s that it came against Luke Weaver, a rookie starting pitcher. But Weaver is one of the best young arms in the game, and he had not given up more than three runs in any of his six previous Major League starts.

Now, all six runs he gave up Friday night were unearned because of an error, and it’s likely the inning would have been scoreless had the miscue not happened. That said, Weaver had plenty opportunity to stop the bleeding. But the Giants went on the attack, sending 12 batters to the plate and chasing Weaver from the game.

That’s what playoff-caliber teams do—take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes while limiting mistakes of their own.

Next: Giants Open Critical Series with a Win

Now, let’s see if they can continue being that kind of team this weekend, or if they’ll revert to that impotent squad that got handled by the lowly Padres earlier in the week. That, of course, would be the torturous thing to do.

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