The San Francisco Giants made it clear last night that they are a bad baseball team in their embarrassing loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Good baseball teams do not blow five-run leads in the ninth inning. Good baseball teams do not allow mental mistakes to compound into disasters. The San Francisco Giants managed to do both of those things in the same inning last night in their collapse to the A’s.
What makes it even worse is they played eight nearly flawless innings of baseball leading up to the calamity.
Hunter Pence hit another three-run homer, Johnny Cueto pitched masterfully, and Mike Yastrzemski hit a two-strike, two-out home run off of a left-handed pitcher to the deepest part of the left field which gave the Giants their five-run “cushion:”
It was shaping up to be a grand Friday night. But then the Giants had to ruin it.
But then the ugly troll that is the defense of the San Francisco Giants had to rear its ugly head again.
Wilmer Flores made a truly incomprehensible decision with one out and a runner on first base. The ball was hit to him which he fielded cleanly. He took two steps towards first and for some reason that we may never know, and at the last second, before stepping on first base, he decided to throw the ball to second base.
The instant I saw Flores turn to throw to second, I let out a Luke Skywalker, “NO!” as he saw Ben Kenobi surrender himself to be struck down by Darth Vader to become more powerful than he could possibly imagine because my baseball Spidey senses startled tingling and I knew that absolutely nothing good was going to happen after such a poor decision.
It was truly dumbfounding. The runner going towards second meant absolutely nothing! Perhaps I would have understood the decision if he was the tying or winning run, but it was a four-run game!
And I haven’t even gotten to what happened after he threw the ball! Brandon Crawford, presumably thinking that Flores stepped on first, tried to tag the runner sliding into second base thinking that it was no longer a force play. In the process of making the tag, his foot came off the base so the runner was safe because he made it in before the tag.
At this point I had buried my head in the pillows on the couch and moaned, feeling that impending doom was nigh.
Once Gott plunked the Khris Davis with two strikes to load the bases I just started laughing and I kept right on chuckling after Stephen Piscotty hit the grand slam to tie the game because it was objectively hilarious that such an unfortunate and boneheaded series of events could have happened so quickly.
Announcer Duane Kuiper seemed to sense trouble when things were murky at the beginning of the inning and said something to the effect of, “I get that manager Gabe Kapler wants to get Gott some work, but you just don’t want this inning to turn into a disaster.” Well, a disaster is exactly what it turned into. Maybe a dumpster fire would be a more fitting description.
Good baseball teams do not do what the Giants did last night. Only bad baseball teams make foolish mental errors and then compound them to the point where they cost them the game. Friday night’s loss is the kind that is hard to come back from.
But at least it saves us the trouble of wondering whether the Giants will be good or not in 2020. They made it clear to all that they are, in fact, a bad baseball team.