Any one of us could have written the script for this game. If you’ve seen enough of these games, especially the ones pitting Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw, this was as predictable as an episode of Saved By The Bell or The Brady Bunch — all it needed was a laugh track.
When Lincecum gave up a run in the first inning (the bastard), the chances of winning this game sinked to about 20%. “Well, there’s your ballgame!” (LAUGH TRACK!) Then he gave up a solo homer to Jerry Sands, and we were left to wonder if Lincecum was going to let it go completely and allow 3 runs over 6 innings. “When it rains, it pours!” (LAUGH TRACK!)
It’s funny because it’s true. Or maybe it’s just true. Once Lincecum gave up 2 runs in the first two innings, the Giants were already doomed. The baserunning didn’t help. After studying film on the 49ers’ offensive line I don’t have the energy to research how many times the Giants have been picked off in the past month, but I guarantee you it’s at least 100.
Even though Kershaw hadn’t given up an earned run in any of his three previous starts this year against Lincecum, it only made sense when Chris Stewart hit a home run in the 8th off Kershaw to make the game seem winnable. Now that Bill Neukom’s gone, that’s the Giants’ Way: make the absolute worst situation seem manageable, until reality cruises past at 95 mph.
Three Kenley Jansen fastballs whizzed by Pablo Sandoval at about that speed. Swing! Swing! Swing! Then Carlos Beltran faced four similarly-paced pitches from Jansen. Take! Take! Take! Take!
If that wasn’t enough of a metaphorical smackdown for Giants fans, let me submit the ninth inning. Mark DeRosa reaches on an error by Jose Guerra (the same way many successful Giants rallies have started over the last couple years, an infield miscue by the opposition). Even though Brett Pill started because Kershaw, a lefty, started for the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy didn’t replace him with Brandon Belt. Not with the season on the line — Belt might take a called strike three. Like Beltran, only without the track record!
Pill did the best he could and flied out to right. With Orlando Cabrera (who started on Tuesday night even though he should be drawing an MLB pension at this point) coming up next, Bochy knew he had to send up a left-handed bat. Belt? Nah, that would be putting him in an important situation that had nothing to do with reality television. That’s no way to squeeze the last bit of life remaining from the 2011 season!
With a double play the only thing that could immediately end the game and put the Giants 4.5 games behind the Braves and 5.5 behind the D-Backs, Bochy said, “Screw it, might as well put Huff up there again.” Never mind that Huff’s appearance at the plate led Duane Kuiper to openly hope that Huff’s inevitable grounder to the right side might scoot between James Loney and Justin Sellers with Loney holding Emmanuel Burris on first. But alas, Huff’s grounder went straight to Loney, who started the world’s easiest double play to end the most obvious Giants game.