Maybe it’s just not meant to be. That’s not a reference to the Giants’ chances of winning the division or advancing in the playoffs — as badly as they were beaten on Saturday night, this will only count as four games in the Pythagorean loss column. No, it’s how we’ve been waiting so many years for the Giants and the Dodgers to race down the stretch, neck and neck. Instead, both teams have taken turns playing the role of Secretariat.
The Dodgers saw last night’s 9-0 Giants win and raised them eight runs. The Giants had 12 hits last night. The Dodgers had nine runs and 12 hits after three innings. And that’s exactly when I had a discussion with my editor, and he let me leave before the fourth inning began. Tonight, I left a baseball game early for the second time in my life.
May 29, 2001 was the first. My sister and I had seats in the center field bleachers, and the Giants and D-Backs were mixed up in a 0-0 quagmire. Marvin Benard was picked off first base in the first inning, but advanced to third on a throwing error. Then he was thrown out at home to end the inning. To be honest, I don’t remember how that happened. I’m pretty sure my sister and I were drinking rum out of Wendy’s soda cups before the game. The closest the Giants came to scoring after that was the 11th, when the inning ended on a double play — Armando Rios struck out and Rich Aurilia was thrown out trying to steal third. After Barry Bonds grounded into a double play to end the 13th, I turned to my sister.
“There is no way in hell the Giants are scoring tonight. Wanna go home?”
I didn’t need to ask twice. We had long since sobered up, we lived in Santa Cruz, both of us had to work the next morning, and my sister’s car was parked at the Daly City BART station. We walked to the Montgomery BART station, rode to Daly City, drove south on 280 and 17, and by the time she dropped me off at my apartment, the D-Backs had a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 18th. Ryan Vogelsong(!!!) led off with a double, and seconds after I walked into my living room and flipped on the TV, Benito Santiago flied out to right with the bases loaded to end it.
Leaving early was a good decision. So was fleeing the press box after the third inning tonight, with the Dodgers up by nine.
Now I live in San Francisco, on the west side of Alamo Square park. I walked home. According to Google Maps it’s a 3.1-mile hike, and when I got home and flipped on the TV, the Giants were down 15-0 in the bottom of the sixth. As I walked up McAllister, I listened as Brett Bochy came in with the bases loaded and walked Juan Uribe. Minutes later, I watched from my couch as he gave up a looooong home run to Scott Van Slyke.
I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. I left before the fourth inning started because I figured no one would read a recap of this mess just because I grabbed a few sad quotes. That’s probably my cue to wrap this up, but first: a couple things that could linger beyond tonight. Yep, it’s Timmy time.
— One inning. Tim Hudson has made 455 regular season starts, and tonight’s was the shortest of his career (he also left Game 4 of the 2003 ALDS after one inning due to an injury). It wouldn’t surprise me if he came back in his next start and gave up a run over six innings, but … actually, it would surprise me. He’s allowed 23 hits and 14 earned runs in three September starts (12 innings). He’s 39 years old. If the Giants get knocked out of the divisional race and the Giants kept the rotation as is, Tim Hudson would start in the wild card play-in game. There’s no way in hell Bruce Bochy will let that happen.
— Hudson’s stuff looked great against Dee Gordon to start the game, and then he gave up a bazillion hits and couldn’t keep the ball down. It was weird, like he tired out after facing one hitter.
— Tim Lincecum came in, and got a standing ovation despite the circumstances (4-0 deficit, no outs in the second inning, men on first and second). San Francisco will love him forever, but it was hard to watch him throw four straight 86 mph fastballs to Zack Greinke, who doubled off the fourth. Actually, I was listening to that at-bat on my walkman. Dave Flemming didn’t sound impressed.
— Long story short, Lincecum won’t be included on a postseason roster unless he gets bitten by a radioactive spider at some point in the next two weeks.
— Angel Pagan started out in the sunlight on Yasiel Puig’s double, but that was some lazy outfielding. And his route on A.J. Ellis’ single, yeesh.
— Lots of Dodgers fans in the stands on Saturday night. Maybe they were just quiet last night, but there seemed to be a lot more blue in the stands.
— Tomorrow could be interesting. Clayton Kershaw vs. Yusmeiro Petit. Puig getting grazed by that Lincecum pitch, then attempting to break up a double play with his right hand. Dee Gordon stealing second base with an 8-0 lead. Don Mattingly challenging a play at first with a 13-0 lead. Roger Bernadina getting hit in the knee. I don’t care about the “unwritten rules” nonsense in regards to the steal or the challenge (Mattingly’s loyalty is to Carl Crawford, not the Giants or their fans). But Sunday afternoon’s game could be interesting. Or, one of these teams will walk away with a 25-0 win.