I wrote the following two paragraphs (and bullet points) before the bottom of the eighth inning:
Since this was the epitome of a “can predict ball” game, where Ryan Vogelsong gave up a two-run home run in the first inning, every Giants fan shook their heads and muttered “ballgame,” then Chris Sale went on to pitch seven shutout innings while striking out 11, here’s a little experiment.
I’m going to jot down my predictions for the rest of this game. I promise the following is unchanged, NO POSTGAME EDITING ALLOWED.
- The Giants will go down one-two-three in the eighth against Sale in 10-12 pitches.
- The White Sox will score one run in the top of the ninth.
- The Giants will score one run in the ninth and put a men on base with two outs against White Sox closer Jake Petricka, and Brandon Crawford will strike out to end the game.
Let’s see how I did.
- The Giants went down one-two-three in the eighth against Sale in 16 pitches.
- The White Sox were retired in order in the top of the ninth.
- The Giants scored one run in the ninth and put a man on third base with two outs against White Sox closer Jake Petricka, and Brandon Crawford singled to tie the game.
And we all lived happily ever after.
Except for the part where the White Sox mounted a rally in the 10th, putting runners on second and third with one out. Alejandro De Aza hit a sharp grounder to Matt Duffy, who was playing in. Duffy fired a perfect throw to Buster Posey, who tagged Jordan Danks out at the plate. Robin Ventura had the play reviewed, the call was upheld, and Gordon Beckham slapped a single to left to score the go-ahead run.
Posey, despite taking a foul ball directly off his new mask (more padding) about a minute later, drilled a two-out single in the 10th. Pablo Sandoval hit a line drive that — for a brief moment — appeared as if it might sail over De Aza’s glove in left. But no, the catch was made and the Giants lost their fifth straight (by a score of 3-2). They fell to 29-31 at home and 62-57 overall.
The Dodgers’ lead is now six games. The Giants are a small child with a loose grip, and the National League West is a helium balloon.
Pittsburgh and St. Louis are the first and second place teams in the “wild card division,” as Jon Miller calls it. The Giants are a half-game behind the Cards, two games behind the Pires (or the “Rates,” if you prefer). The Giants continue to play like Ants, small enough to get stomped by all levels of the food chain.
Vogelsong, despite giving up that home run to left-center in the first inning to Adam Dunn (Chicago’s second-most famous living statue, behind Jay Cutler), pitched well enough to win. Tip your cap to Sale and the White Sox defense all you like. The Giants set the tone with a first inning play that made this game’s outcome seem so easy to predict (until Crawford’s ninth inning single), when Hunter Pence’s triple was followed by a Posey grounder to short. Pence, who usually displays nearly perfect baserunning instincts, got a late break. Alexei Ramirez threw it wide, toward the Giants dugout, but Pence was unable to make a slide to the left side of home plate that could’ve evaded Tyler Flowers’ tag. The only problem: Posey dropped his bat at the end of his swing, the bat sat right where it was dropped (right in front of home plate, on the third base side), and Pence was forced to step over the three-inch high, wooden, cylindrical hurdle.
— The Giants have lost Vogelsong’s last seven home starts. They’ve scored nine runs over those seven games. Vogelsong’s ERA is 4.15 in those starts.
— Vogelsong has pitched well of late — he’s allowed just 12 hits and four walks in 22 innings in three August outings. He’s allowed four earned runs (1.64 ERA), all on home runs (a solo homer in NY, a solo homer in Milwaukee, and the two-run homer tonight).
— The Padres are actually playing good baseball these days, running their record to 33-27 at home. In fact, if both teams continue on their respective trajectories, the Giants have a chance of finishing in third place … in the division. But that would never, ever happen. Just forget I mentioned it. Everything is fine.
— Why was I rambling about the Padres? Oh yeah, because the new “team you just won’t believe has a better home record than the Giants” is the Mets, who are 28-28 at Citi Field. I guess we can also throw the White Sox on that list, since they’re 29-28 at New(er) Comiskey.
— We’ll always have that single to center by Travis Ishikawa. We’ll always have the way he fisted that little blooper to the back of the dirt behind second base. We’ll always have the gigantic cross around his neck, gleaming as he stood on first base like a triumphant, pinch-hitting Mike Singletary. We’ll always have the 30 seconds or so after that single, when everyone brought up Ishikawa’s walk in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS for the millionth time.
— Things were different after that little fisty-bloop (GIF via @gidget):
Then they weren’t, as Gordon Beckham started a ridiculous double play. Then they were, as Crawford drove in Duffy. For baseball fans who dig those “win probability charts” and didn’t care who won, or lie detector buffs, this game was gorgeous. For Giants fans, this was just like any other Tuesday night game since the beginning of June.
By popular demand, The Killer Peas are back.
— The Giants were pushing something called “Swagga Suits” today on Twitter.
— LOL KNBR (@LOLKNBR) August 13, 2014