Well, that was fun.
The Nationals beat the Giants 4-2 Wednesday night, taking the first three games of the series and turning what looked like a mid-season showdown between National League pennant contenders into a chorus of seagull screams and sad trombones.
The Giants offense scraped together two runs on eight hits against Nationals starter Tanner Roark, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a shaky start by Matt Cain and a very quiet night from the top of the order. The normally reliable duo of Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence combined to go 0-for-8.
Pagan summed up the Giants’ frustrations in one crazy head-shaking, hair-flopping, bat-throwing GIF.
“Hey-hey now come on, Angel … haha … that’s not the kind of bat flip Giants fans want to see, amirite?? Chill, baby. It’s cool. Your hair looks fantastic.”
Any time a pitcher opens the game walking three straight batters, you know it’s going to be a loooong night. It’s painful to watch a guy walk three straight batters in any inning, but somehow it’s much worse when it happens right out of the gate.
I was there for game 161 in 2010, when Barry Zito walked in two runs in the first inning. Believe me, it takes the life right out of the crowd and casts a pall over the rest of the game. But Giants fans have grown accustomed to these types of starts. We lived through Zito. It wasn’t easy, but we made it. Sure, we still have the occasional Jonathan Sanchez flashbacks — and Tim Lincecum flashnows — but we’ve taught ourselves how to deal with the pain from watching pitchers who literally have no idea where the ball is going.
Over the last couple years we’ve come to expect the first inning disaster from Lincecum. At least, I have. What Giants fans don’t expect is the first inning disaster from Cain.
Don’t mess with us, Matt. Not you. You hurt us tonight. Don’t do it again.
In the top of the fifth, Jayson Werth hit a fairly routine homer over the left field wall. If all you saw was the highlights, you probably didn’t think much of it, but Mike Krukow called it one of the most unusual at bats he’s ever seen. That’s because Cain was making Werth look silly the entire at bat leading up to that homer.
That was the first pitch of the at bat. Replays from the side angle showed Werth starting and stopping his swing no less than seven times in the .60 seconds it took him to go around on this 79 MPH curveball.
Second pitch. Another slow curve. This one caught more of the plate, but Cain kept it low and brought Werth down to a knee. The side angle on this one was glorious as well. Kruk & Kuip were yucking it up. The old Cainer was BACK.
There were a couple other amusing swings in this at bat, but eventually Cain went away from the curveball and…
Jayson Werth showed he has one of the league’s most
disgusting beards powerful bats when healthy.
The Giants have lost three games in a row. Some perspective …
This is every game the Giants have played so far (up until yesterday). The little red bars are losses. The green bars are wins. You see that? Lots of green. Not very many red lines bunched up together. This is good.
This is last year …
Don’t panic yet, Giants fans.
— Brandon Hicks struck out two more times tonight to raise his season total to 65 whiffs. The second K came with Brandon Crawford on third base with one out in the fourth. I can hear the sports talk radio machine revving up in the distance.
— Pablo Sandoval was a late scratch from the lineup with what Bruce Bochy called The Crud, but he was well enough to pick up another hit and RBI in pinch-hitting duties. Thanks for the imagery, Boch.
— How do you pronounce Tanner Roark anyway? Tanner Rourke or Tanner Rowark? Supposedly, it’s Rowark, which is really close to Rowand. Aaron Rowand always looked uncomfortable in the batter’s box. I think it was that stance. Oof. Nothing pretty about it. That describes the Giants offense tonight pretty well too. Nothing pretty about it at all.