Barry Zito

Giants guarantee they’ll finish at .500, refuse to stop contending

The Giants are 81-70. If they win 90 games, they’ll be tied for the Wild Card with Atlanta, provided Atlanta finishes the season 4-7. And that would turn into a 3-way tie if St. Louis also finished 8-4. Then there’s the D-Backs, currently 6 games ahead of the Giants after losing 2-0 to the Padres.

In short, the Giants won their sixth straight game and look like the best team in baseball. And now you can’t laugh when you read such an assessment because … THEIR RUN DIFFERENTIAL FOR THE SEASON IS ZERO.

That’s right! The Giants will finish with at least a .500 record and their months-long embarrassment caused by not scoring as many runs this season as they’ve given up is finally over. For at least 24 hours. Now when your friends who are Cincinnati Reds fans (Baer with me) get all in your face like, “Hey Giants fan, based on Pythagorus the Giants should be like 5 games behind the Reds, since Votto and his bros have a run differential of +33,” you can tell them to chillax.

Another strangely fun win in a season that’s supposed to be over by now

— Madison Bumgarner also reached .500 (12-12), and can finally look himself in the mirror.

— Okay, okay, Bumgarner isn’t a strikeout pitcher. But he’s the team’s best pitcher over the last month. And on some nights, if given the chance, it looks like he’d be their best hitter.

— In 111 regular season innings last year, Bumgarner allowed 11 HR. In 193.2 innings this year, Bumgarner has surrendered 11 HR.

— Brian Wilson’s Nike Air Mags were the tallest high-tops I’ve seen on a baseball field since Barry Bonds’ Filas.

Wilson paid for his McFlys, according to Andrew Baggarly. Two pairs, which explains why he wore one pair in the Giants’ dugout, which by the end of each game is covered in a veritable La Brea tar pit of chew spit, wads of tobacco, sunflower seed shells, energy drink, regular spit and Bumgarner’s snot rockets.

—  If you’re so inclined, you can pay over $1,000 per pair on ebay and the proceeds to go The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. I can’t lie, I want a pair. But if I got some Mags I’d do something stupid like leave them in my car in the sun so the cushioning melts and ends up looking like a raisin, like I did with a pair of Jordan XIVs. I’m totally over that. Yep, don’t think about that at all. Never.

— Motto of that last story: if you move a lot in your early-to-mid twenties, it make things a lot easier once you get over the idea that you need to buy, keep and protect material possessions. Or you could be like my sister, who I found out last year still has a set of sheets she used to sleep on when she was little. For a twin bed. I think if my sister lived in a small studio apartment she’d be about 1/3 of the way to being on Hoarders.

— Look at old Aubrey Huff, raising his average to .248!

— And some Barry Zito! Scoreless ninth, and while it took him 20 pitches to get through it, 14 of them were strikes.

— Cody Ross, who’s in the middle of a killer contract month (Ross’ line in September after going 2-for-4 with a HR Friday night: .309/.356/.618), strained his hamstring. He should be out a week, which means he could be back in a few days or he could miss the entire season. It’s pretty much impossible so soon after a muscle pull to diagnose that it’ll take exactly one week to heal.

— Brandon Belt had another Belt-like night. 1-for-5, a home run and 2 K. For what it’s worth, Belt also made solid contact on a line drive to center fielder Dexter Fowler on Friday night. With Ross hurt, Belt probably won’t sit for a little while, at least.

— Speaking of Belt, be sure to check out Scott “Crazy Crabber” Willis’ breakdown on Belt’s ever-increasing aggressiveness. First post of what I’m hoping will be many for BASG.

— Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Giants somehow made things close and they got Ross, Wilson, Nate Schierholtz and Jonathan Sanchez back for the final series at home vs. Colorado? It’s ridiculous to make that leap, since the Giants have so much more work to do and voodoo dolls to impale with needles. But that’s the thing about the instantaneous-reaction-world of a sport where there’s a game almost every day. After a loss or especially a losing streak, it’s impossible to imagine a team doing much of anything. After a 6-game winning streak, you start thinking about things like Zito seamlessly taking over Jeremy Affeldt’s role in the bullpen.

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