As the Giants, five games back of the Dodgers in the West, 13 to play, arrive at Dodger Stadium tonight, the angel on the shoulder says: “Play it out! Let’s see what happens after 162! Let’s all stand back and enjoy Marty Lurie’s mosaic!”
The devil on the shoulder — the one wearing the No. 46 Casilla jersey — just laughs like it’s on Paulie Mac’s sound board.
Of course the daydream believer in all of us wants to believe that nine innings of possibility await, that nine innings is just the start of a win streak, a run into October where, once the Giants arrive, the pressure of the collapse is off and they can play the brand of nail-biting ball that Bruce Bochy’s boys do so well.
And yet, I get the nagging feeling the Giants have been trying to tell us something for a while now.
They have baseball’s worst record in the second half.
They are 7-10 in September.
Among their 10 losses in baseball’s most important regular season month include:
A blown 9th inning lead at Wrigley Field on Sept. 4. They lost the game.
A blown 9th inning lead at Coors Field on Sept. 7. They lost the game.
A blown 9th inning lead at AT&T vs. the Padres on Sept. 13. They lost the game.
A blown 9th inning lead at AT&T vs. the Cardinals on Sept. 17. They lost the game.
My personal favorite was the shutout loss to San Diego’s (Pukin’) Paul Clemens on Sept. 12. Clemens was vomiting between innings, according to reports. So were Giants fans when they realized a guy with an ERA at 5.44 and a WHIP over 1.70 threw five shutout innings at them.
It’s easy to target your venom at what may be, statistically, the biggest collapse in San Francisco Giants history at Casilla. Heck, I even made a cheap joke at his expense in the lead to this little ode here.
But if you’re going to boo Casilla for his nine blown saves — most by a Giant since Robb Nen in 1999 — save some of your tonsils for the bats, which have resembled al dente noodles.
In September alone, let’s single out Angel Pagan and his .164 batting average this month. Oh, wait, don’t forget Joe Panik’s .154 number. Or Brandon Crawford’s .194. And my personal favorite, Denard Span’s .140 clip.
We all know hitting a baseball is hard, and slumps happen. It’s just when they happen to four key players in the pennant stretch, it’s what you call bad baseball just when you needed it least.
In other words, it’s a system-wide failure, y’all.
So! Fired up for the series at Dodger Stadium yet?
Oh, wait — I forgot that Clayton Kershaw pitches for the Dodgers tonight.
Against Kershaw, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence are a combined 11 for 131 for a .084 batting average. With 51 strikeouts. And one extra-base hit. That’s courtesy of ESPN. Thanks for that, Bristol.
That angel on the shoulder is about to go on permanent vacation, sports fans.
But, let’s play it out, right? One sixty two, right? Championship blood, right?