It's the theme for the season, I reckon. Friday night's impressive win behind Madison Bumgarner was the 108th game of the year, meaning the 2/3 point in the season, and the end of the sixth seasonal inning. 1st: 11-7. 2nd: 10-8. 3rd: 8-10 (29-25 overall). 4th: 8-10. 5th: 3-15. 6th: 9-9 (49-59 overall). Throw in the two losses to start the seventh inning and the team sits at 49-61 or .445 ball and 12 games out. The fifth inning, of course, was the death blow. Another way to lump it is to look at monthly totals. April: 15-12. May: 14-13. June: 10-17. July: 8-17. August, so far: 2-2. Teams can survive one wretched month, but not two.
If the Giants won, say, five more games during the fifth inning (or two more in June and three more in July), they would be 54-56. Not impressive, by any means, and still seven games back of the leaders, but a lot less horrible than their current record. Everyone says that 49-61 is "twelve games below .500" but it really isn't--it's six games below .500 because if you change six losses into wins the team is 55-55. Can we think of six games the Giants could have or should have won in the last two months? Yeah, I imagine we could. If the Giants were a .500 team and had 52 games left to play I would consider them still contending. This team is not contending, and it comes down to six games in which they came up short. The Giants, in June and July, were swept by the Dodgers, Reds, Mets, and Cubs. They win one game in each of those sets--four more wins total--and they are 53-57, in third place, and with a real shot at a respectable finish.
It's hard to imagine that a baseball season can come down to a handful of games, I know. And the Giants could, with a stretch of good play, pass both Colorado (52-61) and San Diego (51-60) with ease and get out of the goddamn cellar. At this point, that's what I'm rooting for. I think .500 may have slipped away for good, as they'd have to go 32-20 (.615 ball) just to finish even.
The club comes home for four against the Brewers. They were swept in the three games in Milwaukee in April. It will be Chad Gaudin, Matt Cain, Bumgarner again, and then Tim Lincecum. One positive is that all four guys are coming off great starts. Maybe they can keep that rolling this week. C'mon, Giants, let's get out of the goddamn cellar.