Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4th inning: 4-14

1st inning: 6-12
2nd inning: 6-12
3rd inning: 10-8
4th inning: 4-14

That's  26-46 or .361 ball. It's as bad as it gets. The great ride we've been on is over.
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. [AD 96-180]
That's Gibbon. The Edward Gibbon of History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Just a little editing and we get this:
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the Giants fan base was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the promotion of Buster Posey to the departure of Sergio Romo. [AD 2009-2016]
Oh, yes. The accession of Buster Posey. And Madison Bumgarner. And the Core Four. And Matty and Timmy and the rest. Alas, those days are over. This new incarnation, the 2017 Giants, stinks. That's it. They stink. Even if they play .600 ball the rest of the season they will finish 80-82, hardly a playoff-caliber squad. This is a team with a $180M payroll, in the top five for MLB. This kind of performance is a disaster.

The Giants had an epic run from 2009 to 2016, getting to the playoffs four times and winning three World Series titles. That's the past. They kept the band together as long as they could, and it worked, getting that third championship and having a real shot at a fourth. Not many clubs can claim that. But the higher you climb, the harder you'll fall. It was an incredible experience to watch high-caliber championship baseball. But we have a new reality. To put it in newspeak, this is a team in transition.

I don't claim to know what to do. The team needs an obvious re-build, that's for sure. Key members will still be key members, but changes will happen and it will take more than just one season. It should be fun, as fans, to watch that happen. And that's it: I'm a fan. Just because the team sucks doesn't mean I stop being a fan. Sure, the crash after a raging high is tough, but I can handle it. I liked the team in 1985 when they lost 100 games; I'll stick by them now.

But it'll be rough going. I'll need a lot of bourbon, local herb, and Bessie Smith records to get through it. Will you stick with me?



Zo said...

I think that our disappointment is exacerbated by the fact that the expectations were so high for this sub-.400 team. We expected to reach the playoffs. It would have been a disappointment not to. It would have been a disappointment not to finish first or second in the West. It would have been a huge disappointment to be one of the mediocre, also ran teams. Now, even that looks like an unattainable goal. That's not just disappointing, that's a shock to the system. The vast Trove of statistics tells us that players tend towards their statistically based expectations, and thus, so do teams. The Giants are defying those trends. I keep watching in hopes to see a win, then a couple, then a bit of momentum. Last night, Belt hit a double, slid in well before the tag, was called out and denied on the replay review. He was clearly, decisively safe. The Giants can't even get a bit of momentum from a fair call. Really, it tears at the gut.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Expectations are a bitch, no doubt. This team had its weak spots, and some of the things that happened were predictable, but it seems like Murphy's Law kicked in and there was just a cascade of one bad event after another. And now they are a mess and there isn't much they can do about it.

nomisnala said...

the cure is a big winning streak.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Interesting (also brief and easy reading) take on the 2017 State of the Game by SI writer Tom Verducci. Synopsis: it's all about the Three True Outcomes or TTO to the saber-types. Homers, strikeouts, and walks are all up. As is scoring. But balls-in-play are continuing to drop. The Giants won three WS titles with a ball-in-play offense that de-emphasized homers and instead relied on doubles, good baserunning, and a "keep-the-line-moving" philosophy. Sort of like the game we watched in the 1970s! That is almost quaint right now. Homers are the new currency. The Giants have 60 HR, the Astros have 115, the league average is 91. Both the Indians and Colorado are very average in the HR dept (90 and 89) but they are still winning, so you don't have to dinger your way to the top. But you obviously have to "get with the program". The Giants are second to the Nationals with 40 Quality Starts. Second! Just goes to show it is still a team game, I guess. You need all the parts, esp a bullpen.

Anyway, this decline in balls-in-play is making for a very different game, and seems to me would take away an important advantage the winning Giants clubs had these last few years and that's defense. You can't defend against homers.

Zo said...

It is not clear to me that a Balls In Play offense is inherently superior to a TTO offense. However, 40 quality starts and less than (quite a few less than) 40 wins seems pretty obvious, that is that our relief pitching is far from adequate, and not just at closer.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The ball-in-play offense worked for the Giants, and suited the times. It's not working now, but these are different times. I did not mean to imply one way was superior to another, just that the team is built one way and it's not in concert with league trends. The last few years have seen a huge spike in homers, something the team has not emphasized, probably because of the park and the superior pitching and defense they had. Look at Cueto--17 homers allowed so far, only 15 last year, 21 and 22 before that. The ball is flying out of the yard. Also the Giants have aged, guys like Pence (Mr. Ball-in-Play) are really showing it. I'm worried we've seen the offensive peak of BCraw, for example. He is still the best in the field, but his contemporaries (Seager, Correa, Lindor, Cozart) are all slugging over or near .500; that's the new reality. Dodgers and Yankees both have rookies (Bellinger and Judge) who are leading the league in homers. No one in the Giants pipeline has that kind of pop.