Bruce Bochy has been more or less flawless in the postseason since becoming the Giants manager in 2007. In 2010, 2012, and 2014, every button he pushed just seemed to be the correct one. Every reliever matchup went his way, every risk he took panned out. He managed circles around the likes of Mike Matheny, Bobby Cox, and Matt Williams, making them look like grade schoolers crying into their Strato-matics.
Make no mistake, though, he screwed up tonight’s ninth inning six ways to Sunday.
It’s all right though. I ain’t even mad. It happens. Even the best stumble once in a while. Without going into the gory details, let’s just chalk it up as one of Bochy’s not-so-hot moments as a manager and move on with our lives. Until next season.
Should Derek Law have started the ninth inning? No. Should the ever-erratic Javy Lopez have followed Law by facing Anthony Rizzo? God no. Should Bochy have started the inning with Will Smith, who has been nails for a month, to face Kris Bryant, with the lefty and switch-hitter coming up after him? Abso-fucking-lutely. Should he have given up on Romo after the one batter? Probably not. Should Hunter Strickland have thrown an 0-2 fastball right down the middle to Javier Baez? Won’t dignify that with a response. Did any decision Bochy made in that ninth inning make a lick of sense? Of course not.
Let’s get one thing straight. That loss royally sucked. We’re going to go into work or get on Twitter and flaunt the three rings and make the jerk-off motion and say “hey, no problem, Cody Ross, bitches!” but in reality that was one of the worst losses in the history of the franchise, and we’ll be stewing over it all offseason. And rightfully so. That loss was so…so…2016 San Francisco Giants. Adam Jones says hello.
Perhaps we had this coming. I mean, it’s kinda been a while. The last sucky playoff loss like this was way back in 2003. It’s like, after Cody Ross and Brooks Conrad and Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner’s 2014, baseball Jehovah finally just had enough and put His foot down. Every great franchise has to be humbled. The Yankees had Luis Gonzalez. The Lakers had Chancey Billups. The Patriots had David Tyree. The Giants had their own miserable bullpen. Lick the wounds, repair left field and the bullpen, reevaluate third base, and come back stronger next season.
–The major positive from tonight’s game is that Matt Moore was just awesome, and that portends good things for the team starting some odd year BS. If it weren’t for an (uncharacteristic) error by Brandon Crawford, he would have given up just one run in eight innings. He struck out ten and had the best offense in the National League eating out of his hand. Talk about something to look forward to next season.
Moore was acquired for the immensely popular (for good reason) Matt Duffy in July. He was dominant at times, awful at others in his two months, but in the last few weeks he gave us glimpses of exactly what sort of weapon he could be in 2017. Moore is under team control for the grand total of $26 million for the next three years. In 21st century baseballese, that’s a bargain. Moore is still only 27 and there’s a reason he was once seen as one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. If Duffy hits .230 for the Rays next year and Moore wins 17 games, no one is going to give a crap anymore about Duffy’s gargantuan (albeit awesome) cat.
–I have to close with this, and it pains me to the core to write what I’m about to write. Trust me, as a lifelong Giants fan, I don’t type these next few sentences lightly.
I don’t write these next hundred-odd words as a bitter fan whose team just suffered a brutal playoff loss. I really don’t. I’ve watched the Giants lose before, often in ghastly ways. I’ve watched them lose hard-fought, bitter postseason series where I’ve wanted to punch players on the opposing team (I’m looking at you, Agbayani). I’ve never, though, used that as a reason to automatically root against the team that beat them. I rooted for the Marlins in 1997 and in 2003, and I rooted for the Mets after they beat the Giants in the 2000 NLDS. I’ve rooted many, many times for NL West rivals (most avidly the 2006 Padres or the 2009 Rockies) that bested the Giants in close division races. I’m not a sore loser. I worship at the church of tip your cap and move on. Gracious in victory, humble in defeat, and so on.
I despise the Dodgers. I despise the concept of the Dodgers. They’re a franchise long-affiliated with unabashed evil. However- and it pains me to say this to no end, just shreds my soul to pieces- if the Dodgers win tomorrow, I will be rooting for them to beat the Cubs in the NLCS (and then, of course, to lose in the World Series). The Dodgers are terrible, a franchise so reprehensible that I break out in boils every time I turn on one of their broadcasts. So why would I take this drastic step and root for them? Because the Cubs, and specifically their fans, are worse.
Cubs fans are the most vile, scum-sucking bunch of misbegotten ingrates to disgrace the game of baseball. They’ll beg you every year to look upon their franchise as a sort of lovable, hapless, 1962 Mets bunch of scamps who just can’t catch a break. Woe is them. In reality they’re just another soulless big market team with an asshole of an owner throwing wads of money at their problems, and their fans project their drunken frustrations on any scapegoat they can find, no matter how silly, whenever their team inevitably fails. And they also project beer, and lots of it, on said scapegoat. Why are Cubs fans awful, and why should every decent human being root against their team? This is a good start.
Before you send me an angry e-mail disputing any of this why don’t you redirect that email to Steve Bartman and ask his opinion on the matter? Ask if he thinks the Cubs and their fans just need a break from the universe and if we should feel sorry for them. Common decency begs for the Cubs to lose this next series and every other postseason matchup for the rest of their franchise’s miserable, slime-ridden existence. The Dodgers may suck, but their fans aren’t responsible for ruining the life of some poor guy who just tried to catch a foul ball.