Finally, the Giants team we all came to know and have heart attacks over decided to show up, making the universe feel just a little more in balance. Barry Zito is still technically our best pitcher, but Madison Bumgarner looks like he’s ready to give him a run for his massive stockpiles of money in throwing a no-hitter through 5+ innings the day after the Giants surrendered two million hits.
Finally, a non-Zito wins a game. (AP/Jack Dempsey)
First off, let’s examine the weirdness that’s been the recent streak of awful that’s inflicted our pitching staff. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Bumgarner all failed where Zito succeeded and none of us really knew how or why. Much of this though can be explained away by the idea that baseball is a weird freaking sport and sometimes bizarre things happen. Lincecum spent a whole month in 2010 looking like he’d been possessed by the ghost of Brett Tomko before he led the Giants to that World Series thing you may have heard about. Basically, I’m content to chalk up the first couple weeks to chance and move on before my descent into insanity is further exacerbated by this bipolar brand of Giants baseball.
More importantly though: holy mother of Jesus, Brian Wilson. Wilson went through his typical theatrics to escape with both his life and the save, but things were definitely not right. He was using his fastball sparingly, and when he did it was down around 89-90 mph. After the head trainer Dave Groeschner came out looking visibly concerned, it was pretty clear that something was amiss. Wilson threw one practice before he shooed all the concerned parties back to the dugout though, recording the final out on a slider right down the middle. Reports after the game claimed Wilson tweaked his ankle, but a guy who’s been as heavily worked (and injured) the last two seasons always raises eyebrows when things don’t look quite right. While the whole “warrior mentality” is great to have in a closer, it’s not so great when it jeopardizes the chance of winning, and more importantly the health of a pitcher.
Lastly I’d like to mea culpa it up for Melky Cabrera, who in his short time as a Giant has looked fantastic. And yes, as someone who’s been harping about the folly of the small sample size I realize that this isn’t a whole lot to get excited about, but this definitely doesn’t look like the Cabrera we saw in Atlanta who looked like he didn’t know what that rounded wooden club in his hands was for. The only complaint I have is that every time I see the last name “Cabrera” in a box score I instinctively think that Orlando Cabrera is back in a Giants uniform and feel my gag reflex acting up.
Tomorrow the Giants return to AT&T Park for the home opener, where I’m sure nothing out of the ordinary can possibly happen. Of course just six games into this season and already my emotions are numbed to the point where I rarely feel anything but bottomless rage, boundless joy, screaming (which is an emotion, I checked), and thinly veiled indignation. So thanks for that.