For Best Results, Please Chill
The Giants have lost the first two games of this Atlanta series, both crushing walk-off victories. The Atlanta Braves are doing the same thing to the Giants that the Phillies did, providing a liberal portion of a dish, best served chilled: revenge.
Last October the Giants took three of five from the Braves, four of the five games decided by one run. Much has been said about last year, and the Giants’ unlikely rise to the top. All this season, it has bothered Giants fans that the power-polls have never placed the Giants any higher than fourth, and that was only for one week. All of this season, it has bothered Braves fans that they could not win the series for Bobby Cox and the city of Atlanta last October. Which is the stronger motivator?
The East Coast Media has constantly given short-shrift to San Francisco; ESPN Sports is so busy tracking the Red Sox and Yankees, that they barely have time to notice the West Coast. If Giants fans are upset, they should look at the number of offensive categories the G-Men rank at or near the bottom, and then see how they stack up against the contenders.
If you tell me that they were not much better last year in those categories, you will get no argument, but you will also get very little support for the idea that they are poised to do it again. We saw very little enthusiasm against the Phillies, except for pitching (Barry, notwithstanding), and we are seeing insufficient spark against the Braves. What will it take to fire them up? Buster being hurt? Sure, for a while. But now they need another catalyst, an incident, or a wayward comment, to get the adrenaline flowing.
Something was sure working earlier in the season, when the Giants led the majors in walk-offs and last inning victories. For more than three weeks now, the Giants haver struggled mightily, and Bochy has been unable to find the key. He says there is still a lot of time left, that this is only August. But then it will be September, and the Giants must out-rattle the D-Backs. When? When does it start?
It starts when everyone stops whining and settles back in their seats. It starts by recognizing that after this series, the Giants play the rest of their season out against teams with losing records, except for six games against the Diamondbacks. What a setup for success. The best thing to do, please, is chill. We have played all of the hard teams, and now have the easy part of the schedule remaining. Isn’t that a good thing?
What if we do well the rest of the year, against the lower echelon, and then have to face the Braves and Phillies in the playoffs? After the way the Giants were man-handled recently by both clubs? I want to be optimistic here, though I’m not feeling on solid ground. If we need good teams to play to get our competitive edge up, but we can’t beat them anyway, how does that bode for our future in October?
I don’t want to suggest that it doesn’t bode well, and my whole perspective is that winning is not everything, but it would be nice to think that the season still has possibilities. The reality is that those possibilities are lining up more favorably for the other guys than the local nine. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I’m not seeing it yet. Keep the candle in the window, but don’t bother to light it. Unless something ignites the Giants’ competitive fire, nothing will remain but a funeral pyre.