“A Question’s Not Really a Question
If You know the Answer Too”
The San Francisco Giants dropped the second game in two nights to the upstart Houston Astros. The ‘Stros have now won four in a row, and it’s hard to blame lackadaisical play on the part of the Giants, though getting shut out for the second consecutive night on Friday, speaks louder than anything I can say.
There are some very exciting young players on this Astros team. When Jose Altuve led off the game with an improbable inside-the-park-homerun, it was hard to do anything but tip your cap to him. There is hardly a reference to Altuve, that does not include the fact that he is five foot seven. What difference does it make? Mike Fontenot isn’t any taller.
Madison Bumgarner blamed himself for not being able to put the ball where he wanted it. So give credit to Houston for being able to do just that. Does that make Houston the better team? Checking their win/loss records helps clarify that. If the Giants were fighting tooth and claw, and were losing each game by a run, then I might even be a little more worried.
The Giants are 6-16 in their last 22 contests.
The fact that all phases of the game appear to be experiencing technical difficulties, allows me to regroup a little and place the blame, or the reason, if you will, on the concept of a general team malaise. There is some sort of dynamic going on, team-wide, which has served to propel the team backward, instead of advancing.
There were times last fall, when nothing seemed to go wrong, or if it did, the Giants quickly corrected it. They took advantage of key miscues, they created offense through consistent hitting by Torres and Sanchez at the top of the order, and they kept the pressure on their opponents, by knocking them in.
Now the struggling teams, which have been forced to capitulate in their efforts to compete this year, have brought up a bevy of young minor league prospects, who have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. Individual effort on the part of all of these prospects, combines to create a spark that ignites a young team and produces noteworthy results.
If the Giants were performing the way they did late last season, this would not be an issue. However, just as good things result from unified effort, and produce the residual effect of causing other good things to happen, so goes the reverse. Madison can’t place the ball exactly where he wants it. Altuve gives it a better-than-expected ride, and Cody makes a desperate, but futile effort to snag the drive, and the ball takes a pro-Astros bounce.
That seems to be a lot of bounces going the wrong way, but these things generally balance themselves out, over the course of a season. The key is to rely on the veterans who have been there before, to be able to advise younger players, how to approach this kind of team collapse. Just as one bad bounce starts the chain reaction downhill, one fortuitously placed, seeing-eye-grounder, is all that is required to get things started in reverse.
We have the core of our starting pitching intact, even if Jonathon Sanchez’ next start has been pushed back, and we have the fact that the Diamondbacks have lost four straight. That’s one of those huge beneficial elements that fits right in. After all, where would we be if the D-Backs were not sliding downhill as fast as we are?
We would be out of contention, and and getting a close look-see at the current Fresno Grizzlies. Then we would be like Houston, with a roster of quick, eager-to-dazzle Darren Fords and Brandon Crawfords. Let me think here. Do we really have to be out of contention to infuse some of that energy into our flat lineup?
As John Prine once noted, “A question’s not really a question, if you know the answer too.”
For now, just wait for the ball to stop bouncing like an erratic rabbit, and begin to resemble the Energizer Bunny. That might put the necessary charge back into the Giants’ collective battery, so that they can jumpstart the offense and stop the current stall.