Matt Moore was this close to falling afoul of SnapJudgmentWorld.com. He had done nothing so far to stanch the bloodsoak that has been the second half of the San Francisco Giants’ season, or to make people forget the premature disappearances of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, the volatile game log of Jeff Samardzija or the third consecutive bizarro world season of Jake Peavy.
He was, in short, marked for scorn. He would be known forever as The Guy They Gave Up The Sainted Matt Duffy To Get And Didn’t Win Any World Series, any NBA Finals, any Stanley Cups or any Nobel Prizes In Economics.
Then he came within a Corey Seager drop shot of pitching a no-hitter in a game that could have gobsmacked the Giants’ season, and he is now beloved.
That’s how no-hitters can work. That’s how even abortive no-hitters can work. They catch the attention and elevate the practitioners well beyond their station. They make them household names.
After all, when was the last time you didn’t think of Yusmeiro Petit, who missed a perfect game over the Arizona Diamondbacks three years ago by one out?
Or the last time you didn’t spare a thought for Rube Marquard, the last Giant pitcher to no-hit the Dodgers? True, the game was 101 years ago, and true, the Giants were in New York and the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and true, the game was the second of the season for both teams, and true, the Dodgers finished third and the Giants eighth, and true, the Dodgers weren’t even called the Dodgers . . .
(And never forget that “but still” is the last words you ever from someone who has lost an argument on logical grounds but still wants to have his thoughts and views registered because even a person with a clown car for a brain must be heard, as annoying a prospect as that seems).
Anyway, the point is, Matt Moore saved the Giants season – at least temporarily. And now Matt Moore is everyone’s favorite Giant.
Which is fine. Giant fans have an odd affinity for their players that comes and goes on a whim. Moore was put in a make-or-be-broken situation due his teammates’ monumental gaspiping since the All-Star Break, and to be swept in Los Angeles would have been the final straw – until the next final straw, which is Friday’s game against Atlanta.
And Moore came up with his best start ever (with, of course, the only other candidate being a complete-game two-hit shutout of the Red Sox in 2013, which you all remember). He forced the Giants’ fan base, which had queued up to depart the bandwagon in that tossed-off-the-side-by-burly-stevedores kind of way, to withdraw to their seats and resume hoping that they could restore their season and reach their numerical destiny of even-year parades.
It’s nice, then, to suddenly be a fan base’s favorite player, even if it is only for one day.
It won’t last, of course. There are other Giants with more sweat equity who already have claims to the audience’s collective heart. Posey . . . Pence . . . Crawford . . . Bumgarner . . . Cueto . . . Belt (when he’s not doing what he’s doing these days) . . . and yes, even Duffy.
And that’s including the fact that Duffy has an OPS-plus in Tampa of 114, turning the Rays’ season completely around (in that they are 10-5 since he got there and 46-67 before that, and have gone from 14th place in the American League to 14th place in the American League). People around here love Matt Duffy, almost to the point of creepiness.
Then again, the Giants have always had a way of making their fans love their players in a slightly disturbing way. That’s a sociology midterm for another time, but Duffy is currently beloved in these parts, and probably always will be.
Thursday, though, Matt Moore made it a slightly more even fight. Now all he has to do is keep having those Marquard outings every fifth day from now until season’s end – a totally reasonable standard, I think we can all agree – and he could make the West Bay forget Matt Duffy.
But Yusmeiro Petit? Don’t be a fool. Some men are simply gods not to be toppled.