Gravity wins again.
That is to say, the Giants’ plummet from the heights of pre-All Star anticipation to the street below continues apace, and full splattage seems an increasingly likely end.
Or, in terms you might consider closer to readable English, they got hammered flat again.
This time, they were roundly chastised by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-5. They gave up their 50th home run since the break, their 61st run in the last 98 innings, and now even the assumption that Madison Bumgarner could get them through anything has been dented.
And that last one might be the most damaging.
It isn’t so much that Bumgarner has descended to the mortal – he has been cuffed about for the third time in his last five starts, which qualifies for small sample size designation – but that he has not been the overwhelming streak-buster he has been. And with so few other things working well for them, the Giants have few things upon which they can rely. And Bumgarner was supposed to be one of them.
Now? He is merely one of the many, part of the ensemble cast of the team that has lost 24 of 35 games and gone from 10 games safe relative to the playoff line to a paltry three.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Dodgers get to Bumgarner, push lead over Giants to two]
Without the alleged invincibility of Bumgarner and Wednesday’s starter, Johnny Cueto, the Giants are . . . well, choose your own pejorative. This moment is as low as they have looked, and presumably have felt, since the start of the season, and any optimism they might still have is betting well against the run of play.
But the maddening nature of baseball is that there are still another 37 of these tableaus, another 7,000 minutes of baseball more or less at their present game pace, so as ghastly as they have performed, as overmatched as they seem, as dead as they appear, they are actually only dead-ish.
They are really only too far away to reach the Chicago Cubs, amazingly enough, and every other team in the clot of playoff teams has noticeable gaps and tears in their own fabrics – including the Dodgers.
The difference, of course, is this. Only the Giants have decided to condense their worst baseball since . . . well, ever, to the current moment, making their failures look all the more revolting.
We are a people who remember the last thing we saw and (a) think it is a permanent condition and (b) what is meant to be. This usually makes us stupid – as it did when the Giants went 40-15 before the All-Star Break did everything but hire the jewelers for the parade.
But it is that very success that makes the failures of the now all the more disintegrating. If they’d been a little cruddier then and a little less cruddy now, people might not be leaping off the bandwagon like lemmings being hurled over a cliff, as they were by crew members in the famous 1958 Disney docu-lie White Wilderness.
But they decided to be super good before, so being super bad now is their fault too, only worse. When you are playing four games worse than the Atlanta Braves, you deserve what you get.
Oh, Cueto can save them Wednesday, and Jeff Samardzija on Thursday, which would put them back in a divisional tie with the Dodgers. But today’s snapshot has them as god-awful as they have been in the entirety of the Bruce Bochy regime, and only a lunatic would see what we have seen and say, “Yeah, they’ll be fine.”
Not even the Braves.