Aug. 29, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Did we just see the title defense come to an unofficial end? Sure felt like it.The Giants entered Monday with 28 games left on the schedule, the first three coming against the visiting Cubs, one of the worst road teams in the game. That distinction, of course, means very little at this point, because the Astros came into last weekend's four-game series at AT&T Park with the distinction of being the worst team in the game, period, and we all know how that worked out.The teams split the four games, but if you were unfortunate enough to have watched the entire mind-numbing series, you'd have sworn the Astros won seven of nine, each of them by a score of 2-1 in 14 innings.
RECAP: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
So you knew not to take the Cubs lightly. The Giants knew not to take the Cubs lightly. And there's no way on earth that they did. The 7-0 loss the defending world champs suffered was a product not of disengagement or lack of effort, but rather the product of not being a very good baseball team. That's the cold, hard truth.Let's all say it together: The Giants just aren't very good.Blame it on the difficulty that is repeating. There's a reason it almost never happens -- it's damn hard.Blame it on Brian Sabean if that's what floats your boat. You'll get an argument from this corner that related directly to the injuries and the difficulty of repeating, but chances are you're so steaming mad about Monday's mess that you wouldn't hear the argument anyway, so knock yourself out.It doesn't even really matter who or what you blame it on. But you might as well accept it as fact.Let's all say it again: The Giants just aren't very good.
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Slumping? No. Slumps even out over six months. Slumps even out over three months. Four at the most. Five? That's not a slump. That's simply being what you are, and do we need to say it again?No, we don't.What we do need to say, for the first time all year, is that this is a team prepping for the administration of last rites.Sure, you can point to those six remaining games against the Diamondbacks. But Arizona won again on Monday to take a five-game lead in the National League West with 27 games to go, and the math is so clearly in the Snakes' favor that even the eternal optimist who produces this piece has to concede that catching them will be as difficult as, well, as catching a rattler with your teeth.The odds aren't impossible, but they're certainly getting there. The Giants desperately needed to sweep the Cubs here, and now they won't.And they won't have their best pitcher, Tim Lincecum, to help them get either of the next two desperately needed games of the series, either.Lincecum looked as beaten as anyone as he walked off the mound in the seventh inning Monday, having allowed three home runs for the first time in his career, a picture of abject frustration.You could almost see the cartoon thought bubble hovering over his hung head."We're just not very good."