September 5, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
Whomever is charged with putting together the DVD highlights of the 2011 season can save themselves a lot of time and editing by simply copying Sunday's death knell of a loss to the Diamondbacks.It was the season in a nutshell in virtually every way.It started with a little magic, just as the season did, what with all of those riveting comebacks and tense triumphs. Cody Ross' leadoff homer in the first inning put a charge into sellout No. 72 for the year.It featured, as has the season as a whole, more than little brilliance on the mound, and it was fitting that on Sunday it was supplied by the surprising Ryan Vogelsong. He was terrific for seven innings.Eventually, though, every one of the Giants' problems this season came to the fore. RELATED: Nail in coffin? Giants crumble, D'Backs win series
The failure to advance runners, to cash in those rare opportunities to give the pitcher some breathing room.The same stubborn refusal to sacrifice an out with a bunt, one of the game's most basic but vital skills and largely ignored all year.
The inability to come up with the kind of defensive play that separates champions from also-rans.And finally, the pitching buckling late under the pressure of having to be perfect. Arizona's four-run uprising in the eighth inning was almost comically predictable, turning what should have been a victorious and uplifting afternoon for Vogelsong into yet another disheartening loss.Just like that, less than 48 hours after Matt Cain had given the Giants a glimmer of hope with his latest I'm-the-man masterpiece, the season felt as though it had ended.It isn't officially over, of course. Twenty-two games remain. Yet as badly as their fans would like to point to historical precedents, and to the 2010 season as an example of this team's unwillingness to fold like pup tents, the Giants are at least pouring water on the campfire and packing their trash.Seven games back? Might as well be 17. There's been nothing in the past two months to indicate that the defending champs won't soon be putting that well-traveled trophy back into its case once and for all, and start facing facts.These are the facts: You can't sustain the kind of magic they enjoyed in April, May, June and part of July through the end of July, August and September.
August was not an aberration. It was the month in which the injuries and age finally caught up, and September is the month in which the focus must shift to how to get younger, healthier and better in 2012.October? Likely to be spent at home, staring at that unopened DVD, wondering how badly it's going to hurt to see it all boiled down to that one ugly game when the season effectively ended.