Giants

Urban: Giants-Padres doesn't feel nearly the same

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Urban: Giants-Padres doesn't feel nearly the same

Sept. 14, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Accuse all you want of spraying stinging agent over the rave, but as in-the-moment exciting as was the Giants' 3-1 victory over the Padres at AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon, in the not-long-after-the-moment quiet of seagulls brawling over bratwurst buns beneath the bullpen bench, it was all a little bit sad.Maybe sad is the wrong word. Maybe that stings a little too much. Let's try nostalgic on for size. Better? Fine. Wear it. But know that nostalgia, unless it comes in a boxed set of DVDs and was produced by Ken Burns, rarely has a warm-fuzzy feeling attached.

Let's face it, folks. Had this game been played at this time last year, it would have been the kind of game for which you'd steal the tickets out of your neighbor's mailbox after his friend dropped them off and drove away.(And no, that's not the voice of experience speaking. OK, maybe just once. I wanted one of those damn "WE BELIEVE" t-shirts, all right?)Think about it. This game, at this time in 2010? Tim Lincecum, hero, vs. Mat Latos, villain? Top two teams in the National League West, with a season's worth of hard-fought, white-knuckle street fights visible in the frothy wake. Wednesday? Same two pitchers, both still very gifted, but only Lincecum still has that aura of invincibility. Latos has fallen, and he's fallen hard. Something about karma being a female dog.And the teams? Hoo, boy. Not the same teams in virtually any respect. The Padres, with apologies to Denny Green, are who we thought they were. They stink on shards of glass.The Giants? That's a convoluted, hot mess of injuries, expectations and underachievement. But it's not the same team, and no matter how hard the die-hards want to convince themselves otherwise, the defending champs are no longer defending their champs-ness. They're defending their sellout streak, .500 and their pride.Fortunately, they're doing a fine job of it as of late. Lincecum was fantastic in what might have been his 2011 swan song at AT&T Park; Carlos Beltran went deep twice, once into the drink, for career homers 299 and 300; and the Giants' winning streak went to four games for the first time since early July.All fine and well.But the roar that rose from the latest sellout crowd at the end of Wednesday's game was nothing like we heard around these parts last September, and those sounds won't be heard on that level again until next September at the earliest.So by all means enjoy it, Giants fans. Heck of a win. Leaning on nostalgia, however, almost always, eventually, feels like what rains down from those seagulls about an hour or so after the bratwurst-bun battles have been won.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

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USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.