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

163522.jpg

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

Sept. 14, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO

Follow @MUrbanCSN
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 from Giants' 6-4 win over Cubs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 6-4 win over Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — This time, the comeback would not be completed. 

The Giants nearly gave away a six-run lead in their first game against the Cubs since the NLDS collapse, but they held on for a 6-4 win. Ty Blach was strong into the eighth, Joe Panik had a monster night, and Mark Melancon closed it out. The Giants are 3-1 on the road trip and have won eight of 10 overall. 

Here are five things to know from the first night back at Wrigley … 

--- Manager Bruce Bochy had to have a sick and familiar feeling in his stomach as he walked out to the mound for the third pitching change of the eighth. Hunter Strickland fell behind with two on, but he got Willson Contreras to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

---  Blach’s career numbers against the Cubs, including the postseason: 10 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs. The two relief appearances last October helped convince the staff he could make the transition. Turns out he’s pretty good against them as a starter, too. 

--- A perfect example of why Blach is so successful despite not having blow-you-away stuff came in the sixth. Albert Almora blooped a single to right and Blach alertly followed him to first, which had been vacated by Brandon Belt. Almora never imagined anyone was covering first, and when Justin Ruggiano threw behind the runner, Blach was there to catch the ball and fire it down to second to nab Almora, who had gone halfway. 

--- The Giants entered the night with a .351 slugging percentage, last in the Majors. John Lackey came in allowing opponents to slug .487, ninth-worst in the National League. Sometimes it’s all just too neat. The Giants had two homers and three doubles in five innings off Lackey. 

--- All three Giants homers were solo shots. That’s 18 solos in a row, three shy of the MLB record, held by the 2011 Giants.

Latest injury to Span has outfielder out of lineup again, in uncomfortable state

Latest injury to Span has outfielder out of lineup again, in uncomfortable state

CHICAGO -- Denard Span's first week off the DL showed what a game-changer he can be when healthy. Unfortunately for the Giants, he's no longer healthy. 

Span is out of the lineup Monday with a left thumb sprain and he's unlikely to be available Tuesday. Span has felt the discomfort for about a week and it got worse Sunday against the Cardinals.

"Yesterday was not fun. I got jammed the second at-bat and fouled a ball off and the rest of the game was bad," Span said, adding that hitting coach Hensley Meulens showed him video of his thumb instinctively coming off the bat during his later swings.

Span said his palm is swollen right near the thumb, and he was wearing a wrap on the area Monday. He is 13-for-43 with two homers and six RBI since coming off the DL, helping with the turnaround. Prior to the last homestand, Span missed 17 games with a shoulder injury.