Aug. 30, 2011
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Tim Lincecums last chance passed Monday night, and with it the last chance for the Giants pitching staff to unload a years worth of imprecations toward their teammates.All it would have taken was for Lincecum to say that one simple sentence, I know we were done when I gave up that Soriano homer. No chance after that. None.Then some snotty reporter would have asked, How did you know that? It was just 1-0. And Lincecum would have had his opening.Are you kidding? he could have yelped in his best scalded-dog voice as he crushed a swig of Old Overcoat. Have you been here at all? Were averaging zero a game. Zero. I give up one, were done. And its like this every stinking night. We all know it. They all know it. The fans all know it. First one to one run wins, unless its us.
The evidence is too overwhelming, the body language too revealing. Losing to the Cubs, 7-0, at home is hard not because of the 7, but because of the 0. Randy Wells, whose ERA is two runs higher than the Giants' scoring average, smothered them with a throw pillow like it was a spring training game.RELATED: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
And nobody in the clubhouse would have argued with him, or minded that he broke clubhouse protocol to shame his brethren. Hell, it might have been cathartic enough that even the hitters would have leaped to Lincecums defense.We stink, Aubrey Huff could have said. I stink, they stink, we all stink. Weve done everything we know to try and it always comes out the same. Were just grateful it took 135 games for one of the pitchers to finally lose it. They were overly kind, and we appreciate it.But the moments passed, and now a pitcher ripping the Giants offense is pretty much backing over a dead squirrel. It isnt going to get better, and it cant really get worse.And now, because Lincecum held his tongue as a good teammate would, none of the other pitchers can really unload either. Only he and Matt Cain have the legitimate right to do so, and Cains been through this too long to be either surprised or annoyed by it.URBAN: Giants just aren't very good
Since the fans are also coming around to the notion that these hitters cant be fixed this year, except maybe in the veterinary sense, laying them out in public is almost like yelling at a cat for stealing a car. You can scream all you want, but the cat isnt going to get why youre mad. Its a cat, for Gods sake.By, now, the numbers just double over and laugh. As of today, the Giants are on pace to score 544 runs, which would give them a ridiculous 3.36 runs per game. Only one team in franchise history, the 1902 Giants, failed to meet even that enfeebled standard, making this the 128th best offense in franchise history, out of only 129 teams.Since the All-Star Break, they have played 43 games, and only in 11 of those 43 games have they scored more than four runs, which is problematic in the extreme given that the average total for one team in any game is 4.15.But the pitchers have stiff-upper-lipped it through thin, thinner and starvation-level, keeping their comments under their breaths and in pitchers-only meetings in which Dave Righettis sole job is to search them for sharp objects and evidence of cutting.But Monday would have been the moment, simply because it seemed to be the moment that the fans and even the broadcasters accepted the inevitable -- that their world is going to be an endless parade of 4-to-3s, 6-to-3s and strikeouts, and that the teams average with runners in scoring position is no longer even listed.Monday was the night everyone finally realized that it isnt the batting orders that are wrong with this team, but the names on them. Monday was the night that the Giants finally stubbed out hope that they would ever hit again except in the most absurd of confluences.And yet Lincecum didnt crack, except for some oblique reference to Its hard to keep your head up. Bruce Bochy, who ran out of words long ago and had just been reciting from the Book of What Do You Want From Me, finally surrendered, skipping the postgame entirely and referring all hitting inquiries to whatever batsmen were available.So now the moment is gone, and theres no retrieving it. If a pitcher says something now, it will seem like piling on rather than frustration of constructive criticism. It certainly wont be a spontaneous outburst. It will be the dead squirrel, flattened for no good reason save being able to say, I ran over a dead squirrel.And whats the satisfaction in that?Ray Ratto is a columnist with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.