AT&T PARK — Maybe. That’s the only appropriate word. Maybe the Giants are about to play as everyone thought, as their manager Bruce Bochy conceded, to expectations. Maybe the breakout — their first three-game win streak of this so-far rotten season — is an indication.
Or maybe it’s just a tease.
While the Warriors were showing what we knew they had, on the other side of the Bay, the San Francisco side, the Giants were showing what we thought they had. And still don’t know for sure.
Maybe Jeff Samardzija, who didn’t have a single win this season, put everything in a kind of perspective. “Never mind the records,” he said, after his became 1-5. “You have to go out every day and play each game — whatever the numbers by your name.”
The numbers by his name, the numbers next to the San Francisco Giants, could be judged as embarrassing. Jeff at 0-5, the Giants a few days ago with exactly twice as many losses (24) as victories (12). But Samardzija said don’t look back. And Bruce Bochy, the Giants manager, said keep looking forward.
“There’s enough time left,” said Bochy. And, seemingly, after an 8-3 win Sunday over the Cincinnati Reds before the zillionth-straight announced sellout crowd (well, 507th straight — but as Samardzija told us — don’t worry about numbers) maybe enough progress was made.
Denard Span, a legitimate leadoff man and centerfielder — and there is no underestimating the importance of both — is back and productive. Brandon Belt is finally living up to his name, although a .221 average — here, numbers are significant — isn’t exactly what you want from your first baseman. And Panik and Posey, and lo and behold the third baseman-left fielder Eduardo Nunez, are hitting.
Maybe. Maybe that excruciating but rewarding 17-inning win Friday night (well, the wee small hours of Saturday morning) was a turning point. As Bochy said, the Giants had been humbled.
A strange game, baseball. That long season enables good teams to go bad (see 2016 Francisco Giants) and bad teams to become good, if down deep they really, truly are a good team.
The Dodgers arrive again tonight, and they’ve played as well as the Giants have played poorly. Bochy spoke of the Giants being humbled a few days ago in Cincy. No team can humble the Giants like the Dodgers, their rivals and tormentors since forever.
“We’ve been trying to get this thing headed in the right direction,” said Bochy.
“More than anything, you look at what happened in Cincinnati. We got pummeled pretty good, to the point where that’s embarrassing. We come here, they win the first ballgame so they’ve won four in a row now and had a lot of success against us. To bounce back and win three games in a row and pitch the way we did and really execute and win the way we did today … it was a good bounceback.”
Nothing quite like the Warriors against the Spurs, but Giants fans will accept it.
Samardzija, the one-time Notre Dame wide receiver, understands the demands. You think Irish fans understand defeat? You think Warrior fans? You think Giants fans?
“Everybody takes losses here pretty personally,” said Samardzija. “I don’t think those at Cincinnati were easy but you also have to take them in context. A loss is a loss is a loss.”
And until the last few days a Giants team that was supposed to be good if not excellent had loss after loss after loss, sinking to the depths.
Now they’ve won a few, won three in a row for the first time.
Maybe. Just maybe.