If the trajectory of the SF Giants season continues as it's going now (which is down, down, down), there might be a moment remembered as both causal and indicative. It happened Tuesday night in the ninth inning.
SF went into the ninth leading San Diego 4-1. Hunter Strickland was in his second audition recently as Closer; he'd done well the last time, inducing a game ending double play.
He got the first out. Then things started dinking and dunking badly and he started losing it. But..there came a moment when the Giants still led that he induced a double play ball that would have ended the game, heading towards the sure glove of Joe Panik--and Strickland stuck out his glove just enough to deflect the ball.
Even at that Panik was able to get one out. But not the two that would have saved the victory, and boosted the Giants one game closer to LA.
But it didn't happen and agonizing minutes later,a rookie reliever gave up a 3-run homer on a two-strike pitch. The Giants went meekly in the bottom of the 9th (losing 6-4), and apparently were so disheartened the next afternoon that they could manage but one run to support their ace Bumgarner, and lost 3-1.
A crucial tuneup against a weaker team turned into a sweep for San Diego. Someone has figured out that if the Giants second half won-lost record were extrapolated for the whole season, this would be the worst team in Giants history.
The Giants conceivably could still make the playoffs (the division title is now pretty much gone) and advancing is within the realm of possibility. But the latter is very unlikely, and so the former might be worse.
When a series or maybe even a season definitively and finally goes south, there might be a moment in which (at least in retrospect) the story was told. That just might be the moment the ball deflected off Strickland's glove on Tuesday night.
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