It happens. More specifically, it happened.
The San Francisco Giants, who hold the title of baseball’s best team if you subscribe to newfangled stats like “wins” and “winning percentage,” just lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hold the title of baseball’s worst team if you subscribe to newfangled stats like “losses” and “losing percentage.”
So yeah. That was fun.
It was the Giants seventh attempt to lose to the Diamondbacks, but only their first success. So far they had been thwarted by things like overcoming a 7-0 deficit. You know, things of that nature.
But on Thursday they finally did it. They did what they’ve been setting out to do all year long, and lost to the team that, prior to the game, had lost 38 of their last 42 games.
Again: super fun.
My grumping notwithstanding, this is not an indictment of the Giants, even though they’re riding their first four-game losing streak of the season. Losses happen. Losses by good teams happen. Losses by good teams to bad teams happen. The San Diego Padres have already lost to the Diamondbacks three times, and they’re doing all right for themselves.
One of the fundamental issues to grapple with as a baseball fan is that bad losses are commonplace, unavoidable, and entirely justifiable. Yet they’re still just as frustrating as in a sport where they can’t be justified.
The Giants kicked off the game with a first inning home run by Mike Yastrzemski.
That should have been enough against an Arizona offense that was down Ketel Marte and Carson Kelly.
But Johnny Cueto allowed a rally in the second inning that featured two-out RBI hits by Josh VanMeter, who entered the game with a .165 batting average, and pitcher Merrill Kelly, who entered the game with 1 hit in 77 career at bats.
Yet while an .013 hitting pitcher was racking up RBI singles, the Giants added to their RISP foibles, and pushed their streak to 23 consecutive hitless at bats with a runner in scoring position.
Still, they retook the lead on the type of Wilmer Flores home run that truly took advantage of that sweet July air in Phoenix.
Just as Brandon Crawford had in LA, that dinger by Flores was the longest of his career in the Statcast era, clocking in at 429 feet.
That also should have been enough.
But Cueto allowed a go-ahead home run to Josh Reddick, who, unlike 454 other humans, entered the game without an MLB home run this year.
And then Cueto allowed an insurance dinger to Pavin Smith, who entered the game with 6 career home runs in 358 plate appearances.
And then the Giants, as they did against LA, put the tying run on base in the ninth inning with no outs, but did nothing with it.
Really, your main takeaway from this article should be how much has to go right for a time mired in a 4-38 stretch to win a game against a competent baseball squad.
But your heart will tell you that no, the takeaway is that the Giants lost 5-3 to the worst team in baseball, dragged their skid out to a season-high four games, and suddenly are just 0.5 games ahead of the Dodgers in the standings.
So just watch this play on repeat and wait for Friday’s game.