The Giants’ bullpen man…
Took me a day to calm down after such a horrible loss but I’m calm(ish) now.
Where to begin?
The most accurate ending to the Giants season my God. The most unproductive bullpen I’ve ever seen let the team down once again. Right when the team needed it the most. Three outs was all that was needed. Matt Moore pitched eight beautiful innings and he gave it to the bullpen with a comfortable three run lead. Somehow, the bullpen managed to mess that up.
Just as Giants fans began to focus on the decisive Game 5 in which they would have the 18-game-winner Johnny Cueto on the mound in a winner-take-all game. A three run lead into the top of the ninth was enough for the bullpen..right?
Just as memories of the courageous 2012 NLDS comeback against the Reds came back to the memories of the fans. The series where the story began. Down 0-2 in the series, the Giants remained alive in Game 3 with a walk-off win and even ended up winning the series 3-2. It was possible. It had been done before. If anyone could do it, it was the even year Giants.
Sadly, they came a couple of steps short. One unfocused inning led to the first time the Giants lost a playoff series since 2003. A couple of walks and a couple of hits not only decreased the lead but opened the door to the NLCS for the Cubs.
It just wasn’t like the previous years. Something was wrong, it was visible the whole second half. For the most part, the Giants start off cold but progressively heat up after the All Star break and head into the postseason fired up. This time, it was the complete opposite. Best record in the majors, eight games over the Kershaw-less Dodgers and two of the best aces in the game in Bumgarner and Cueto. Seemed like a stroll to the World Series.
The second half really tore the Giants apart. An utter collapse to a team that frankly forgot how to play baseball. They stumbled and crawled into the last playoff spot on the last day of the regular season and again stumbled and crawled past the Mets in the Wild Card. They were winning but they definitely weren’t convincing.
But down 0-2 to the best team in baseball this year, after your unhittable ace gives up a three-run bomb, something sparked. The Giants, for the first time in awhile, began to hit. They rallied back and won the game. Of course it couldn’t have been a 2016 Giants game without a blown save, just doesn’t work like that. Alas, they made it work. As expected, it was another postseason hero for the Giants.
Game 4 seemed to be carrying the same momentum from the night before. Moore was lights out and the Giants put FIVE runs on the board and could just coast through to finish the game. It seemed as if they had gotten their playoff rhythm. With an in-form Giants team, the idea of Game 5 seemed to haunt the Cubs fans.
But we all know what happened. We all saw it. The Giants’ bullpen, once again. This time though, it wasn’t Casilla. Every pitcher that came into the game in the 9th inning put in their little grain of salt towards the meltdown. It was a complete disaster. No matter who Bochy put in, same result. We saw with our very eyes, one of the most humiliating bullpen collapses in postseason history.
At this point, the game is done. Nothing we can do. However, we cannot let this problem go unnoticed. The team has the pitchers needed to win. For the most part, they have the players. But for the first time in an even year, they didn’t have the bullpen. The laughingstock of the sports world and for good reason. 30 blown saves this season in the Giants’ bullpen. THIRTY. This winter they need to go out and get a reliable closer and surround him with a reliable bullpen if they want to begin dreaming about the “Odd years”.
Just wasn’t meant to be. That spark just wasn’t there. Maybe next year. Or maybe 2018..