The Giants took the first game of a suddenly pivotal homestand, beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 behind the gutty effort of Jason Schmidt. Schmidt struggled with his control, needing 95 pitched to get through five innings, but was able to hand a lead off to a beleaguered bullpen.
I was able to catch a bit of the game, just enough to remind me how ridiculous the Giants lineup really is. In the bottom of the fifth(?), Devi Cruz (pinch-hitting for Schmidt) led off with a double. For just about any team in baseball, a leadoff double is the start of a big inning. For the Giants it was the start of more futility.
Alou chose to have Durham try to bunt Cruz to third. Amazing but true. Durham, one of the few Giants with a real batting average, was directed to bunt Cruz into scoring position, when he was already in scoring position!. A man on second with no outs is wo
rth about a run and a half to a real baseball team, but this is the punchless judy's we're talking about here. After Durham failed to lay it down twice, he battled out of an 0-2 hole to slap the ball to the first baseman, advancing Cruz. But wait, there's more.
With Cruz on third, Alfonzo weakly grounded right back to the pitcher, who looked Cruz back and threw to first. At which point, Cruz bolted for home and was out at the plate. That's right, boys and girls, the Giants turned a man on second and nobody out into zero runs, and more amazingly, they grounded into that rarest of double plays, 1-3-2.
A couple of innings later, their ineptitude at the plate grew, as Bobby Cox elected to walk Bonds with runners on first and second with 2 outs in the bottom of the seventh. Jeffrey Hammonds, batting behind Bonds (AAAAAHA HA HA HA HA HA), looked at strike three to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Wow. That was enough for me. Bedtime for Johnny.