It wasn't supposed to be this difficult until the NLDS. Not after they traded for Carlos Beltran, anyway. The San Francisco Giants were steadily rolling toward what looked like a second straight NL West title, one that seemed like it would come much easier than the first. The first division title came over the San Diego Padres, a team holding what looked like a comfortable lead until they suffered a 10-game losing streak that spanned the end of August and the beginning of September, 2010.
Now, with the Giants halfway to that point with a 5-game losing streak of their own where they've been outscored 31-8, the question isn't whether the Giants have enough hitting to help them survive rematches against the Braves and Phillies in the playoffs. It's if the combination of losing Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez for the rest of the season is going to be the anchor that drags this team to the kind of record its run differential (-5 for the season after Tuesday's loss) would indicate.
The past week started out well, with the Giants winning two of three in Philadelphia. I was up near Willow Creek (almost six hours from San Francisco along the Trinity River), listening to both of the Giants' two wins in Philly on satellite radio -- which only carried the Phillies' feed. And their announcers seemed more than pretty deflated after consecutive losses to Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, they were almost catatonic. They considered the 7-2 win against Barry Zito in the series opener almost like a preseason game, since only a fool would assume the Giants would put Zito on the postseason roster this season.
But with Justin Upton looking like the best player in the world and the D-Backs' pitching staff hardly embarrassing themselves in comparison with the Giants' hurlers as of late, thinking about postseason rosters seems incredibly presumptuous and dismissive of a team that's younger, faster, and more powerful. Giants management and players already knew this wasn't going to be easy, but the fans have been trained to assume that no matter what happened to the Giants, everything would turn out okay in the end. However, in this reality show every day is a first-run episode. And repeats aren't guaranteed.
OMG Radio Dramz
- Totally normal week for sports talk radio around here. KNBR, "The Sports Leader," vs. 95.7, "The Game"! LETS GET READY TO RUMB.... (Wait, Michael Buffer owns the trademark to that line, doesn't he? Can I trust SB Nation to pay the rights fees if I post his signature statement? David Fucillo, any thoughts? Huh, apparently Fooch passed the bar recently, and as such he won't give me any advice unless I pay him $250/hr. Forget it.)
- First, I heard from an anonymous (but very credible) source that Damon Bruce would soon be joining Gary Radnich on KNBR 680 from 9-to-noon.
- Then Mychael Urban, who was let go from KNBR before the baseball season and then brought back after the All-Star Break, leaves KNBR to sign a deal to be an "Insider" for 95.7 FM -- along with Matt Maiocco, Matt Steinmetz, Brodie Brazil and John Dickinson. Not every Comcast Sports Net "Insider" made signed with 95.7, however, as Ray Ratto is still a radio free agent. From what I'm hearing, Comcast hasn't entered into any sort of partnership with "The Game."
- Radnich and Bruce end up joining forces on Monday morning, without Tony Bruno's regular 11 am segment. KNBR replaces Bruce's old 1050 show with the Dan Patrick Show, a syndicated program that has been on at more different times around here than reruns of Seinfeld, Cheers and Friends on KTVU combined.
KNBR and 95.7 air new promo spots that seem to signify the beginning of a feud. KNBR's seem to be focused on promoting their status as the main/only sports talk radio station in the region for three decades with the most popular teams under their flagship umbrella. 95.7 went the other direction, in effect calling AM and its hosts old and painting KNBR as a station that refuses to talk about the A's. While it's all a little silly, it's definitely injecting life in a medium that hasn't had much competition in this region for quite some time.
- Former Raiders now include Nnamdi Asomugha, Robert Gallery, Bruce Gradkowski, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Thomas Howard and Zach Miller, while the 49ers have lost David Baas, Nate Clements, Aubrayo Franklin, Travis LaBoy, Manny Lawson and Takeo Spikes.
- Each team has re-signed a few FAs (that's right, Camp Alex wasn't all for nothing), with relatively few notable additions from other teams -- Trent Edwards and Jared Gaither to the Raiders, and Carlos Rogers, Madieu Williams and David Akers to the Niners.
- What does it all mean? Still too early to tell, but both teams seem to be letting their new coaches fully gauge each team's strengths and weaknesses before throwing every spare dollar they have at free agents. All I know is I'm already tired of the #SuckForLuck meme.