Opening Dazed 

Just back from the yard, where nothing went right. The highlight was Barry Bonds's stolen base in the first inning.

Prepare yourself for all manner of pronouncements from tomorrow's columnists about the symbolism of today's game. So much more than one loss. A peek at a long, grim summer. The Giant karmic chickens are coming home to roost.

Indeed, Zito was hittable, the Giants' lineup, lackluster, and the bullpen, uglier than Julian Tavarez with a comb-over. If you want to see today's game as a microcosm, it certainly lent itself to all our worst preconceived notions heading into the season.

I'm not going to extrapolate too much. Bottom line is Jake Peavy was very very on, and there's no shame in looking feeble against him. Mark it down 0-1 and move on to Matt Cain tomorrow night. But it's worth noting a few things:

* The turning point of the game came in the fourth inning, Padres up 2-0. It was obvious Peavy had his A-game, so another run would likely be the nail in the coffin. With Bard on first and a run already in, Zito had Greene down two strikes but couldn't put him away. After a few foul balls, Greene grounded to Feliz, who bobbled what was a likely double-play grounder. Next batter, Kouzmanoff, also down two strikes. Again, Zito couldn't put him away. Finally, he singled to left on a ball that Bonds perhaps should have caught. No doubt, Zito was let down by his defense. But a strikeout pitcher doesn't need as much luck (or defensive support). Zito, who didn't top 86 MPH, did not look like he could get a strikeout when he needed. The Padres looked very comfortable at the plate. (Side note: the drunk guy behind me leaned over after Zito came out and said, "Dude, he didn't even throw a fastball today!" I said, "84 miles an hour is his fastball." "Dude," said the dude, "I didn't realize that." I knew it coming in, but seeing it in person is rather sobering. Well, not literally for the guy behind me, but you get my point. My team just paid $126 million for a 28-year-old Jamie Moyer.)

* Every reliever gave up loud hits. Kevin Correia, shame on you for grooving an 0-2 fastball to Jose Cruz, a terrible off-speed hitter hitting from his weak side. Jonathan Sanchez: no breaking ball to speak of and a changeup that tended to hang out around belt-high. Vinny Chulk: a few good pitches then just as he nearly wriggles out of trouble, he makes a couple mistakes.

* Pedro Feliz, Lance Niekro: No clue against Peavy. Against tough right-handers, Feliz needs to sit, Aurilia slide to third, and Klesko play first. It's not rocket science.

Just remember, the 2000 Giants started the year 4-and-11, and that year turned into magic for a short sweet spell, especially when J.T. hit that home run in the playoffs off...uh...never mind.


LATE NIGHT UPDATE: How bad was today's game? Independently of each other, both Grant and I came up with former-Giants-of-attractiveness metaphors. Julian Tavarez with a comb-over. Willie McGee in a diaper. No doubt you're all on the edge of your seats to see how we paint the picture of the upcoming 13-2 loss to the Nationals on a cold August Tuesday night.

NOW LISTENING TO: Lots of Soweto, courtesy of FMFM, the pirate signal at the end of the continent. No wonder Paul Simon got hooked. Mahlathini, the Lion of Soweto (or if you prefer, the Howlin' Wolf of South Africa) and the Mahotella Queens are top of the pops for me right now.


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