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COHN: Cue the dirge for Giants' funeral

  • (l to r) Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez sit dejectedly on the bench in the 8th inning as the Giants fell behind 9-0. The San Francisco Giants played the Cincinnati Reds in the 2nd game of the NLDS on Sunday, October, 7, 2012.
    (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Close the curtains to block out the harsh sun. Hang black sheets from the walls and buy the funeral meats for the guests who'll view the corpse. And choose the right music. Yes, choose a dirge. The Giants are dead.

Oh, they are not dead yet, even though the Reds beat them 9-0, taking the first two games of the Division Series, even though their postgame clubhouse was a morgue, the only sound someone silently cleaning cleats over a garbage can. Let's allow things to take their natural and inevitable course. The Giants are not quite dead. They are about to be dead.

They were given so many gifts — call them the gifts of life. Through a quirk of scheduling which will not exist next year, they were allowed to open the Division Series in their place, a baseball cathedral that now feels like a mausoleum. They were granted a chance to make a statement, win a game, preferably two, jump on the Cincinnati Reds before the three games in Cincinnati, if three games are required. But they lost both games at home, squandered them, and that means they will die in the next few days in Cincinnati of all places.

NL Division Series Game 2


Play a mournful tune. Speak in whispers. Say a prayer for the dead.

And they received another gift — it was like a gift from God. Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto couldn't last two batters in Game 1. He hurt his back, and the Giants had their opportunity to ruin the Reds. They could not. They squandered that gift, too. And now that they've lost Game 2, a game they absolutely could not lose, and the end is near.

Play the violin. Dance a slow dance. Shed a silent tear.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy attached his hopes to pitcher Madison Bumgarner in Game 2. Bumgarner has been a good pitcher, not lately. Bochy said late-season rest helped him. On the radio, Mike Krukow said Bumgarner had a "sling" in his throwing motion but got rid of it. Krukow said Bumgarner was throwing well and corrected flaws in his mechanics and looked efficient.

This was early in the game before Bumgarner gave up four runs on seven hits, before he gave up a home run, before he looked like just another losing pitcher, before Bochy yanked him after just 4?.

Later, Bumgarner said he pitched well, said he had bad luck, batted balls finding holes. He was whistling past the graveyard.

The Giants will start Ryan Vogelsong on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Bumgarner is supposed to be better than Vogelsong, steadier, more in charge. Good grief.

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