The giants’ attempt to build on 2021 fails, but not for lack of ambition

Here, take that ladder, San Francisco Giants fans. It will help you look over that huge wall between your team and the playoffs.

You might also need a high-powered telescope. A distinct possibility during the All-Star break, “Giants in October” suddenly carries the unsettling vacancy of a chimera.

Team president Farhan Zaidi is crushed by the fan base these days, after those eight straight losses to the Dodgers. From that point of view, it’s a bit unfair. He had a plan last year, radical and unconventional. It worked to the perfection of 107 wins. Why not try another chance, with a bit of tinkering and an elite starter, Carlos Rodón, to replace Kevin Gausman?

Zaidi won so much, a chance to complete it. He couldn’t have imagined facing the Dodgers on Thursday with a roster made up of Mercedes, Davis, Villar, Wynns, Johnson and Machado in slots 4-9. But in truth, there wouldn’t be much difference with veterans tormented by injuries. It’s just a completely different year, explained only by “this is how it is in baseball”.

With the exception of family relationships and highly sentimental feelings, there isn’t a fan outside of the Bay Area who would pay to see someone grab a bat from the Giants dugout. These guys aren’t “trash” or “terrible,” or any other vitriol emerging from social media. These are major leagues, each with a pretty cool history.

But measured against quality opposition in the National League wildcard race, they’re almost insignificant.

The St. Louis Cardinals signed two respected left-handed starting pitchers, Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery, at the MLB trade deadline. They look to veterans Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and Albert Pujols to guide their young players through training. Philadelphia has bolstered its defense with Brandon Marsh, who can step straight into center field, with elite reliever David Robertson (2.23 ERA with the Cubs) and once-overpowered pitcher Noah Syndergaard freed from the Angels’ eternal malaise and likely to deliver a few the choice begins. The Phillies have a roster full of solid hitters, and if they get Bryce Harper (fractured thumb) next month, he could offer a playoff spot.

The Giants made a few moves, but they basically did nothing. It’s conceivable that they could get caught from behind by Miami, Arizona or Colorado in the wildcard rankings, let alone catch the Cardinals, Phillies, Brewers or Padres.

Call it a .500 average, Mr. Zaidi. A miracle and a bust. Let’s see how you play your cards this winter.

Remember Wine

In the wake of Vin Scully’s death, fellow broadcasters Jon Miller and Joe Buck recalled one of his best moments in the booth. When Hank Aaron hit Al Downing of the Dodgers in Atlanta to break Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, Scully made a simple play-by-play call and then went silent for nearly a minute. In fact, he stepped away from the microphone to avoid the temptation to speak. And then he said, “What a wonderful time for baseball. What a wonderful time for Atlanta and the State of Georgia. What a wonderful time for the country and the world. A black man receives a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking the all-time baseball idol record. Such a beautiful and timely prospect.

Klay Thompson’s brother Trayce has given Giants fans a reason to at least appreciate the Dodgers with his outstanding play lately. But we wonder about his playing time with the return of Chris Taylor from a foot injury, the trade of Joey Gallo, the recent good streak of James Outman (returned to Triple-A on Friday) and the presence of Miguel Vargas, who broke into the big leagues with a dazzling brace against the Giants on Wednesday. Vargas is the son of Lazaro Vargas, a legendary player who helped Cuba win gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and is the kind of born-to-hit prospect described as special by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros are getting a little friendlier as the months go on, with the boos and cat-squeals gradually fading among furious fans over the 2017 sign-stealing scandal. Trey Mancini, acquired from Baltimore on the date limit, is one of the most beloved players in the game, for his courage (beat colon cancer in 2020) and his character. His Orioles teammates hated to see him go, and he hit three home runs in his first two starts for the Astros. … Former giant Mauricio Dubón has also made a good impression, with his solid game as a part-time starter. … As for Baker, the ultimate player manager, how well he speaks Spanish with Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier in his rotation. … Boo Jose Altuve, in particular, is yesterday’s groan. The man is just a big hitter, period, likely to open any game with a home run on the first pitch and have a .306 career average going into the weekend. … Will Clark, by the way, finished at .303. As it gets harder and harder to hit .300, thanks to the launch angle swings and the relievers off, it’s going to help his Hall of Fame case.

Juan Soto is called the greatest hitter ever acquired at the trade deadline. In this discussion: Rickey Henderson, returning to the A’s via a trade to the Yankees in 1989 (Oakland won the World Series and returned the following year) and Lou Brock, dealt by the Cubs to the Cardinals in 1964 (St. Louis won two World Series championships with him in the lead). Not Deadline But Still Midseason: The Cardinals receive Orlando Cepeda’s gift from the Giants for Ray Sadecki in May ’66. St. Louis went to two World Series with Cepeda, winning one, and this one- there always hurts. …Have you ever heard of a Lawn Poodle? For those in the know, it’s an old-fashioned West Texas nickname for a prairie dog. It comes into play through the Carays’ remarkable history: Harry, legendary for his Cubs, White Sox and Cardinals shows; his son, Skip, who called Atlanta Braves games for years; and Skip’s son, Chip, currently the stylish voice of the Braves. Chip has twin sons, Chris and Stefan, and they work in tandem to call plays for Double-A Amarillo. This team is called, yes, the Sod Poodles. Round them up with the Albuquerque isotopes, and it could all be unleashed.

Bruce Jenkins writes 3-Dot Lounge for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @Bruce_Jenkins1

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