Bruce Bochy cringed a bit when he saw Buster Posey and then Angel Pagan decided to salute Los Angeles Dodger broadcaster Rick Monday. But the fact that neither of them got hurt or had Friday night's game otherwise ruined by their interventions may be a sign that the San Francisco Giants may be cured.
But first, a clarification. Yes, we mean Rick Monday. Not the other guy, the plucky little ginger named Scully everybody's been going on about this month.
No we're talking about Monday, the former Athletic and Dodger still best known for laying out a fan who wanted to burn the American flag in the Dodger Stadium outfield four decades ago.
Posey and Pagan decided to meter out a little ballyard justice of their own to a Dodger fan who decided to get a little too interactive during Friday's 9-3 Giants win. Posey shoved the daffy miscreant who had taken to the field with a compatriot, and then after said fan sprung back to his feet, running past Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Crawford before Pagan beckoned him forward with a seeming spirit of generosity and then delivered a spite-infused takedown, thus breaking the fellow's roll for good.
And like we said, neither was harmed, and the way the Giants had been going since mid-July, one half-expected them both to combust violently and be left as equally sized soot piles.
So maybe that's something. Maybe it's also something that first baseman Brandon Belt got hit in the hand with a J.P. Howell fastball and stayed in the game rather than going to administrative disabling for a few months.
And maybe it's just something that the most inert offense in baseballdom has suddenly, with vertebrae pressed wallward, has scored 28 runs in four games –- one of which was a 2-0 shutout loss.
In short, maybe, at the last desperate moment of a very desperate season, the Giants' 70 days of buzzard luck is suddenly turning into that of a swan.
At this point, the ever-popular 3S Caveat comes into play -– Small, Sample and Size.
The Giants are only as good as Saturday's starter, Ty Blach, can be against Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw; only as good as their ability to make a small rally turn into a conga line, as they did in the seven-run sixth inning off Brandon McCarthy; only as good as their ability not to let the Dodgers hold an early lead any longer than they did Friday -– four hitters' worth.
In other words, all they did Friday was shave off one more day on the St. Louis Cardinals' fleeting hopes of either passing them and playing the Mets Wednesday, or catching them and hosting a play-in game to the play-in game Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
Not that that isn't useful, mind you. The Giants spent a good deal of energy keeping the Cardinals at arm's length Friday evening, as they did Thursday, but it is energy they have expended before in wise and productive ways.
But Friday was one of those nights when a lot of things could go goofy, and didn't. In obtaining his 100th career victory, Bumgarner lasted 7 1/3 innings, delivered a two-run double in the happy sixth, and three times resisted the lure of Yasiel Puig flashback -– even after Puig touched him for a run-scoring double in the first.
And while this does no good for cheap-thrill-o-philes, it combined with the good news on the Belt, Posey and Pagan fronts to make for a pleasant evening at the Charnel House On Third. And with only two afternoons left to navigate, the Giants might find themselves back in familiar surroundings come mid-week –- Game 163 -– and with nothing much to complain about by way of luck or performance.
You, the amalgamated Giants fan, may now knock on an entire forest, going from tree to tree in hopes of finding the good fortune that they have evaded, and that has evaded them, since Bastille Day.