The San Francisco Giants are stranded in one of those offensive deserts where the run-scoring oases are replaced by shimmering mirages of runners in scoring position that dissolve into nothing.

Hey, it was gonna happen sooner or later—this is not a team capable of winning 100 games.

Those kinds of clubs have exceptional hitting to complement the same kind of arms.

While these Giants have the pitching part of that equation, even the improved offense is still mediocre (and that's being charitable).

So Tuesday night's 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres will not be the last time such an indignity is inflicted upon the fellas. Granted, we probably won't see them get beaten by a single hit again in 2010.

Thank the Maker for small miracles, eh? The San Francisco faithful could use a ray of sunshine at the moment.

Good grief, it's not been a fun three days for the Gents.

First, there was the Manny Ramirez home run in the waning frames of Sunday's finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, there was the walk-off blast from mighty midget David Eckstein (who's also playing some extraordinary defense at second base), on Monday.

Now this—another blinding gem from Jonathan Sanchez gets wasted by vintage 2009 output from the splinters.

On the bright side, the 27-year-old southpaw continued to hint that "the leap" might be underway.

Sanchez threw seven innings of stank despite struggling at times with his command, which is great news because this type of game is the missing bridge to consistency for the lefty.

Even the 2009 Jonathan Sanchez probably would've imploded after a couple strikes were called balls and/or he lost track of the strike zone for a batter or two.

Things had to work almost perfectly to keep him grooving.

Well, the bottom of the second in SD did not go perfectly.

Sanchez issued all three of his evening's walks in the span of those three outs. At this point, I had a sinking feeling that normally means the wheels are about to come off the J-Train—instead, my man used three of his 10 strikeouts to work through the trouble and settle right back into his happy place.

Perversely, seven innings, one hit, three walks, and 10 whiffs weren't even good enough for a no decision on Tuesday.

No. 3 in San Francisco's trio of young guns ate his first loss of the season thanks to a game-winning "rally" in the fourth inning that consisted of the Fathers' only hit (a single), a stolen base, a foul-out that allowed the runner to advance to third, and then a medium-deep sacrifice fly ball.

Got that?

The key moment for the Padres was a fantastic, acrobatic, ass-over-tea-kettle-into-the-first-base-camera-well catch by the Giants' first baseman, Aubrey Huff. Oof.

Like I said, though, contests like these were always part of the 2010 bargain.

Nope, the one particularly noteworthy development from the game was the Friars' collective reaction to the triumph.

Uh...do these guys know it's April?

Look, I get that they're a group of enthusiastic, green youngsters who were dismissed by anyone and everyone paying attention to Major League Baseball outside of San Diego County.

I also understand that they're playing insane ball at the moment and have moved into a first-place tie with los Gigantes by virtue of Tuesday's win.

Consequently, San Diego should be very pleased with the season to date...all 14 games and three weeks of it.

Translation: settle down, children.

Honestly, these guys were hopping around and woofing it up like it was September and they'd just grabbed the postseason pole position. I've never seen so many guys mean-mugging while forcefully smacking each other on the can.

Yorvit Torrealba, in particular, looked dangerously close to bursting a blood vessel in his neck or throwing out a shoulder with his absurdly over-the-top display of emotion.

I'm all for enjoying the moment, but the ex-Giant was pumping his fists and generally acting the fool with such violence that his catcher's gear was almost thrown clear.

I say again, IT'S APRIL.

The World Series is in November; the playoffs don't start until October. Do the math.

Or how about having some fun with these numbers?

San Diego swept San Francisco in their first meeting of 2009, which was also in Petco Park. The Padres were 9-5 after 14 games last year; they were 10-6 on April 24th.

And they finished at 75-87.

A record that landed them 20 games out of first place in the National League West, 13 games behind the third-place Giants, and only five games ahead of the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks (who'd lost ace Brandon Webb for the year in their first game).

In other words, if the San Diego Padres want to stick around a bit longer in 2010, they might want to save some of that energy.

Because there are still 148 games left.

That's plenty of time for the San Francisco Giants to enjoy the last laugh.


**www.pva.org**