This was supposed to be a season full of mistakes from young players.
Mauricio Dubon. Jaylin Davis. Joey Bart. Tyler Rogers. Sam Coonrod. Possibly Heliot Ramos and others who will be a big part of the future. Giants fans would watch them make mistakes, and lose some games because of it, but they would know that the future was bright and this was all about gaining experience.
But this rebuild has turned competitive, and the Giants aren't actually that young or inexperienced at all. The bullpen is, but the lineup and rotation are filled with veterans, MLB All-Stars, journeymen and World Series champions.
Dubon is the lone exception in terms of hitters who have been here all year, and for the most part he has fit in. The bat was slow to come around, but it has, and Dubon has been an easy fit in center field.
The youth showed up on Friday, though, and in the worst possible moment.
Dubon, a second-year utility man, got doubled off second on a fly ball with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. It was a costly second out, as the Giants wouldn't score in that inning or again. They lost 6-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, never bringing that tying run across.
San Francisco Giants
"I cost us the game. I cost us the game," Dubon said. "That's a stupid mistake that didn't give us a chance to win the game. I mean, I stay (on) second, we've got the bases loaded with one out and we've got our cleanup guy coming to the plate. That can't happen to me. I hold myself to a high standard and that's unacceptable."
Dubon was crushed because of the mistake. He was also crushed because it helped cost a scrappy team a shot at another comeback win. Dubon has been as outspoken as any Giant about how this team can surprise people.
"That can't happen in an inning like that and how we've been swinging the bats," Dubon said.
The Diamondbacks had scored in the first inning and four of their first five, and each time the Giants came back with a run of their own. They've proven to be a resilient bunch, and this very much felt like a night when they would hang around and hang around until they were able to take advantage of a bad bullpen. That's been the blueprint for a few wins at Oracle Park this season, where scoring six runs is almost automatic from the home lineup.
Brandon Belt's homer in the seventh got them within a run, and when Stefan Crichton loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, it felt like one base hit would give the Giants the lead and Tyler Rogers would come in a few minutes later and clinch another solid home win.
The Giants even had the right man up at the plate, but Alex Dickerson flied out softly to medium right. Kole Calhoun has one of the better right field arms in the league, and the Giants have seen him often, so pinch-runner Steven Duggar broke for home and then immediately retreated to third as the 90 mph missile came into the plate.
The problem was, Dubon also had left his base for some reason, getting nearly halfway to third without looking up at Duggar. The throw was cut off and Dubon was easily doubled off. Manager Gabe Kapler said he spoke with Dubon, but the conversation wasn't necessary. Dubon was already being hard on himself. The talk was about reassuring a young player, who will be back in the lineup Saturday against Madison Bumgarner.
"That's just a play that he would like to have back. He said it to me. He said, 'That can't happen,' " Kapler said. "And he's right, it's a play that hurt us tonight, he knows it, we all know it. There's no real technique to talk to him about. He knows that he needs to keep his head up and make sure that he's seeing what's in front of him.
"There are a couple of different ways that play can go where that hustle and that aggressiveness works out well but his run wasn't the most important one in that case."
Dubon's mistake stood out because of the nature of it, but he was far from alone. The Giants left 11 on base and Evan Longoria followed the double play with a hard grounder to third that might have turned into two outs had Dubon still been on second. But that was no comfort for a young player.
"I thought he was going," Dubon said of Duggar. "My mistake was I ran with my head down."