Giants Grind Their Way to Sweep of Diamondbacks

Not having a hamate bone really helps in a situation like this. - Norm Hall

Consecutive come from behind wins for the Giants against a division rival after suffering a sweep at the hands of another division rival provides a positive vibe for team and fans heading into an off day and then another big series against a division rival. Division rival.

Crant Crisbee is away on modernity leave.

How about that 8th spot in the batting order?

We're not even a quarter of the way into the season, so it's really quite Bynesian to say that there's something magical happening to hitters in that spot. Brandon Belt is a good hitter -- has the potential to be a great all around hitter -- and Brandon Crawford could very well have elevated himself to that level, too, so it's not necessarily even luck. If you have good hitters in your lineup, then you will see your hitters do what good hitters do anywhere in that lineup. Or something.

Coming into tonight, 8th position had the 2nd-best OPS (.826 to 3rd position's .914). The 6 and 7 spots of the Giants lineup (and the pitcher's spot, of course) are the dregs. It's really quite something. It's also just a lot of small sample size chicanery, I'd reckon. Still, it's fun to point at that and say, "Hey, how about that? Baseball is a funny game in general, and downright Airplane!-esque in small samples.

So why even bother talking about it? It's worth mentioning. But, oh really now, let's just look at how awesome Brandon Belt's home run was:

(all .gifs in this post thanks to @carmenkiew, since I can't make them right now)

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Ahhhh, just great.

Brandon Belt has three home runs this year. All three have been against the Diamondbacks. All three have come with two strikes. Brandon Belt is Indiana Jones burning those snakes while trapped in that underground chamber from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. In fact, I think Brandon Belt is just plain Indiana Jones. We love him and we love him more because his victories never come easy. Yeah. Think about it.

* * *

Of course, Brandon Belt's glory tonight came after some previous frustrations. He wasn't the only one missing the fastballs and sinkers Brandon McCarthy left up in the zone for the Giants' hitters. Yes, the beloved McCarthy proved that he can be funny on the mound, too, as he never really looked great. This really was a situation where the Giants hitters couldn't square up some very hittable pitches. In Belt's strikeout plate appearance he was visibly ticked off with himself for not being able to put in play a pitch right down the middle of the plate. Pablo Sandoval, likewise, missed several hittable pitches in a sequence where McCarthy and Montero opted to pound Pablo's eye level zone-trigger. Somewhere, Justin Verlander wonders how McCarthy got away with that. All these close calls and missed pitches led to several innings of frustrations, until it didn't.

* * *

Meanwhile, Tim Lincecum could not buy a break. The Giants couldn't hit anything McCarthy was leaving out for them, and the Diamondbacks couldn't help but crush every pitch Lincecum left over the plate. Target away? Pitch drifts back in and right across the plate. Target down and away? Pitch drifts up and back across the plate. Target up? Pitch doesn't get high enough, stays right in the middle of the plate. The only time Lincecum "got away with one" was a fastball that was supposed to be up and away but was just low enough and in enough that it was a fat pitch. Thankfully, Miguel Montero swung through it.

Tim Lincecum did not walk a batter tonight. He gave up 10 hits, including 2 doubles and a home run but he did not walk a batter tonight. Per Andrew Baggarly, this was the first time in 60 starts where Lincecum did not allow a walk. Holy base on balls, bat man.

Hopefully, we're all done with trying to figure out what's wrong with Tim Lincecum. I know I am.

* * *

Hunter Pence hit a home run 460 feet to right center field and it was so impressive that you could almost forget about Tim Lincecum's performance. That was crazy. His home run in the first series at Dodger Stadium was just like that. This slicing ball that kept spinning until it hit the bleachers in right centerfield.

* * *

Sergio Romo looked like he was in serious pain. On his knees, clutching his left wrist... it looked bad. It was scary. Not quite as scary as watching Buster Posey claw dirt, but it's own special kind of terrifying. And not just because the Giants are not in a position to withstand the loss of another pitcher. Sergio Romo has become a reliable almost countercultural personality on the Giants. He's brash, at times distant, kind, but sometimes not quite. He's a fun guy with his own vibe and, well, he's certainly charmed me. With any sudden injury on the field it's always a given that we the fans will jump to the worst possible conclusion, because being fatalistic is the result of spiking testosterone fueled from competition suddenly disappearing because of acute despair (well, I'm just guessing. I'm no scientician.)

Phew.

* * *

I timed C.B. Bucknor's called third strike on Nick Noonan at 1.5 seconds. That wasn't the craziest timed event on the field tonight.

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Parra stayed on the ground for 6.3 seconds. I think we might finally be able to measure grit.


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