Savor that wondrous feeling you have right now, that feeling of partial relaxation following a Giants game that was never really too stressful. These games don't come around too often. Do they come around less often than they did last year? We have stats for that:
Now, note those include the blowout wins in addition to the blowout losses. You're adding awscrewthises to the woohoos, which probably isn't great math. But it kinda works, like adding a decimal to a decimal to make OPS. We're just looking for stress-free games. So far, the Giants haven't had a lot. If you consider four-run games out of reach, the Giants have had non-stressful games about a third of the time. If you think those are in play, then a cool 89 percent of Giants games have made you watch until the end this season.
So damned many.
Tonight, the first Giants batter hit a dinger, and then the pitchers never allowed a run. That's a solid formula. Moneyball 2???
Yusmeiro Petit is a masterpiece cicada, lying dormant and forgotten until every 16th appearance, surprise! He's Greg Maddux riding a wyvern. And you think, whoa, that guy is kind of Greg Maddux riding a wyvern. Then he goes back to the guy he was, and will likely always be, a command maven of the highest order who is imperfect but absolutely perfect for a swingman spot in a good bullpen. If you weren't convinced by his strong finish last year, here's another piece of evidence. Great outing, there.
Though when Dock Ellis thought he was going to have the day off, he took acid and threw a no-hitter. Food for thought.
If one of the pitchers gets hurt or starts failing beyond repair, it's probably Petit who will assume the rotation spot. The odds are against that being a good thing, but at least starts like this make you think it's not going to be a bad thing. He's more than competent. And occasionally, he's a masterpiece cicada, ready for his moment in the sun.
That's the thing about this team: I can write good things about a lot of the spare parts. I can name a dozen former Giants utility infielders worse than Brandon Hicks or Joaquin Arias, a dozen backup catchers worse than Hector Sanchez, a dozen fourth outfielders worse than Gregor Blanco, a dozen fifth outfielders worse than Juan Perez, and a dozen spot starters worse than Petit.
I'm not exactly wizened enough to add the WARs to the UZRs and tell you what that means, but it seems like it should add up to something worthwhile by the end of the season. It's a well-built roster on the fringes.
Through 27 games, 2013: 18 dingers
Through 27 games, 2014: 33 dingers
It's not in your head. They're real, and they're spectacular. The Giants have gone homerless in 30 percent of their games this year (seven out of 27). They were homerless in 52 percent of their games last year.
Brandon Crawford made his first jaw-dropping play of 2014 (that wasn't a part of a double play, that is). There have been a paucity of such plays this year, combined with a few bumblehanded plays that aren't his style. It's not just my eyeballs telling me this; he's average according to Baseball-Reference.com's dWAR, and FanGraphs has him as a negative defensive shortstop this year.
I'm as worried about this as I am about Pablo's batting average right now. That is, not very. If you're worried about sample size for hitters and pitchers in April, you shouldn't even sniff at a defender's performance in April. Before Tuesday, he had 33 put outs and 56 assists for the season. That's, like, a 10-game stretch for a hitter. Can you imagine freaking out over every 10-game slump for everyone? Seems taxing.
Crawford's still an elite defender -- top-third in the game, at least. It was just nice to see the proof in the backhand-stab-in-the-hole-with-a-brilliant-throw pudding.
What about you, Matt Cain? What did you think about this game that you missed?