The game started with beeeeees.
Then things got weird. Tim Lincecum threw strikes. The Giants hit for power and came up with perfectly timed two-out hits. The bees are a distant third on the weird-o-meter.
You'll see me search for analogies throughout the season. I already mentioned the 2001 Giants, who were maddening to watch, if only because they had one of the better lineups in San Francisco history, yet couldn't pitch at all. Today reminded me of the 1999 Rangers, a team with Mark Clark, whose 8.60 ERA got him invited back for the next season. They scored almost 1,000 runs, but they won their division only because they outperformed their run differential.
The exact team doesn't matter. The point is that for the first four games, the Giants have played like a team from the turn of the millennium. Don't sweat the small deficits, because dingers ahoy. The 2011 Giants were 12-43 in games in which they allowed five runs or more. This year's team is 2-1.
I'm not expecting it to continue, not like this. Remember, last April was the month of Brandon Crawford, Slugger and Barry Zito, seven-inning machine. We don't know what this team is yet. But the early, early returns suggest this team can hit a little. I'm okay with that.
Three home runs, and they'll tie their total from last July.
Let's go with the bad stuff first. Paul Goldschmidt still exists. And he's still the dangedest thing when it comes to the Giants. Tim Lincecum threw a first-pitch fastball here to Paul Goldschmidt:
"Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I'll tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything …"
Let's update the tally:
Paul Goldschmidt, career
Paul Goldschmidt, career (without appearances against Tim Lincecum)
His slugging percentage drops 15 points without the 26 plate appearances against Lincecum. It's absurd.
That's not the story, though. Forget Goldschmidt and the hanging slider against Mark Trumbo. Lincecum looked fantastic, pitching one of his better games since the no-hitter. It was the first time Lincecum threw more than 70 percent strikes since this game in May, 2012, and the strikes have been a problem for him for a while:
It's been a gradual decline, and even when he did get in the strike zone, he wasn't always getting good strikes. Think the Goldschmidt picture up there, but a lot more often. In this game, there were good strikes and favorable counts. Seven strikeouts and zero walks, which is in line with what Lincecum was doing in the spring.
Those two homers happened, so it's not like we should rush out and get his 4.50 ERA tattooed on our knuckles in his honor. But it was an encouraging sight, this strike-throwing Lincecum.
Velocity report: 89-91, with one 88. He sat 90 most of the time. I don't even know why I check still, or what I expect to find. But as long as I'm wasting the time gathering the data, I'll force it upon you. That's the McCovey Chronicles Guarantee.
I call this one, "Explanation of an On-Base Percentage":
But with the blast shield down, he can't even see.
(I kid, Michael! Good two-out hittin'.)
Brandon Belt is good, and I'm encouraged by his start to the 2014 season.
It feels silly to call out Angel Pagan for being exceptionally wonderful over the first four games, even if he has been. It feels silly because, well, four games. But it's a good segue to point out how Pagan started his Giants career. For the first three weeks, he was lousy. Then came the Cincinnati game, and he turned into the Pagan we know and love and fear and love.
No point, really. Just thoughts from a guy kicking back after a come-from-behind victory, thinking happy thoughts about the past and present, savoring the 3-1 record because it feels right to do so.
If had ended after that paragraph, like I was about to, this recap would have been 666 words. That would have been a bad omen. So now there's this paragraph. Maybe I should talk about Pagan more. He has thick, lustrous hair, and ... wait, we covered that last night.
Uh, there's this:
My favorite part is Poseidon lazily jogging after the ball in the bottom-right. Call in a pool creature to get the damned ball. Even Aquaman can do that.
I included the GIF and description to end with 777 words. The oxymoronic majesty of Angel Pagan, everyone.