Giants win another home opener, all is right with the baseball world

Thearon W. Henderson

Dingers and two-out hits. Just like we're used to.

Let us step into the wayback machine and remember some bad times. In April, 2012, the Giants hit .173 with runners in scoring position. In April, 2011, the Giants hit .173 with runners in scoring position. One of those Aprils happened in the best season; one of those Aprils happened in the worst season. But both of them were as frustrating as all heck. The Giants could get the runners on, but they couldn't get them in. Made you want to take a bite out of your glass, it did.

And all you could do was grumble about luck and regression and being patient. No one is that bad with runners in scoring position. If clutch or unclutch are real things, they sure as heck aren't that obvious. Luck. Regression. Be patient.

This brings us to the present day. The Giants have scored more than a third of their runs with two outs. When they get runners on, they drive them in. Entering Tuesday's game, the Giants had a 1.019 OPS with runners in scoring position, and they were hitting .931 with runners on compared to .639 with the bases empty. In table format:

Split PA BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
High Lvrge 57 .392 .418 .706 1.124 .432
Medium Lvrge 83 .240 .305 .387 .692 .296
Low Lvrge 131 .197 .277 .376 .653 .217

Luck. Regression. Be fearful. Don't get used it it. Stats. Sample size. Attica. Winter is coming.

Nuts to that. This is Corey Haim in Goonies, picking the coin out of the well. This is my wish. This is my wish and I'm taking it back. I'm not going to feel guilty, and I'm not going to wait patiently for cruel, cruel regression. The Cardinals won 97 games last year, partially because they hit .330 with runners in scoring position as a team. That was a record. Did they care? Nope. They rode those shenanigans all the way to the pennant. The regression never came.

I would like the Giants to be jerks in a similar fashion.

Here come those Giants. Did you know their BABIP is ____? You know that has to stop, that's just luck, come on. Did you know they hit ____ with runners in scoring position in the first half? Wait until they realize that's not sustainable. I can't wait to see the look on their faces!

And it just keeps happening, over and over again, because when's the last time the Giants had a barrel of good fortune?


Right, basically never. So they're overdue. And while it's not likely that the Giants are going to continue their success with runners on and runners in scoring position, that doesn't mean you don't get to slap it about your face like aftershave right now. Wheee? Wheeeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

★★★

Brandon Belt is good, and I'm encouraged by his start to the 2014 season.

Okay, maybe it's time to be a little less timid about him. It's a good start, small sample size, I love the power, small sample size, and everything's peachy keen with him right now, small sample size. Couldn't ask for anything more, really.

But here are two reminders. First: Belt is a career 1.052 hitter in the minor leagues. He's a .343/.457/.596 hitter over 825 plate appearances. He has more latent talent in his goofy neck than the rest of us have in our combined bodies. He was a top-25 prospect in baseball, and considering how much drama there was with his playing time and knuckles and slump-shoulders, it shouldn't be that unlikely that he's morphed into something more, something brilliant.

Second, Dustin Parkes reminded me of jctgamer's GIF:

Swagger_gif_medium

Mmmph. If the problem was confidence, there was a delivery of it around the All-Star Break last year. If the problem was lack of opportunity, the Belt Wars are long over. If the problem was wonky mechanics, those have been fixed.

Brandon Belt is good, and I'm encouraged by his start to the 2014 season.

★★★

Tim Hudson is a brilliant sinker-chucker, and I'm getting attached to him. He makes me think of this Bloom County strip. He is Bruce Willis. His smirk and general derring-do will get us through this season.

Also, I can't express how continually horrified I am at my photographic memory of Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side, and Peanuts cartoons. Hell, there's even some Herman and Wizard of Id in there. WHERE WERE YOU, MOM? WHERE WERE YOU?

Note: Barry Zito's ERA last year through two starts was 0.00000000000000. The small samples are calling from inside the house! I repeat, the small samples are calling from inside your house!

But, c'mon, you can't possibly suggest that this ex-Athletic isn't filling you with much, much more confidence than that other one. This one just looks more in control. His stuff looks better, more reliable. Hudson is like a simple Rube Goldberg device that's super easy to understand. "Well, sure, you throw the sinker here, mix in the slider there, trip the command wire, wait for the control bucket to drop, and, boom, you've captured an Aaron Hill."

The Giants had a lot of options in the offseason, and a lot of us were grumbling about them not getting creative. But here's something they almost certainly didn't futz up. Hudson looks like the same Hudson from the last several years, and that dude was good.

★★★

Updating the story from earlier, the Giants are now 12-3 in their openers at AT&T Park. This one would probably rank ninth if I had to redo the rankings.

Except this one is tied for first. All home-opener wins are tied for first, really. There was sun, bunting, a flyover, and Batkid. The weather was perfect, and Kirk Gibson is irritable. Tied for first, folks. Tied for first.

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