The Giants spent the last offseason looking for a pitcher for the first time in years. They wanted two starters after Tim Lincecum signed, but they weren’t going to spend a lot. The good news was there were about 11 or 12 starters worth pursuing on a short-term deal. You might never see an offseason like it again. You could make an argument for everyone. Scott Baker? Love the command! Josh Johnson? Former ace! Johan Santana? Former super-ace! Bartolo Colon? Jolly!
Yet you knew that of the options, most of them were going to implode. There’s a reason they were willing to take short-term deals. They were hurt or old or recently bad or old, hurt, and recently bad. The Giants needed a little luck in addition to the smart scouty stuff.
We’re still just a few starts in, but good gravy, Tim Hudson. What a sorcerer.
It helps that the Giants have a relatively sound infield defense, and the park helps, too, but he’s an absolute treat to watch. The Giants haven’t seen a pitcher with this kind of economy since, dunno, Bill Swift? The last Giants pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game under 90 pitches was Swift in ’93, and Hudson was a pitch away from being the first to do it in 21 years. The comparison isn’t completely insane. Sinkers get quick outs.
The CSN Bay Area broadcast flashed a graphic about Hudson’s April, noting that his 34-18 mark in April was the fourth-best April winning percentage in baseball history. I couldn’t replicate it through Play Index (I probably couldn’t find the right number of minimum starts), but it made me curious if Hudson followed a pattern. Did he start fast and finish slow, every single danged year?
July: 37-12, 3.24 ERA
August: 42-11, 3.20 ERA
Look at me, using win-loss records in 2014, like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie where people knew about baseball only from 1983 Topps cards. Yeah, I’ll admit it. But I can’t help it. 79-23 in July and August! Sure, he’s generally pitched for contending teams (with good lineups) only, but I’ll still take that and the ERA as evidence that he’s not a fast-start/slow-fade kind of guy.
Considering that, I’ll enjoy this fast start. These games are so quick. I had time to watch the end of the Sharks game. Then I changed the channel back to people talking about Tim Hudson!
Dingers! It’s a final dinger tally for the month of April. Here’s where the Giants’ dinger output for the month stands in franchise history (New York included):
Let’s annotate that.
3. Brandon Hicks
7. Mays and McCovey
9. Will Clark and the rabbit ball
10. Bonds (the other one)
It’s not just Brandon Hicks. It’s Michael Morse and Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and even Hector Sanchez
It's probably better just to pretend Brandon Hicks is Brandon Belt for a few weeks. You don't want to rupture your cognitive dissonance gland. Not in April.
Honest question, in the interest of science: Does this ball go out if it isn't 120 degrees or whatever my weenie Bay Area brain thinks it is?
I don't remember too many non-Piazzas hitting a ball like that out to right at AT&T. I don't even remember the actual Piazza hitting one. The marine layer is a harsh mistress, but it wasn't there tonight. Hicks used his cylindrical piece of ash and/or maple to make a beautiful one-note symphony on that one. It should have been a home run, at AT&T, Candlestick, the Polo Grounds, wherever. So it's nice to see one of those swings rewarded at AT&T.
Brandon Hicks, man. Where in the world ...