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Giants take series, almost no-hit Cubs

The Giants avoided the most awkward no-hitter in recent memory. Don't get greedy.

Jason O. Watson

Not to freak you out or anything, but the 2014 Giants have started the season with the exact same record as the 1993 Giants. Both teams were 34-19.

The bad news: The '93 Giants were the worst best team in history, a symbol of historically awful luck and wrong place/wrong time.

The good news: The '93 Giants still won 103 games. I would like to go on record as being firmly in favor of the '14 Giants winning 103 games.

The best news: A 34-19 record is a .642 winning percentage, or the equivalent of a 104-win season, which would have been enough to get the Giants in the 1993 playoffs. Which means there's nothing to worry about!

Also good news: The Giants sure have been winning a lot of baseball games this year. They haven't lost a series since Pittsburgh three weeks ago. I'm out of things to say. Keep it up? Yay, team?


I didn't want to write 50 awesome things about that no-hitter. There would have been, like, two for this game. 

  1. hahaha, Cubs
  2. Boy, that was silly

Tim Lincecum gave up two lace-melting line drives in the first inning alone, with a pair of walks mixed in. He was pulled after five innings because he didn't know where the ball was going. It would have been the most anti-climactic no-hitter in history, perhaps. It would have been fun, sure. There's no such thing as a bad no-hitter -- they absolutely have pizza and Tom Waits status -- but ... I mean, what's the bobblehead like for a combined no-hitter? One body, with ghoulish Lincecum, Kontos, Affeldt, Machi, Gutierrez, and Lopez heads bobbling all over the place?


Actually, I'd really enjoy that. We would all really enjoy that.. 

But there's a quiet backlash against no-hitters, at least among the sabermetric set. Considering that any pitcher, no matter how talented, is going to need some luck to get through an entire game with a no-hitter, it's possible to dismiss the accomplishment. I don't know why anyone would want to, though. Baseball is always equal parts talent and luck, skill and randomness. That's the whole point of this silly game, and I'm in. There were a million things that could have gone wrong with Cain's perfect game, and none of them did. So let's celebrate it. 

This one, though ... man, that would have been tough. The capriciousness of a no-hitter would have been proven in the first inning, with baseballs flying around hither and thither into various mitts. The stathead contingent seems to think that no one really deserves a no-hitter. I'm not sure if that line of argument appeals to me in the slightest, even if I see their point. All I know is that Lincecum wouldn't have deserved this one. I'm not sure if he deserved a no-decision. 

34-19, though. 34-19.


Pablo Sandoval drove in a run for the eighth consecutive game, the 17th time that's been done in the San Francisco era. The last Giants player to do it was J.T. Snow in 2003, and the modern record is Jeff Kent in 2000 with RBI in 10 straight games.

If you're not impressed yet, note that Sandoval's RBI on Wednesday broke his deadlock with Eugenio Velez, Rick Wilkins, and Mark Carreon, who all had seven-game streaks. The names above Sandoval now: Ott, Bonds, Mays, McCovey. This is much better company. 

Eight years, $250 million, or get used to Joaquin Arias. Repent! Repent, ye doubters!


The only pitcher to throw five innings or more for the Giants without allowing a hit without completing the game: Mike Krukow in 1983 and Lincecum on Wednesday. With Krukow, there were extenuating circumstances. From the Times:

Krukow (1-2) a 31-year-old right-hander, came off the 21-day disabled list last Sunday after a bout with a sore right elbow. He was removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh, and Jim Barr lost the no-hitter when Ron Oester tripled off the center-field wall leading off the eighth.

Lincecum wasn't coming off the DL. He was just all over the place, and Bochy realized it. At the risk of seeming like someone congratulating their child for not getting suspended, I think it's safe to praise Bochy's ability to pull Lincecum, special circumstances be damned. The Giants were a better team with a pinch-hitter and a better team with another pitcher with a fresh arm. There was no way he was going to nine-pitch-inning his way into another 148-pitch no-hitter. The risk was there; the reward wasn't commensurate. 

There were managers who would have kept him out there, though. Believe that. Bochy might drive you nuts with his double-switches or lineups, but he's not crazy. Sometimes not-crazy doesn't get enough respect. 


So, the Giants kind of have to figure out a way to keep George Kontos in the bullpen, right? We're at 39 strikeouts and three walks in 28⅓ innings across two levels this year, and he's throwing in the low-to-mid '90s, which he most certainly wasn't doing last year with any regularity. 

As tickled as I've been with the found money of Juan Gutierrez, who is perfectly acceptable in the back of a bullpen, Kontos looks like the pitcher who helped the Giants win the division, pennant, and World Series. His velocity dipped a bit after 2012, but he's throwing his slider harder and harder, which is pairing with his quicker fastball for great results. 

Someone will probably get hurt before the real interesting decisions come down -- see Matt Kemp and the Dodgers' outfield -- but this is a pretty successful audition.

And to think, it doesn't happen if Santiago Casilla doesn't try to beat an imaginary Lou Brock to first base.