Think of the different ways you can be satisfied with a Giants win, the idyllic ways you can enjoy a victory. Why, there's the ...
You know how cats like to put their butt in front of your face and stick their tail up at a 90º angle? They're doing that to mark you. They're letting other cats know that you belong to that specific cat. Pitchers do that, too, and ...
Wait, let me start over. This was a contest between two #1 starters, and the one pitching for the Giants played the part well. You don't expect Madison Bumgarner to go out there and throw nine innings, allowing 3.15 earned runs. You're biased. You're eternally optimistic. You're a fanboy or fangirl. You're expecting seven, eight, or nine innings and no runs at all. That's your ace. Of course he isn't going to allow a run. He doesn't do that.
The satisfaction of whomping on another ace
It was champion vs. champion, and the Meereenese rider came charging, and whoopsie-doodle, there's a Here you go. A game where the Giants whomped on Greg Maddux? Right here, with a bonus Joe Nathan appearance. If you want Randy Johnson getting shamed by Russ Ortiz, it happened. You can do this sort of thing with any ace.
It always feels exceptionally good.
I respect Adam Wainwright. He's a low-key, almost-forgettable ace. He shows up and makes your life miserable two or three times a year, then slinks back to his ace van, which takes him back to his ace lair, and you forget about him. When he's facing your team, though, and you have that feeling of ruh-roh from the very first pitch, it's indescribable how it feels when he looks just like a normal pitcher. Even better, when he looks like a lousy pitcher. You just watched your favorite team do that to him.
Savor it, because it might not happen again. But it sure happened Friday night.
The satisfaction of watching a game in which everything goes your way
That is, the satisfaction of watching the combination of those first two points. One ace was rad, one ace was lousy. The wheel spun on the side of the Giants, and it was the kind of game in which a fringe reliever can give up four runs and no one cares except the reliever. The Giants got two-out hits and more two-out hits -- the biggest hit of the game, Hunter Pence's three-run homer, was only possible because Wainwright threw a fastball to Bumgarner -- and at no point did the game feel in doubt after the third inning or so.
That makes for a satisfying game.
The satisfaction of ruining the night for Cardinals fans at the game
Some of them were really looking forward to that game, everyone.
The satisfaction of dingers
I like dingers. Especially ones that make you go "Ho! Crap!", which is what Hunter Pence's dinger did.
The two-out hits are freaky. Dave Cameron looked at teams based on expected runs scored and expected runs allowed-- tallying up the hits and extra-base hits and walks and strikeouts on both sides of the ledger, and seeing who is benefiting from fortuitous sequencing, and who is getting hosed. The Giants are in the first camp; they're scoring more runs than you might expect.
Which, yeah. You don't have to be a weirdo cynic to see that. This probably isn't a team that's going to blow past 100 wins in mid-September, but that's what they're on pace for. There are probably balls taking the right pachinko bounce right now.
Here's the thing, though: The Giants don't have to give those runs back. They can keep the wins, too. What's going on isn't going to inform us a lick about the 2015 season, but it's doing good things in the 2014 season. The Giants can hang onto those good things, in case they need them later.
Rockies lost. Dodgers are losing. And those wins don't have to be returned.
The number of three-run homers hit in the AT&T Park era:
2014: 7 (in progress)
If you project out, this would be the first time the Giants hit more than 20 three-run homers since 2005, when they had Barry Bonds. Do not project out. There's still an excellent chance that in August, we're all running around with trash cans on our heads, wondering what happened to our beautiful baseball season. For the purposes of comparison, though, yes. The Giants are hitting more three-run dingers lately.
In that AT&T era, Hunter Pence just moved into eighth place on the three-run dinger list:
Barry Bonds: 32
Jeff Kent: 16
Pablo Sandoval: 15
Pedro Feliz: 14
Ray Durham: 10
Rich Aurilia: 10
Bengie Molina: 8
Hunter Pence: 7
Reminder that Ray Durham haters can go watch indoor lacrosse and be depressingly awful somewhere else. But In the two years or so that Pence has been on the Giants, he's been kind of a three-run-dinger maestro.
The Giants' outfielders don't do the wacky jump after a win anymore.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
They do a firm handshake now -- a certain look in the eye and an easy smile. It's more clinical. I have no preference. Just pointing it out. It's probably Tyler Colvin's fault.
David Huff's ERA was 3.52 two appearances ago. It's 7.27 now. If you were wondering why you shouldn't pay attention to reliever ERA, especially in May, there you go.
Two weeks ago, people were frothing in the comments of mainstream sites, calling up radio shows, suggesting Gregor Blanco should be released. This is a reminder that you're better than those people. Breathe on an apple and polish it on your cardigan before taking a bite. You've earned it.
Up with Gregor Blanco.