As a Giants homer, one of my most obvious analytical failings is making everything Giants-centric, as if the other team is the same batch of robots every time. The other team can't pitch well; the Giants have to hit poorly. The other team can't have poor at-bats, the Giants have to pitch well. By removing the other team from the equation, the Giants become the masters of their own fate. Let's spend a few minutes trying not to do that.
It's possible -- just possible -- that the Reds are having pitching problems right now.
Whew, with that out of the way, let's look at this marvelous lineup and appreciate the marvelous things its doing. Dingers? Dingers. Two-out hits? At the best possible time. It hasn't been that long since they've scored nine or more runs in three straight games (it was last September), but it's still pretty rare. This is just the 11th time the Giants have scored this many runs in three straight games in the San Francisco era. The team record is four straight, but that doesn't count because that streak had Barry Bonds in Coors.
It's not right to credit Hunter Pence for everything, not with the double-barreled Brandons doing so much, not with all of the contributors doing well throughout the lineup. Still, with Pence in the middle of things, the lineup has a different feeling to it. There are times where watching a Giants game is a chore because you're only interested in every third inning, when Buster Posey (or whoever's hot) comes up. That feeling isn't there. Every inning has two or three hitters in the middle of a hot streak or generally productive season, especially when Crawford and Gregor Blanco are hitting well. There are no gaps in your viewing pleasure.
That's the glory of Pence, aside from him existing and playing baseball the way he does. Who's up? Well, it's Aoki, Panik, and Posey (I like watching all of those guys), unless it's Belt, Pence, and Crawford (all of whom are really hot), with Pagan or Blanco to follow, perhaps. Only Casey McGehee isn't exactly must-see TV these days, and Matt Duffy's increased playing time helps make up for that. What a deep lineup. Which, as long as Panik and Crawford are contributing, is probably what we should have been expecting.
it's possible -- I mean, at least keep it mind -- that the Reds can't pitch. Right now, though, I'll focus on the positive things the Giants are doing at the plate. Remember when they spent three weeks holding the wrong end of the bat? Seems like that problem is over.
The successful four-man outfield rotation is related to that depth up there. As long as Blanco is hitting, the Giants can mix and match, resting players and playing the match-up game when it's advantageous. Eventually, he'll cool down, and the Giants will rely more on the Aoki/Pagan/Pence outfield they were planning on before the season started.
Still, we haven't got to see the luxury of an overqualified fourth outfielder a lot over the last four seasons. At some point, we should probably look into Blanco's role in all this. Did he set Melky Cabrera up? What do we really know about his role in Pagan's health? Did he pay that Cubs dude off? Not accusing him of anything. Just saying there's probably a Loose Change-type documentary going up on YouTube soon.
Today, Aoki got the start and a pair of huge two-out RBI hits. It might be Pagan doing that on Tuesday, or it might be the odd man out giving the Giants an additional pinch-hitter in a good spot.
Long section short: It's probably better to have four qualified outfielders than two or three. That's the kind of analysis you come here for.
From the first win of the series, when Brandon Belt broke his homer slump:
Regardless, that was Belt's first homer in the season. That seems like quite the drought, but do you remember when Belt hit his first homer of 2012? June 12 . Then he hit one in the next two games.
Apparently, when Belt starts sneezing home runs, he can't stop at just one. Part of me wants to say, "Well, that's baseball for ya!", except it's not just baseball. It's also Belt. Sometimes he just needs to clear the browsing data of his brain, and suddenly everything runs so much more smoothly. Clear those cookies regularly, Brandon, and pick up your $100 million contract on the other side.
After that mess of a game, where six runs wasn't enough, where seven runs wasn't close to enough, and where eight runs wasn't going to cut it, Santiago Casilla came in and got three strikeouts on nine pitches. There's a chance I'm fouling this search up, but I'm pretty sure he's the first Giants reliever to do it since baseball started keeping track of pitches thrown.
And it happened in that game. Baseball, man.
The last time the Giants won three straight games in Cincinnati, the Giants hit a grand slam, so here's a GIF to remind you of that grand slam, for it was a good grand slam.
Could write a little bit about how Chris Heston is probably going to alternate between iffy and solid for the rest of the year, eventually ending in that same Tim Hudson zone that we're used to with almost all of the non-Bumgarners. Instead, let's appreciate how it feels to watch Hunter Pence hit a baseball really, really hard:
Apparently the Giants are one of the best teams in the world again, and this is never going to end. Let's all give each other high-fives and get arrogant.