The 2015 Giants have now played 25 games. Of those, how many have made you think something like, "Well, on this day, the Giants were clearly the better team"? Before you answer, let me just list the scores of the games that the Giants had won this season before Sunday:
That's one four-run margin of victory, two three-run margins, and a whole mess of one-run wins. The last time the Giants won a game by more than one run was April 21. Which is all to say, boy, the Giants haven't played a lot of games that have made you say "Well, on this day, the Giants were clearly the better team."
Here, on Sunday, when trying not to avoid the sweep, the Giants looked like the better team, and they looked like it within four pitches in the bottom of the first inning. Norichika Aoki and Joe Panik probably won't combine for 10 home runs this year, but they were on pace for eight in the game after those four pitches. At no point after that was there a reason to doubt the Giants' supremacy. For the game, at least. It was the calmest win of the year. That was like the It's Its of wins, if It's Its were made out of kale and vitamins. I could go for, like, 25 more of those in one sitting.
If you're wondering why it felt different, that's because it's happened about 4 out of the last 25 times you've watched a Giants game. That's a .160 batting average, so to speak. That's about what you would expect a pitcher to hit, which ...
That was not the first time that Tim Lincecum has had two hits in one game. That was not the first time that Lincecum has reached base three times in one game. The last time Lincecum did both of this was June 25th of last year. If you would like to read about that game, I would encourage it.
This could have been the most depressing game of the week. Maybe the most depressing game of the month, if not year. If both Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum shambled out there and dooked 85-mph fastballs for three innings before their managers yanked them for being awful, it would have been a sad reminder that time is the real superstar. Nobody has a better WAR than time. Both Weaver and Lincecum used to be perennial Cy Young candidates, and then their velocity left them. Got a few miles per hour in the divorce settlement, too. There was a legitimate chance for dual-embarrassment, here.
Instead, Lincecum was outstanding. There are hairs to split if you're looking for predictive value -- check out the three-pitch sequence of 89/90/89 fastballs in the first inning that were in the middle of the strike zone to Mike Freaking Trout -- but I don't know what the point of that is. No, this game probably doesn't mean that Lincecum is going to do this more often than not. There were still location mistakes and 85-mph fastballs. But you still get to celebrate this game. When Lincecum walked off the mound in the eighth, the crowd treated him like a two-time Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champion who had enjoyed one of the best careers of any Giants pitcher in history and who had just pitched an excellent game.
Which is what he is, after all.
When you put it like that, maybe the Giants know what they're doing, at least from a PR standpoint, when they keep Lincecum in the rotation. When it works, the warm fuzzies are indescribable. I would ensconce myself in those warm fuzzies. Would ensconce. Don't worry about predictive, about the four strikeouts continuing a sketchy trend of batters making contact, about the line drives that found mitts. Enjoy the excellent Lincecum start.
His ERA is 2.40, you know. My word, with a couple more starts like this and a manager who gets to take whomever in the hell he wants, he could be an All-Star. That would be some fantastic trolling. It's something to root for, regardless of how aesthetically pleasing the road there would be.
The last time the Giants led off a game with two home runs, the last one came when Duke Snider hit one off Bob Gibson.
This section is here because that last sentence reads like James Joyce to me. It looks like a sentence that exists because Ken Burns played Mad Libs when he was drunk.
Leadoff home runs in the AT&T Park era:
Ray Durham - 8
Randy Winn - 5
Andres Torres - 4
Marvin Benard - 3
Gregor Blanco - 3
Angel Pagan - 3
Kenny Lofton - 2
Aaron Rowand - 2
Eugenio Velez - 2
Omar Vizquel - 1
Michael Tucker - 1
Nate Schierholtz - 1
Jason Ellison - 1
Steve Finley - 1
David Bell - 1
Norichika Aoki - 1
There are ... several names up there I would not have guessed. I don't remember the vast majority of those home runs. That is, however, a very cool list. Also, if you don't miss Ray Durham in some capacity, you're either 15 or a bad person.
I can't embed the video here because that would run the risk of sharing the excitement of baseball and exposing it to a larger audience, but I encourage you to listen to the brilliant calls from Duane Kuiper here of the back-to-back homers to lead off the game. Both were excellent. My only wish is that Pagan's triple were just a little bit higher.
If you were asked before the season started, "What would it take for the Giants to win 100 games?", what would you have guessed? Congress finally getting their act together and mandating that Mike Trout played for the Giants. Some sort of scientific discovery at Lawrence Livermore Labs that benefitted the Giants only. The other teams coming down with a nasty case of the grippe that lasted four months. Oh, there were all sorts of options.
Or, another way they could have been that successful is if Angel Pagan hit like Tony Gwynn and Brandon Crawford hit like Cal Ripken. Both of them will enjoy a sustained cooling-down period -- them's the odds -- but for the first month of the season, they're both huge reasons why the Giants are just a game behind .500, not five or six.
Didn't check Twitter. Didn't watch the game with the sound on, just in case Duane Kuiper started yakking. When a crawl started at the bottom of the CSN feed, I looked toward the ceiling. I'm about to post this sucker without knowing the Warriors score. That makes this game feel like a double-super-secret win, which is much better than the standard win.
Enjoy this double-super-secret win, fellow Giants-firsters.