The A's scored three runs. You don't think that means anything. Yeah, so what? They scored three runs, big whoop. Dog bites man.
Except the Giants allowing three runs in a June homestand means they would have lost five out of the six games. Three runs is a lot at AT&T Park, or at least it feels like it. On some nights -- most nights? -- allowing three runs would have meant that it was time to blame someone. Who was that reliever who did that thing when the other guy did that thing? Bring him forward, I want to yell at him. It's his fault. The Giants gave up three runs so let's look for the scapegoat.
Instead, I remember how the A's scored exactly one of their runs -- on a long homer from my decade-old white whale. I think there was a single before that and a sac fly after that and ... look, I'm not going to belabor the point. I don't remember because the Giants scored a bunch of runs of their own. When the other team scores three runs and you don't notice, why, that's a fantastic baseball game to watch.
That's the hyper-efficient offense that we were crowing about on the off day, when we pointed out that the Giants were leading the league in runs scored, (and they're back on top after Friday's game). A couple people complained that I was jinxing them, especially before a game against the A's. To which I always respond: Then I get to take credit for all three World Series because of my deftly placed reverse-jinxes. There's no jinxing this lineup. There are just streaks when the hits fall in, and streaks where they don't. It's the beauty and curse of the average-dependent lineup (ft. guest: doubles).
This is one of the good streaks.
But there's something of a tradition lately, and I'd like to honor it. The Giants in the last 10 games have made a point of scoring so many runs that it obscures the solid work from a pitcher of interest. Matt Cain was almost forgotten the other night, and Chris Heston's masterpiece almost became a b-side. Hey, look at all these runs!
Instead, look at the solid job that Jake Peavy did. He won't start Game 1 of the (please please please) Series. He won't start the one after that. But if the Giants are going to fight off the Cubs and Pirates and Mets, or if they're going to pull the Dodgers' underwear over their heads, they'll need someone like Peavy to pitch the game we just watched, over and over again. Not dominant. But more than just okay. Something in between, where there's some forgiveness for a lineup having a little trouble, and where the effort is a footnote when the lineup isn't having trouble at all.
More importantly, this is the Peavy I remember after the deadline last year. Living on the corners, but rarely living scared. In the postseason, he was pitching like someone who knew he was filled with pitching dust and wishes, hoping no one would notice how tired he was. Before that, he was the pitcher the A's saw: imperfect, solvable, occasionally confounding and always competent.
Before Peavy and Cain came back from the DL, there were a lot of quotes from the Giants about how this would be a total shot in the arm for the team. Cain hadn't pitched in a year. Peavy was busy getting lit up in the various minor league cities of California. And it was easy to be snarky. Ohhhhhh, yeah. That'll fix everything.
I don't know about fix everything. But it sure doesn't hurt.
Buster Posey is excellent at what he does.
Feels like we can go a month without one of those reminders. I think that I've figured out his appeal, though, other than the everything. If I had to design a hitter on a computer, Weird Science-style, what would the hitter look like.
Okay, but pretend that wasn't an option. Barry-Bonds-that-pitchers-always-pitched-to will forever be the best possible hitter to watch. I'm talking about genres, though. Types of hitters. My favorite hitter to watch would:
- hit for average
- hit for power
- take some walks
- not be so focused on walking that he was forever in danger of missing the one pitch that came through the zone in a plate appearance
Also, steal 100 bases. But that's probably a long shot. This isn't to needle players like Joey Votto. Sure, I'd love if Posey had an OBP of .440 one of these years. If he hit like Votto did in his MVP season, it would be the best offensive season from a catcher in the history of baseball. But when talking about the players you want to watch, not necessarily the best players statistically, Posey comes close to the hitter I want to watch.
Uses the whole field, he does. Maybe I'd make him a little less streaky, but that's nitpicking.
So this is that stretch where Angel Pagan shames us for doubting him. Where he goes on a tear, and we all have to yell, "Yay, Angel!" and look around sheepishly because we've spent the last few weeks talking about him looking like a watered-down version of the old Angel Pagan.
Are you prepared? We're talking .348 over his last 10 games, and he even had a double mixed in. If it happens, if he takes over and pilots this team to star system yay, we'll have some serious penance to perform. Watching his homer in the 2012 NLDS on a loop while walking on a path of broken bottles is the most obvious way.
I'm prepared. And welcoming. And open-minded. Make me look stupid, always and forever, Giants hitters.
Sam Fuld bringin' sexy back pic.twitter.com/DeB3b3Z3sO— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 25, 2015
Only one of these is the correct way to react to a "testicular contusion." pic.twitter.com/j4TGkVsDuI— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 25, 2015
"Two balls, one strike."
- Mike Krukow
"He's all white. White."
- Teammate of Billy Burns
Yeah, well, he earned that white.
The Giants won their ninth game of their last 10. They're still three behind the Dodgers, who are playing well, but it would be easy to get used to this.