When HOT TRADE NEWS breaks, I know enough to give Giants fans what they really want to read: a history of Joaquin Arias's best games. And sure, after he was designated for assignment yesterday, it's entirely possible that Arias clears waivers, goes to Sacramento, and comes back later this year, making this post premature, but it's pretty easy to tell that he's not in the Giants' long-term plans, so hey, let's celebrate some of the good things he's done. Okay? Okay!
This post will not include his making the last out in Matt Cain's perfect game or the Scott Rolen Whoopsie because you already remember those, and besides, Grant embedded them in his post, and I don't want to be accused of ripping off his work unless it is strictly necessary*.
*necessary meaning "I'm too lazy to come up with my own joke"
So let's begin! Joaquin Arias's Greatest Hits, Except For His Two Actual Greatest Hits, So Really His Third Through Seventh Greatest Hits, Except They're Games Not Individual Hits, Though He Got Hits in All the Games. It's a catchy title.
The Giants came into Los Angeles down half a game in the standings to the Dodgers. "Why, this simply won't do," they decided, and won the first two games of their three-game series. History records this as a very good decision. Game 3 seems like it should have been a mismatch, since the pitching matchup was Prime Matt Cain against Any Chris Capuano. Capuano, though, was having an inexplicably good year, bringing an ERA of around π into the game. If only a hero could emerge, one who perhaps is having an article written about him that you are, at this moment, reading.
Joaquin Arias was that hero. In the top of the first, he hit a two-run homer that extended the Giants' lead to three runs, later he doubled in another run, and still later he doubled in two more runs. There's even video for you to look at! So hey, might as well do that.
Good job, Joaquin. Plaudits all around.
You do not remember Joaquin Arias's contributions in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. If you remember the game for anything, it's Tim Lincecum's dominant relief performance and maybe the homers from Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval. In the official McCovey Chronicles postgame article, Arias isn't mentioned at all. In the 2500 comments on that post, he is praised once. In the official mlb.com video recap, Arias's name barely comes up:
But Arias had a great game. He came in on a double switch in the fourth along with Lincecum and went 2 for 3 with two doubles and two runs scored. He led off the fifth with a double in a one-run game, came around to score, and thought so much of the experience that he led off the seventh with another double and scored again. It was a close game for a long time, and then it wasn't, and a big part of that was Joaquin Arias.
There's a little bit of a "LOL Dodgers" theme to this article, which is due to the following two reasons:
1. LOL Dodgers forever
2. Arias has a career line of .313/.358/.424 against LA, with 2 of his 7 career homers. He likes playing in rivalry games, or maybe he just likes playing against the Dodgers, or maybe he's faced a disproportionate number of left-handers, against whom he's always done well, or maybe I'm trying to impose a narrative on this so that I can bring order to a confusing world. We'll never know!
In this game, which the Giants won 3-0, Arias went 2-3 against Hyun-Jin Ryu, who would go on to have an excellent year. Arias drove in the winning run and scored an insurance run. He had a good game and then the Giants went on to win, in large part because of that game. This article is about games like that, in case you were confused.
This was a meaningless game in a lost season, but the Giants beat Clayton Kershaw, and that was a delightful turn of events. Arias's career line against Kershaw – .300/.317/.325 in 41 PAs – got him in the lineup every time Kershaw started, which occasionally led to some hilarious results (Never forget Arias's three-hit game against Kershaw this year), and none were better than this. Arias drove in the Giants' first run and scored the winning one in a three-run 7th inning. Of course, he was being protected in the lineup by Giants legend Brett Pill, so it makes sense that Arias would see some pitches to hit. Still! Clayton Kershaw, people. Clayton Dang Kershaw.
(It is possible that Clayton Kershaw's middle name is not actually Dang.)
Near the end of the 2014 Giants' "We Are the Best Team in Baseball" national tour (much better than their arty follow-up about the cold indifference of a cruel world and the inherently vacuous nature of sport), they stopped in St Louis, and treated themselves to a fine night out with Lance Lynn. It was Arias who kept the game from being close, first singling in two runs in the first inning, and then driving in another in the third. Do you want the Giants to play close games against the Cardinals, or do you want the Giants to crush the Cardinals? That's what I thought. Thanks, Joaquin.
This would not be the last time the Giants beat the Cardinals in 2014.
There you have it. Five games selected through arbitrary criteria to praise a baseball player who might well come back later this year. I hope you enjoyed this.