I'm usually not one for detailed here's-what-happened recaps because I figure you've seen the game. And if you haven't, there are professional reporters whose job it is to write excellent, tidy recaps. In a world where you can pull up highlights on your phone from a toilet in Banff, why would I compete with that?
This time, though, I'm scared that the context will be lost in five years if someone stumbles upon this post. Possibly by searching "toilet in Banff." And the context is absolutely everything for this marvelous, unexpected Giants win.
The day started with Brandon Crawford nursing an oblique tweak, albeit not one that was supposed to keep him out as long as Hunter Pence. Still, he was out indefinitely. Did you know that, statistically, he's been the most valuable Giants player? I'll always give extra mental bonus points to Buster Posey for pitcher-whispering, pitch-framing, and general derring-do, but the numbers say it's Crawford by a gorgeously manicured hair.
It's close, at least, which meant the Giants were going to be without three of their very best players against the hottest team in the world. Also, the Cubs' 2015 postseason sigil is going to be a graphic image of a flayed Giant. It will strike fear in the hearts of the other teams and look really boss as a uniform patch, so don't read too much into it. They've earned it by scoring 38 runs in each game they've played against the Giants this year.
Then before the game, Gregor Blanco was scratched with a hip ailment. You can't open the door to Dave Groeschner's office because it's filled with limbs and torsos, and someone should probably check on him because he's probably buried under an avalanche of limbs and torsos, screaming "Please, someone, get these limbs and torsos off of me."
The Dodgers had already won. The Giants' hopes are already slipping away incrementally with each loss. And, again, they're playing a team that has regularly humiliated them this year. This is how the game looked before the first pitch.
The game started with Kyle Schwarber hitting leadoff for no good reason. He's shaped like a phone booth and he's hit what seems like a half-dozen homers against the Giants in just five games, but he was the leadoff hitter. Okay, whatever. Joe Maddon is the guy talking your ear off about how "Goat's Head Soup" is the best Rolling Stones album, and you'll eventually agree just to change the subject. It's not like he's that wrong, but anyway, Schwarber is the new Bagwell, and on an 0-2 count, he hit the ball 400 feet. Straight in the air. A break! Finally, the Giants catch a break against the Cubs!
Jake Peavy was yelling, "I CAN'T SEE. MY EYES WERE TAKEN FROM ME. I'M BLIND, GADBLESSIT, COMPLETELY BLIND. HELP, THE SKY IS ABOUT TO SWALLOW ME WHOLE" and it sounded very much like "I got it I got it I got it." Common mistake, happens all the time. Schwarber ended up at second with a double, and his career slugging percentage against the Giants went down.
About 20 minutes later, after a laborious RISP grind, the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on a two-out hit.
About five minutes after that, Matt Duffy was on the ground, writhing in pain after twisting his ankle.
It was the first time I've even seen Duffy grimace on a baseball field. It looked awful. I figured he'd be back mid-September if we were lucky, along with the rest of the team. The whole team was a Spinal Tap drummer, not just their second baseman.
Now, after all that, I ask you ... how did you feel about the Giants' chances to make the postseason? They've only made the postseason in back-to-back seasons just once since moving to San Francisco, you know, and while Duffy was crumpled on first base, I was resigned to the Giants fate. Got us, odd year. You do have a way.
Then Duffy got irritated and stole second. He tagged up and moved to third on the next play. I'm assuming his ankle feels like it's crawling with pinchy scorpions at this point, but he didn't care. He scored after a pair of walks and a fielder's choice, possibly in montage form. Jake Peavy bent, but he never broke. The bullpen was magnificent. The Giants finally managed to string together extra-base hits in the same inning. They won.
We'll know what it means in a month. It might have been a reprieve from the relentless Cubs bullying, or it might have been a springboard to bigger, better things. Either way, it's better than looking like a team that was going to be relegated to the Pacific Coast League in the offseason, which is what the NL Central has made them look.
Beat the absolute heck out of those Brewers, though. And they won tonight.
Bochy said if Duffy had to come out, you might have seen Posey at 3B. Bochy hopeful Duffy will be playable tomorrow.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 27, 2015
Posey at third was almost a thing. Boy, that would have been fun. For three seconds.
Jake Peavy was gritty, gutty, and dagyabbley. His outing also wasn't that different from the typical Peavy outing these days. Some days the pitches will get fouled off instead of put in play for a hit, and some days the relievers will save the day instead of help ruin it. Put the two extremes together, and you have a Jake Peavy sandwich that costs millions and millions of dollars. In the baseball economy, it probably should. Just remember these good times when the ball doesn't bounce the same way.
He's been roughly what the Giants were expecting, at least when he's been healthy. It was kind of a running joke that the Giants kept saying, "Just wait until Peavy is back!" before the deadline, but it's hard to imagine the team without him right now. It would be Chris Heston running on fumes apparently.
Of the last five home runs the Giants have hit (10 games), two have been from a player now on the DL (Hunter Pence) and two have been from a pitcher (not Santiago Casilla). So any time the Giants want to hit some more dingers, it would probably be a big help.
Norichika Aoki hit a leadoff home run, the Giants' first since May against Jered Weaver. He's now ahead of Von Joshua, Shawon Dunston, Nate Schierholtz, and Michael Tucker on the all-time Giants leadoff home run list. The first leadoff homer ever hit by a San Francisco Giant came from Felipe Alou, who replaced the weirdo who hit Shawon Dunston leadoff in the first place. And now we've come full circle.
Aoki also alligator-armed a ball in left field that could have cost the Giants the win and your comfortable, smug contentment. This wasn't the play ...
... but that will do as a stunt double. Boy, Aoki can sure screw up out there. I mean, I've been an aficionado for years, so I kind of knew. But I didn't know, you know?
The good news is the Giants' deployed a strikeout bomb exactly when they needed to. Hunter Strickland threw a 96-mph fastball through six layers of crappy jokes from last October, and Javier Lopez made the invincible Schwarber look like someone who was playing against Penn State last year. Which he was. They probably didn't have too many Javier Lopezes at Penn State.
Then came Santiago Casilla. Can you imagine if he ... no, don't even say it. Don't want to Betelguese the place up. But after all that up there, after all that nonsense, with a broken team fighting off broken spirits, can you imagine? You cannot. He pitched one of the cleanest innings of the season. Giants win.
Giants win! And you were so worried about that Tomlinson-Perez-Adrianza-Ellison-Lampkin-Canizaro bottom of the order. Shame on you.
Chris Denorfia dove for a ball in the outfield and didn't get it. That led to the Giants scoring important runs. Sooooooo ...
We were so innocent back then.