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Giants take series behind Madison Bumgarner, dingers

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Kelby Tomlinson hit a grand slam for his first career homer, and the Giants scored nine unanswered runs.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants' strategy until they get healthy: 1. win every single game that Madison Bumgarner starts, 2. this is the second step, and 3. I don't know, we'll figure it out. There's a placard in the clubhouse and everything. The first step is probably the most important one. It's simple enough. They can never, ever, ever, ever lose again when Bumgarner pitches. Before you scoff too loudly, note that it worked during the last two rounds of the postseason. At least it's an ethos.

It's also a strategy that's going to fail at some point because Bumgarner can't win every game he starts. I mean, probably not. Maybe not. It's, at the very least, somewhat unlikely. Kind of. Look, it's not like the Giants can do anything about it now, so just enjoy it while it lasts. The Giants have won their last five Bumgarner games, and they've needed each one desperately.

Bumgarner's August stats:

IP: 37⅓
ERA: 1:43
SO: 53
BB: 4

Why, I'll bet if every pitcher in the rotation did the same thing, the Giants would win a lot more games.

The Giants' haphazard roster of MacGyver tricks can't survive if they can't win the Bumgarner/Haren match-ups. Don't get annoyed with it -- it's not like they planned it like this. The old strategy of singling the doubles after the singles was working just fine, and if they're going to hang on, they need every last Bumgarner win. The efficacy of the forced strategy will be tested over the next month, but it sure worked like the dickens in August.

★★★

I'm sure there were Cubs fans over the first five games of the season series who were very loud about the Giants not being very good.

This team is garbage. How did they win the World Series? How are they even contending. Such much garbage.

And that makes this game and series win feel even better. Let it be a reminder that Madison Bumgarner is awesome, and let it be a reminder that the Giants have nonsense up their sleeves in ways you can't imagine. They scored their first run on a Juan Perez double, their second on an error and a dribbler through a drawn-in infield, their next three on a homer from an August waiver trade, and the final four on a grand slam from a 25-year-old rookie who was available to every single team in the Rule 5 Draft before the season. Do not doubt their strong, strong nonsense game.

Oh, and they also have Bumgarner and Buster Posey.

But don't forget about the nonsense.

Still, I'm starting to think the first five games against the Cubs severely undersold the Giants. They're pretty okay when they're healthy.

The nonsense ruled a chunk of this game, though. I have another word for the nonsense, but I'm becoming increasingly aware of children -- literal children -- reading this site, so I'm doing my best to let you fill in the blanks and figure out the word I really mean. So much nonsense. Spilling out of their jerseys and out of their pant legs and into the team bus and getting all over the hotel room, oh, man, it's everywhere, simply everywhere, leaking through the walls, help, so much nonsense. The only problem is that the Dodgers can pay, like, a service to clean up this much nonsense. They sanitize it right quick. So nothing's guaranteed.

This series was a much better representation of the current Giants if they're going to win, though. Nonsense, talent, more nonsense. It'll do until the extra talent gets back, but until then, we promise we're not that awful, Cubs fans. The Giants would be a lot closer if the Cubs didn't keep breaking Giants players.

★★★

Say, this GIF works for Kelby Tomlinson, too.

CORKY

KELBY!

Mechanics guru (and friend to the Giants-related nonsense mentioned above) Chris O'Leary is ... uh ... confused by Tomlinson's swing.

Well, let's break it down.

screen

Okay, so that setup is known as the, uh, Indifferent Matador, and I'm sure everyone from Roberto Clemente to Rod Carew used it.

kelby

That is the Front-Foot Gambit, and it makes the pitcher think that he's fooled, which makes the pitcher throw the breaking ball in the first place, because time isn't linear. You can't teach this one to kids too young.

kelby

See how he's stepping on the side of his foot like some sort of freak, about to break it? Probably planned. Ted Williams was a big proponent of this move, known informally as The Hobbled Counselor. Also, make sure the pitch is down and really in. That sets up the followthrough seen in the final pic:

tomlinson

Just a classic, one-handed, bent-ankle followthrough on an uppercut home run. Tomlinson might not hit more than a half-dozen in a season, but it's hard to imagine why when you break down his swing and invent names for the things that look weird.

★★★

The game was pretty well in hand before Tomlinson, actually, thanks to Marlon Byrd's three-run dinger. They have five on the season now, which is good for 30th in baseball and one behind J.D. Martinez. The Giants also lead the league in grand slams, so it's not worth complaining too loudly about.

Besides, if they hit 20 in the next week, they can catch up to the Yankees, so I don't see what the big deal is.

The best comp for Byrd so far? Just as we hoped: Joe Carter. The 38-year-old hit .295/.322/.562 with seven home runs in 105 at-bats with the Giants in 1998. It was hilarious. Byrd isn't quite as unexpected, and his defense isn't nearly as ghastly, but it's still found money. Any dinger he can contribute, please. Any dinger he can spare.

★★★

Times it's acceptable to run through a third-base coach's stop sign:

  • When you're trying for a danged inside-the-park home run

Keep doing Norichika Aoki things, Norichika Aoki. It almost worked, and inside-the-parkers are always worth it. Unless they cost the team the game when you run through a stop sign. But that wasn't much of a concern, here, so wheeeeeeee.