Jake Peavy is blind.
And yet, with one out in the fourth inning, he hit a line-drive home run over the left field wall off of Reds reliever Collin Balester. It was the 38th home run Balester had surrendered in his 7-year major league career, the first off the bat of a pitcher. It was the 3rd major league home run of Jake Peavy's career, his first since July 26, 2006 off of Brad Penny at Dodger Stadium. The only other major league home run Peavy hit was exactly three weeks prior against the Phillies' Scott Mathieson. He probably didn't see those homers clear the outfield wall either.
To quote one of many #quality #tweets from tonight's game:
"We just saw a blind guy hit a home run." --@moonwalkmcfly— Kristin (@legaleagle88) September 17, 2015
But Jake Peavy's blurry vision hasn't been a liability for the Giants this season. Since his return from the disabled list on July 3rd he's been very capable. In fact, he's been 2014's "since being acquired from the Red Sox to salvage the rotation"-good. For comparison's sake:
Sure, an earned run and a half worse than last season, but still over a run better than the rest of the current non-Bumgarner staff (4.78 combined ERA in 192.2 innings) since his return. So, Jake Peavy on the Giants from July on is a strong trifecta of fortune, it would seem. He held the Reds to five 0s to start the game and then a wobbly sixth inning that he managed to leverage into an unnecessary seventh inning (Bruce Bochy is getting soft in his old age, perhaps or maybe he's willing to indulge his players and the fans in a season that's turned to vapor) and it all looked like the Giants were playing according to the grand design.
His slider looked incredible from the beginning. A strong break that made it looked like the ball disappeared. He struck out Jay Bruce and Joey Votto consecutively in the first inning and it was simply masterful. I won't tag it with a Vintage Peavy, but it was a strong Peavy. A very necessary Peavy.
He'll be back next season and will make a nice front man for the gang of #4 starters the team will be throwing out there behind Madison Bumgarner until Clayton Blackburn is ready or Josh Johnson returns from his rehab. If that's the design.
The Giants lost a bit of a heartbreaker last night and bounced back quite nicely. Of course, that's mainly because of Peavy's strong blanking effort, but the bullpen managed to just barely hang on. Mike Broadway might be a showstopper who's more understudy than marquee guy, but Cory Gearrin might by gearing up for a big 2016 as a fixture in the bullpen. Oh, I've got puns, folks.
You can see the Giants figuring it all out as they go along, a necessity given the Aesopean-level of injuries the team's endured, and it's interesting to compare the team's public statements ("We're not going to give up") with what's happening on the field ("Mac Williamson isn't getting called up unless we're out of it," "Mike Broadway is going to pitch in high leverage situations"). I'm not criticizing the Giants' approach. They still have a lot of home games left and it wouldn't make sense to give fans fewer reasons to still come to the park and spend money, but don't think for a second that the Giants aren't doing anything else right now other than evaluating players for next season.
The 2015 team's yearbook (82-80: Ain't It Great-y?) will talk a lot about the Giants' pitching and how awesome it was... at hitting home runs. Twitter covered the salient details following Jake Peavy's home run in the fourth inning:
The last time the Giants got 9 HRs from pitchers was 1934 when they hit the franchise record of 10. They also hit 9 in 1924.— Bill Arnold (@sfgwire) September 17, 2015
Giants entire starting rotation has gone deep in the last 3 weeks— DYNA-SF-TY (@Natespeare) September 17, 2015
HR this season: #SFGiants pitchers 9, SF left fielders 9, SF center fielders 3.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 17, 2015
Home runs since the All-Star break: Giants starters: 7 Paul Goldschmidt: 7— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) September 17, 2015
According to @baseball_ref play index, the Giants are the 16th team since 1901 to get home runs from five different pitchers in a season.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 17, 2015
Ehire Adrianza hit a triple tonight. It was his first career triple. It was not, surprisingly, his first career extra base hit. He also had a double tonight. He is now hitting .180 on the season. If Ehire Adrianza becomes a useful bench player for the rest of his career, we should all be very, very, very, very, extremely, extraordinarily surprised. Otherwise, small sample sizes are Baseball's beer goggles and we should handle it accordingly (stay close to your friends to make sure you don't say or do anything you'll regret).
I say all that to segue into a brief statement regarding Marlon Byrd: one season at $8 million is completely reasonable in the current market. If Marlon Byrd's bat speed maintains itself, then he will be worth every penny of it. Otherwise, if Marlon Byrd's bat slows down even one splinter's length, he'll be Aubrey Huff's final season. He doesn't walk or play great defense (I contend that tonight's sliding catch was an easier play for other outfielders), but he can get on pitches quick if he isn't fooled. I like the way he fits into the Giants' lineup. Generally speaking, there's a familiar organizational approach from player to player, and then there's Marlon Byrd who can hit mistakes and even really good pitches almost accidentally because of that terrific bat speed of his.
He hit a triple tonight too, prompting Duane Kuiper to exclaim, "Byrd to third!" We have an entire offseason to think of new Byrd-related lines, and we owe it to ourselves to come up with some good ones, because BYRD '16 has already taken flight.
Noah Lowry was at the game tonight. Never forget Noah Lowry.
Andres Torres was also at the game tonight. Never forget Andres Torres.