The San Francisco Giants won a baseball game. On Friday night, in front of tens of thousands of people who wanted them to score more runs than the other team, they scored more runs than the other team. This is a stunning turn of events, and you should be proud of them.
The best part? I'm not sure if there's anything especially notable with how they did it. Sure, sure, the pitcher drove in three runs, but in a game decided by eight runs, I'm not sure if that was necessary. Hilarious and welcome, sure. But not necessary. The Marlins made bad pitches and got behind in the count, and the Giants hit the ball. When the ball was on the outside of the plate, they went to the opposite field. When the ball was in the middle, they pulled it.
Sometimes, they hit the ball hard and it was caught, and they could say, "lol that's okay, we hit all these other balls hard." So you didn't even have to complain about the hard-hit outs! Can you even imagine?
Really, this was like a child getting arrested for shoplifting, then coming up and saying, "So, I did my homework right when I got home, and I just wanted you to know." You can't -- absolutely cannot -- yell something like, "THAT'S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING THE WHOLE TIME, YOU HORRIBLE DEMON." That only leads to resentment. Remember, two compliments for every constructive criticism. The Giants should have been doing this the whole time. Hunter Pence driving the ball to right. Brandon Crawford hitting the long hair off the ball. Denard Span coming up five times, reaching base in four of the plate appearances, and sacrificing in a fifth.
I know these guys. I know these guys!
And, of course, Jeff Samardzija was throwing baseballs hard and making hitters uncomfortable, but only when he wasn't making other pitchers feel shame. The offense was the star of the night because all of the tumblers clicked at once, but his start was probably the most meaningful event. Did you see the seven-plus innings without drama? Did you watch the 94-mph fastball in the eighth inning, when Bruce Bochy was using him as his own setup man, a bridge to Javier Lopez?
He's no dummy, you know.
Samardzija said he respects SF's educated fan base and wanted to prove his worth. "Hopefully they saw something they liked."— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) April 23, 2016
We did! I mean, I know I'm educated, and the person reading this is educated, but I'm not sure if the whole fan base is, oh, you know, I'm not going to argue, we are pretty smart and great. Did you notice the ballpark is the nicest in baseball? Three in five! Three in five!
The thing that's impressing me most about Samardzija is that he's pitching well in a way that isn't making me attribute it to the large ballpark or the defense (which hasn't even been that hot this year.) He's just a big dude, throwing hard, throwing well, hitting his spots, and throwing hard enough to paper over the times when he doesn't miss his spots. It's a lot more fun to watch than, say, Yovani Gallardo, whom I probably would have preferred eight weeks ago. Sorry about that.
And then there's the hitting. I'd embed the videos, but you should probably head over to MLB.com and watch some ads for Jose Fernandez and 5 Hour Energy if you think you deserve that kind of access. Just know that the signs were there early. It seems like Samardzija can hit, at least a little bit. I had a little note to complain about Bochy hitting the pitchers eighth after the Marlins walked Brandon Crawford to get to Samardzija, but, nope, that eventually worked out. That worked out real well.
Really, this was a game that made you realize that Pythagorean records aren't total hokum. When teams don't win as many games as *maaaath* says they should win, it's so easy to double down on the "bad luck bad luck bad luck" mantra if it helps you sleep at night, even if you half-know that's a little reductive. But this is a game that tells you, no, these specific players can hit the ball just like that. They can string them together and take advantage of the mistakes the other team makes. It's in their DNA.
It's just that if you could COPY AND PASTE SOME OF THESE STUPID RUNS INTO ONE OF THOSE DIAMONDBACKS GAMES, it would have helped. The Giants were capable of doing the exact same thing when Shelby Miller was messing the sheets. It just didn't happen.
Long season. There might be a stretch in which they get every hit at the right time, and there will be reactionary columns about how it can't last, and we'll laugh and say, aha ha ha ha, you can't take the illbegotten wins we already stole, nerds. I like to call that the "2014 scenario," and that would be like this season, but in reverse. Looking forward to that June boom.
Until then, the Giants won. They pitched well. They hit well. They caught the ball well. The Dodgers lost. Happy Friday, everyone.