There are just three games left at Coors Field for the entire year. That's it. Naturally, those games come in September, after a four-game series in Wrigley Field and in the middle of a 10-game road trip, which seems like a perfectly awful time to visit. Still, just three games left in 2016. We've already come so far in this baseball season. Sunrise, sunset.
The weird part is that I'm almost sad to see the Giants leave. There's no way that I'll eat those words in a few months, ha ha, just see if I'm scared, baseball gods. But after nearly a month of grinding out 4-3 wins -- delightful and awesome wins, you spoiled twits -- it's finally nice to see the ostensible strength of the team shine in consecutive games. The Giants are supposed to make opposing pitchers twitch.
Take a random starter who isn't all hopped up on Kershaw dust. A pitcher who's still finding his way in this league. Let's say his name is Chris Rusin. The Giants are supposed to be a team that doesn't let up. You start with Denard Span, who's been a fine hitter for years, and you move on to an annoying, slappy second baseman, and then, oh, great, here comes Buster Posey and Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford and Matt Duffy, in no particular order. Maybe the pitcher who hits dingers is mixed in there, too, just for good measure. And if players are hurt, there are annoying players behind them.
Yet, somehow, the Giants have been winning without making opposing pitchers feel like that. Here's what Dave Flemming said on the TV side after the Giants scored their eighth run:
It's really interesting, the Giants are 11 games over .500, playing good ball, best record in the big leagues in May. (Yet it) feels like maybe the first real hot streak of the year is starting for some of these guys.
Bingo. That's the perfect way to put it. Pence is entering this new, hilariously unexpected phase of his career, where he's walking and making contact like a skinny middle infielder, yet keeping his power at the same time, but it's not like his overall numbers suggest he's an MVP candidate. Belt is still walking more than he's striking out, but I'm not sure if he's going to make the All-Star team. Crawford is back to good-for-a-shortstop numbers, which he transcended last year. You can make the yeah-buts for every hitter. There isn't a Dexter Fowler among them, putting up bananas numbers that helps buoy the entire team in the middle of a dull stretch.
Maybe they just needed some flat breaking balls and thin air. Boy, if I could bottle that up, I'd put BALCO out of business. Assuming that it's still ... no? Okay, well, it would be the next BALCO, then. The Giants used Coors Field for its intended, dark purpose, pummeling baseballs all over the place. They had eight doubles, which tied a franchise record. How rare is it for a Giants team to hit eight doubles? Well, let's take a look:
Eight-double games, Giants history
In a three-month period from May 21, 2000 to August 25, 2000: 3
Since then: This game
All of those games in 2000 were on the road, too, so it's not like I can blame the opposing fielders for not understanding how AT&T Park worked yet. What a weird cosmic belch. Anyway, it's rare, super rare, and it's not like the doubles were dribblers down the line against the shift. They were loud and glorious.
The Giants scored 20 runs in the three-game series in Coors, good for a solid 6.66 runs per game. Which is how you know they've turned the Coors devil magic back on itself. In the history of Coors Field, the Giants have scored 5.9 runs per game -- 5.7 since the humidor was installed. So this was almost a typical offensive series in Colorado.
Ah, but Giants pitchers have averaged 6.1 runs allowed in Coors. They were down to 4.3 this series. Which means the pitchers were the real stars of the game. Johnny Cueto wasn't at his best, but he was still mighty efficient and helpful. Maybe this entire recap should focus on the p ...
Sorry, can't talk, drunk on doubles. And long Denard Span home runs. And loud, heartwarming contact. And Nolan Arenado being annoyed. The Giants took a series in Colorado. It was the fifth straight series win. They've won 14 out of their last 16 games, and they're 20-7 in May.
Isn't Coors Field just a beautiful ballpark? Combines the urban with the natural like nowhere else, a true nod to the game's pastoral roots and postmodern future. Yup, love that Coors Field. Hooray for Coors Field!
* * *
In which Kelby Tomlinson screws up:
Like, what was his plan? He was just hitting the bat, not even planning to catch it with the other hand, until he realized at the last second, "I AM AMONG OTHER PEOPLE"? Amazing. And yet again, we have Hunter Pence shaking his head, muttering, "What an unusual player this one is."
Why are you smiling? You just broke an umpire who will decide the fates of your future at-bats. He is not a temp.
At least the umpire got his by the end of the game.
"I called for that. That was intentional, and we're even. Now take your base and don't ask how."
* * *
This was amazing. I've never seen a batter hold up his hand for time while digging into the box, put it down, realize the pitcher is ready, and freak out like this. And then he did it for a second straight time.
and Parra was like WHAT, LIKE I'M SOME STINOCCH YOU CAN JUST PITCH TO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT?
and Cueto was like YEAH, MAYBE YOU ARE A STINOCCH, A REAL FANDAGGIO, NOW GET BACK IN THE BOX
and Parra was like ...
Hey, Johnny Ball Pit, I don't mean disrespect, but how am I supposed to forget about your habit of quick-pitching, which I am clearly trying to prevent? Please, remember that I am not some rookie fresh from Dubuque that you can toy with, like a kitty cat and his unfortunate prey. Now if it is okay with you, I would like to start this at-bat.
Then Cueto went back to talk to the umpire:
Everyone was amused, everyone was irritated. But no one was more amused than I was, after watching Parra line a bases-clearing, game-tying double into the mitt of Brandon Belt for a double play.
Couldn't have happened to a more deserving nemesis. Baseball is so much fun, everyone.