The thing you should remember about Tuesday night’s 12-3 win is that it was unremarkable. That is, it wasn’t Jeff Samardzija hitting two triples. It wasn’t Ehire Adrianza hitting five homers, and it wasn’t Brandon Crawford getting eight hits. It was multiple batters on the Giants doing well at the same time. None of them, save for maybe Conor Gillaspie, really surprised you.
It was the frequency that surprised you. It was the proximity. It was the timing. It all happened at the same time, giving the Giants a soft, springy cushion that smelled like a childhood summer. Snnnrnrrrrk, mmm, yeah, it was a good cushion alright, something we’ve been waiting patiently for all second half. These games have been far too infrequent. And you’ll get a one-run game tomorrow, no matter how hard you beg tonight.
Still, focus on the night, which was phenomenal. Do a roll call, and see if anything stands out.
Denard Span had a pair of hits
Great, he’s supposed to do that every other game or so.
Brandon Belt had three hits, including a double and a triple.
Yeah, he’s pretty good, you know. Made the All-Star team.
Buster Posey had a homer and a walk.
Same as the above, but you can also add "and has won an MVP" after the final sentence.
Hunter Pence had three hits, two runs, and two RBI.
He’s having a quietly fine season, with the only issue being the time he missed and the extended slump when he came back.
Brandon Crawford had four hits, including two triples.
Just a mighty fine ballplayer. He should have been an All-Star. He’s hitting well enough to take another Gold Glove this year.
Angel Pagan had two hits.
His bat has surprised me this year, recent slump aside. He’s doing just enough to be valuable at the plate, and I didn’t give him a chance to do that after last year.
Joe Panik also had two hits, including a double and a triple.
A talented young hitter. Still just 25, and he’s already one of the best contact hitters in the majors.
Apologies to Gillaspie, but focus on those seven. All of them came into the season with pedigrees. All of them were part of a balanced attack last year, with only Pagan not contributing a whole bunch (and Span contributing to the Nationals instead). There was reason to be optimistic about almost all of them. And for four months, give or take, the only real problem was the disabled list.
It doesn’t surprise you when any of them have good games. That’s the point. And it’s why a win like this makes you elated, but it’s also why you want to chew on your keys when it’s happening. Why can you do this now? Why can’t you sprinkle these hits and runs evenly across the season?
To support that frustration, I would like to present a stat: The Giants have been outscored by seven runs in the second half.
The Rangers have been outscored by eight runs in the second half.
The Giants are now 26-41 in the second half. The Rangers are 39-29.
It doesn’t just work with historically anomalous teams like the 2016 Rangers, either. There are 10 teams who have been outscored by a greater margin than the Giants in the second half, and the only one with a worse record is the Twins, who are worse by two games. They’ve also been outscored by an even 100 runs. Again, the Giants have been outscored by only seven runs. Which is less than 100.
Bad luck? The bullpen having a statistically significant chance of the group chokes? That’s a debate for another time, and I hope you don’t invite me. This is all pointed out as evidence that this shouldn’t surprise you. The Giants should be having a poor second half, but in the "Ugh, they just aren’t doing as well as they were" sense. Not in the "Great, now we have to colonize another planet because of this mess" sense.
A poor second half would have been enough to contend for the division into the final series of the year.
That’s all we wanted! A poor second half! And a game like this makes you froth at the mouth and wonder why this lineup couldn’t make it happen. It should be a fine lineup! Fine enough to be merely unproductive for a couple months, not historically incompetent!
This is the seventh time the Giants have scored 12 or more runs in a game this season, which as many than the 2012 and 2014 teams combined. This is the fourth time they’ve done it at AT&T Park, which ties the franchise mark set in 2000, when they had the top two finishers in the MVP balloting.
This is because they’re secretly good at baseball, all of them, and it takes a game like this to remind you. There will be a game in the NLCS* when the Giants get eight doubles, and Joe Buck will attribute them to October magic or some such. I guess the burden of proof would be on anyone who disagrees with him at that point. But there will be a part of you — a very screamy part — that wants to remind the world that the lineup was supposed to be good the whole time. It’s what the Giants had going for them last year. It’s what they were supposed to have going for them this year.
It’s what they still might have going for them for the next month. I dunno. But a game like this will help the suspension of disbelief.
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*Note: The Giants still aren’t making the NLCS. Get a grip, man
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With a dozen runs, it’s easy to overlook Matt Moore, who was outstanding. The Giants and Rockies still have the deal they brokered back in the ‘90s, with the Giants agreeing to heartbreaking losses at Coors Field and the Rockies agreeing to looking asleep at AT&T Park. The Rockies have violated the agreement in recent years. Do not trust them. But it appears to be in place now.
Moore was a big part of that, with the Rockies waving through 20 of his pitches, 12 of them on hard stuff (cutters and fastballs). He was commanding everything for most of the night, and he had his first walk-free start since April 17, with the Rays.
It was the kind of start that, again, reminded you of the Giants’ motives with the trade to get Moore. It’s not just about this season. It’s that kind of outing that makes you excited about next season, too. He struck out 11 for the second time in his last four starts.
Would you believe that Kirk Rueter never had an 11-strikeout game with the Giants, even though he made 277 starts for them? It’s true. Look it up. Not even joking.
Anyway, it’s nice to watch Moore with hope, rather than suffering through one of those nightmare innings again. It’s nice when he avoids those nightmare innings. It’s all very nice.
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Buster Posey’s 1,000th hit, everyone:
He joins the Giants’ 1000-hit club, and you know what that means: 15 percent off the 1000-Hit Sandwich in the 1000-Hit Club. But also that he has done a lot of fine things for this franchise.
The full list of the Giants’ 1000-hit club since the team moved to San Francisco:
That’s an impressive list, alright. That’s three Hall of Famers, two players who should be in the Hall of Fame, two with at least a plausible argument for the Hall of Fame, and one who should be in the Hall of Fame for taking Jordan Zimmermann out. And now Buster Posey.
The postseason is when Posey will hit seven homers, you know*. It’ll look like a fluke, but you’ll remember where you were when he lasered that ball out against the Rockies in the final week of the season, which started it all.
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*Note: You aren’t seriously still going on with this even-year stuff, right? Seems hacky. Which means it was the job I was born to take. Also, the Giants scored 12 runs. Let’s be giddy and run it into the ground until the next game starts.
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The Giants hit four triples or more and three homers or more in the same game for just the second time in franchise history. The last time was a month ago. That's just weird.
But it also proves my point up there. This shouldn't be a team that surprises us when they score a bunch of runs.
Seriously, though, that's kind of weird.