Gregor Blanco signed with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, and while your first reaction might well have been, “Ew, the Diamondbacks,” I don’t really have a way to end this sentence because that was also probably your next several reactions. But he’s gone now, and so it’s a good time to remember some great games from Gregor Blanco, Very Good Giant.
Before we get started, let’s just get this out of the way because it was the first thing everyone thought of and therefore should come first:
All right, good work everyone. Especially Gregor, but also everyone.
May 14, 2012, versus San Diego Padres
Blanco’s first year with the Giants was 2012, and the general attitude about him around here was, “Nice risk to take. Now let’s see if he pays off.” He wasn’t anything special in April, rocking a .569 OPS coming off the bench, but in May he started to shine. In this game, he accounted for the first Giants run by hitting a game-tying homer in the sixth, and then in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth, Blanco singled and came around to score the lead run. This game alone raised his OPS 100 points. Turns out that going 3 for 4 with a homer will have some positive effects on your stat line.
May 21, 2013, versus Washington Nationals
Down one run in the bottom of the ninth, Buster Posey hit a leadoff infield single against Rafael Soriano. I know what you’re thinking: “This is an article about Gregor Blanco, and he and Buster Posey are different people, so I don’t understand why you are talking about Buster Posey.” Now don’t worry, just hold on, we’ll get there. Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt followed Posey’s single by flying out, leaving the game in the hands of one Mr. Gregor Blanco. Blanco immediately went down 0-2 against Soriano, then took a ball, and on the fourth pitch, smacked a triple into right-center field, scoring Andres Torres, who had come in to pinch run for Posey. By WPA, this was the biggest hit of Blanco’s Giants career, and the fact that he was stranded at third that inning (!) by Brett Pill (!!!!) just makes it that much Giantsier.
The Giants went on to win the next inning on a Pablo Sandoval home run, but the game never would have gotten there without a miracle Gregor Blanco two strike, two out game-tying triple. Also he had two other hits that night against Nationals starter Steven Strasburg and scored the first Giants run. Pretty dang good night for Gregor, especially considering that it was the first time that his brother Gregsman had ever seen him play in the majors.
Here’s the triple in video form! I like baseball and want it back.
June 19, 2013, versus San Diego Padres
Blanco came into this game as a pinch hitter and only had one plate appearance, but he sure made it count. Down 2-1 to the Padres in the bottom of the seventh, he took the first pitch from extremely Padre pitcher Greg Lukerson and crushed it into Triples alley, driving in two runs. The next hitter, Marco Scutaro, then drove Blanco in, and that was the margin of victory in a 4-2 Giants win.
This should already be cued up to the triple, but if not, it’s at 1:24:
June 22, 2013, versus Miami Marlins
And the 2013 march continues! Statistically, it wasn’t that great of a year for Blanco, but he sure had a good month or so in there. In this game, he drove in the first Giants run, scoring Barry Zito with a ground rule double, and scored the last one on a Hector Sanchez single in the 11th inning. That doesn’t sound too impressive, but on the other hand, they were the only two runs the Giants scored in a 2-1, 11 inning win, so when you think about it, Gregor Blanco basically won this game by himself.
Well, okay, with the help of all the pitchers and also the other hitters too who helped get him in in the 11th inning. Look, don’t nitpick, okay? It’s not a good look.
May 10, 2015, versus Miami Marlins
The unspoken theme of this article: Hey, remember ninth inning comebacks? Like, not the ones that other teams do against the Giants, but way back in the day, for example in 2015, it wasn’t strange for the opposing team’s closer to come in in a save situation and then blow the save. History is so funny!
Blanco went 3 for 4 in this one, but the first two hits, an infield single and a ground rule double, didn’t lead to any runs, so we’re going to ignore them. But down one run in the ninth inning, after a Justin Maxwell strikeout and an Andrew Susac single, Blanco doubled to right field, making it second and third with one out. This might be a situation we all expect the Giants to choke in, having watched 2016, and after Buster Posey was intentionally walked, Angel Pagan did his part with a strikeout, but Steve Cishek walked Nori Aoki to force in the tying run and then Matt Duffy singled to left field to drive in Gregor Blanco with the winning run.
In conclusion, Gregor Blanco was a very good Giant and he will always be appreciated and also his two brothers are named Gregsman and Gregory.