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Giants win bittersweet, amusing home opener

Matt Moore was dominant, but Buster Posey’s possible injury cast a pall over the day.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Posey was hit in the head with a fastball, and everything else is secondary. The sound was appalling, and the facial expressions were concerning, and he had to leave the game for precautionary reasons. After the game, Bruce Bochy suggested Posey was fine and had “no complaints” about specific pains or concussion-related symptoms. They’ll watch him closely and reevaluate him tomorrow.

On the surface, it seems like everything is fine, and we can enjoy the home opener. The Giants scored four times! Three of them came on one of the most embarrassingly silly plays in Diamondbacks history, which makes it one of the most wondrous plays in Giants history by default! Posey is symptom-free right now, and that’s tremendous.

Of course, Joe Panik was fine after getting hit in the helmet last year, too. He played seven more games before the concussion symptoms appeared, and when he started feeling the effects, it ruined his season. So while I want to enjoy the exceptionally fun Giants win, it seems weird to dive right into the happy-fun time with that unresolved calamity still hanging over our heads

He’d better be fine, dammit.

Assuming he is fine, this will be a home opener remembered for good baseballing and silly baseballing, with some ordinary baseballing in between. We’ll start with the heroes of good baseballing.

Matt Moore is such an odd pitcher to project. Is he a younger, left-handed Jeff Samardzija, with obvious plus stuff and a history of being merely okay? Or is he a burgeoning ace who was temporarily knocked out of orbit by Tommy John surgery? If you’re expecting me to answer that question, check back in three years. If he’s going to be enigmatic, then I get to blog the equivalent of 1000-word shrug emojis

When you watch a game like this, though, you get it. There is nothing counterintuitive about watching Moore saw through an opposing lineup. His control was outstanding on Monday, and he notched the second walk-free start of his Giants career. While he got just seven whiffs and five strikeouts, the Diamondbacks rarely made solid contact, and he allowed just four baserunners in eight innings.

Just like the Giants make sense when they win, Matt Moore the Concept makes sense when he pitches well. It must be pretty danged hard for the Giants, of all franchises, to trade a homegrown fan favorite three months after giving his bobblehead away at the ballpark. What sort of player would be worth that?

A player they couldn’t get anywhere else. While I would be very into Bartolo Colon on this team, Moore makes the team better in 2017. And probably 2018 and 2019. That applies to every pitcher on the free agent market, as well as every pitcher they could have traded their best prospects for. Moore fit strategically. He fit financially. Two starts into the season — just 30 more to go! — it looks like a move that makes sense.

Even if you forget about the trade, here’s what Moore looked like on Monday: a hard-throwing lefty who could change speeds and mix in a cutter, working with plus control and making hitters uncomfortable. Those kinds of fellers tend to do well at AT&T Park.

Starting the season with a 3-5 record is so much more palatable than starting it 1-5. If you had to pin me down for a reason, I think it’s the extra two wins.

Brandon Crawford has a 12-game hitting streak, and he roped an opposite-field double and a long, deep sacrifice fly that would have been a home run in at least 28 other ballparks. He also made a barehanded play to end an inning that would make a lot of other shortstops spontaneously combust, but will rank roughly 143rd on his year-end list of great plays.

This is your first reminder of many that Crawford was a defense-only prospect with a utility-player ceiling, and that his freaky ascent into All-Stardom has been normalized. Do not get used to him or take him for granted. If baseball was a rational, spreadsheet-snorting program, he would not be here.

Baseball is better when it’s irrational, and the Giants are better with Brandon Crawford.

When an intern at Baseball Gods, Inc. sat on the wrong lever like a jackass — “Why do they even have an ‘Injure Posey’ lever?” — they needed to do some damage control.

This did just fine to help us all forget:

I love that Moore bunted on the previous pitch, even though I’d guess the odds of him hitting into a double play increase with a bunt attempt. He just didn’t know what else to do with the bases loaded and one out. Just ... bunt it, and see what happens?

This! This can happen! When you break it down, there are just two mistakes on the play -- Taijuan Walker making a bad throw home and understandably missing a return throw in the middle of some serious chaos — so it’s not 2012 Astros-level chicanery, and it’s not especially close. The play looked much worse because of the damage it did, not because of the specific buffoonery involved.

If I had to pick a favorite part, other than the three runs scoring, it would be this image after the second overthrow:

I have never heard Brandon Drury speak, which gives me the creative license to suggest that he might have ...

  1. An exceptionally squeaky voice, which he used to scream, “Pauullll, he’s runnnning hommmmme!”
  2. A stereotypical Minnesotan accent, which made him append “yah” before the above statement.
  3. A tendency to make up his own cusswords, Jake Peavy-style, when things are going awry, which made him shriek “MOTHBALLS” after the play concluded.
  4. All of the above.

Probably all of the above, though it works with just about any combination. Is Drury Canadian? Don’t know. But a simple “Eh, Paul, EH!” would work on its own, too. There are about 200,000 ways that moment of panic could have been even better. As is, we have only the video.

It’ll do. This is how you type with a smile after a game in which Buster Posey was beaned in the head and the Giants were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Giants won and the Diamondbacks looked silly. It’s hard to be anything but happy when it’s possible to write that after a game.