Jeff Samardzija pitched as well as he could pitch, and if the Giants didn’t win, I was going to shave something. A cat. My eyebrows. Paint chips off the neighbor’s car. Didn’t have the details worked out yet, but I was ready. No one should pitch that well and watch his co-workers fail like that.
A quick vignette of Samardzija and his co-workers in another occupation:
AUTHOR: I did it. The great American novel. It’s 889 pages, and it’s a father-daughter story that also works as a WWII submarine adventure. It’s brilliant, if I may say so myself.
EDITOR: Oh, wow. Let me just set the manuscript by this open window and hope the wind doesn’t OH NO OH NO
AUTHOR: That’s okay. I saved a backup on this thumb drive.
ASST. EDITOR: Well, I’d better put that between this hot dog and bun for safekeeping, but I sure am hungry and WHAT HAVE I DONE?
AUTHOR: That’s alright, I have everything saved in the cloud.
INTERN: Hi, I heard you were having troubles, so I tried to log in with your password, but I didn’t know it, so I submitted 384 different guesses, and
Samardzija was excellent. As excellent as he can possibly be. This isn’t just me making stuff up, either. His Game Score was 90 tonight; his career high was 91, and that came in a one-hit shutout. Samardzija allowed four baserunners, and one of them came on an error. He struck out 11, getting 15 whiffs along the way. There was nary a walk allowed. His fastball averaged 94 and hit 97. He threw 29 sliders and ditched the cutter entirely ... unless his cutter was extra-freaky for whatever reason.
That’s as well as he can pitch. And the Giants almost blew it.
They didn’t blow it! In fact, they went into Dodger Stadium feeling like a bunch of bozos, and they won the series. This is the second series they’ve won all year, and they did it in the middle of a rough start to the season, in a hostile environment, exactly one game after looking like baseball’s worst team.
If that result makes you happy, thank Jeff Samardzija. Who was incredible.
I don’t want to write, “THAT’S WHY THEY SIGNED HIM,” because the Giants signed him to be a little bit more consistent than he’s been. On the other hand, that’s why they signed him. Two hundred innings of brilliance and buffoonery mixed together, and while you don’t like your peanut-butter-and-snails sandwich, it’ll keep you alive, idiot, so keep chewing.
Bryan touched on the different permutations of Samardzija last night, and it still applies. But we got the good one tonight. This bite was entirely peanut butter. No shells or anything. What a damned outing.
It will get lost in the extra innings and offense and what have you, but I loved this play so much.
It was like watching a pair of inflatable car-dealership advertisements execute an emergency tracheotomy. So quick, so gangly, so thorough, so effective. If Yasiel Puig gets on, the Dodgers win. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, and, oh, you agree. The Giants had just tied the game, and they didn’t need any dumb 20-doink dribbler down the line ruining everything.
This play saved the game and our sanity. It should be remembered in the same way as the Gorkys Hernandez hit.
The Gorkys Hernandez game-winning hit, suckers. Hernandez fills that weird gap of player I want to succeed because he would be a great fit in theory (right-handed, runs well, plays center field) and because he seems like a nice feller. Also, how can you not root for the random backup center fielder, person who has enjoyed three championships, delivered in part by Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco?
But he’s been pretty, pretty, pretty bad this season in all aspects of the game. He was leading off tonight because Bruce Bochy is living through an episode of 24 and we can’t see the threats to our nation behind the scenes. Until his hit, Hernandez was 0-for-4. After his hit, he was still rocking a .182 average and .477 OPS.
And yet, teams should expect something from their randos on the bench. A key hit here, a sweet play there. Hernandez has done that a couple times this year (once at the plate, once on the bases), but the Giants haven’t had a lot of that from anyone on the bench. They were due, as Mike Krukow would say.
Hernandez was due. Don’t overlook the single from Joe Panik, still the most consistent player on the Giants all season, three-base error aside, and the walk from Nick Hundley, which came on a tough 3-2 pitch.
Yeeps. The call looks worse than borderline if you remember that Hundley stands six feet off home plate, but it was a true either/or pitch. The Giants got the either or the or, and whatever it was, it worked. Then Gorkys gorked a double down the line. He was due.
The Giants were due.
Joe Panik got to a 2-0 count, the camera cut to Dave Roberts making some sort of signal, and then Panik was jogging to first.
What a dumb rule.
I wrote a book with the time I saved. It’s a father-daughter story that also works as a WWII submarine adventure.
I wouldn’t have sent Belt in the 10th, either. When I was watching the play live, I kept thinking, no no no no no no. Your opinion, it seems, might have been different. Andrew Toles doesn’t have a great arm, and I was thinking about that during the no no no no no no. But I didn’t want the Giants to run into an out with one down and a solid contact hitter coming up. I pegged Christian Arroyo as the kind of hitter who could at least put the ball in play.
I pegged wrong. And the good news about the win is that we don’t have to scrutinize Arroyo’s hat trick and 0-for-6 like a bunch of jackals. But while I’ll concede that Belt probably would have scored (no guarantees), I’ll also admit that I wanted Arroyo at the plate with the bases loaded and one out.
It wasn’t a play that should make you pull out a switchblade, in other words. Hey, we’re all right, how about that? We’re better than the shoulda-sent-Gordon weirdos, so act like it.
Meanwhile, there’s a football guy spending his night yelling on Twitter because Brandon Belt isn’t as good as Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt.
Belt had four walks, a great defensive play, and drove in a clutch insurance run in the 11th inning. And someone is still complaining about him. Always. Forever.
The Belt Wars are still alive in a simulation I created for my doctoral thesis, and we all get to watch and laugh while the real world keeps going.
The Giants won a series?
The Giants won a series!