Let’s just go ahead and get this part out of the way:
“I know what you’re thinking: Coors Field is an offensive cesspool and no baseball should ever be played there.” -Sami Higgins, September 7th, 2016.
But, the Giants are scoring many runs and losing, which is a fun new twist to this terrible season. Remember when “if the Giants can score four runs, they can probably win” was the narrative? I guess the Coors Field factor is a multiple of three and they need to score 12 runs to win.
The math checks out.
Last night, the Giants scored nine runs, but gave up 10. Tonight, the Giants scored eight runs, but gave up 10. I’m sensing a theme here.
To be fair, “the Giants scored eight runs” is a sentence I would have loved to have heard a week ago, as I watched them get shut out 4-0 at a freezing AT&T Park. Perspective is important, and on the offensive end, things are looking up in terms of entertainment value!
If you only watched the top halves of tonight’s innings, it was a pretty fun game! Which isn’t usually the case with this Giants offense. Let’s start there.
The Giants hit three home runs tonight! Isn’t that great? Joe Panik hit one in the first inning on his way to a three-hit/three-run night. Denard Span hit one on a two strike count in the third inning that was a hare’s breath away from the right field foul line.
The fifth inning featured the offensive highlight of the game, however, a two-run homer from Jeff Samardzija! Baseball was fun again! Pitcher home runs are the best home runs and this one was a doozy. At 446 feet, it was the longest home run by a pitcher in the Statcast era. Somewhere in Arizona, Madison Bumgarner is preparing to answer the challenge.
This was Samardzija’s first as a Giant, which was a bit of a surprise for me because he has the physical presence of a man who can crush fastballs in his sleep. However, it was only the third of his career.
Jeff Samardzija home run + bat flip + scream: pic.twitter.com/u77Gc5v3Ui— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 17, 2017
Coors Field, man. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle of offense. Even Ryan Vogelsong hit one here in 2015 - the year of the home-run-hitting Giants pitchers.
After that, the Giants switched to the usual small-ball ground assault, scoring four more runs, two more of which were from Panik.
They even had the makings of a rally in the 9th inning, with the go-ahead run at the plate. The best part was that Ty Blach was the potential tying run as he pinch ran for Buster Posey in his one appearance tonight. Haha, get it? Because his name is...hey, where are you going?
Unfortunately, they just fell short with the last batter. But doesn’t that sound like a fun game? Like I said, it’s a lot more fun if you just watch the Giants’ half of the innings.
Optimists and glass-half-fullers, don’t read this.
Cynics and realists, hello....
So that Giants defense, huh? Hoo, boy. It’s rare to have the wheels fly off twice in the same game, but if anyone can do it, our 2017 San Francisco Giants can! Samardzija gave up 11 hits and eight earned runs. Derek Law gave up three hits and two earned runs, as well as cashing in one of Samardzija’s just for good measure. Again, I add the caveat of Coors Field, but it’s still not good.
Immediately following Samardzija’s home run in the fifth, he came out and gave up five runs. Because...Coors Field? Can we just use that as an excuse here? It’s Friday night and we’re all just here to have a good time.
Even with that, however, it was the bottom of the seventh that was the ugliest. D.J. LeMahieu walked on a questionable ball four that Samardzija took exception to and began to walk towards the umpire, Gary Cederstrom. Cederstrom was not having it, however, and began walking towards him as well. Nick Hundley tried to intervene and was brushed off like a fly. Either the questionable call or Cederstrom’s actions prompted Bruce Bochy to intervene, which ultimately resulted in his ejection from the game.
Enter the law, Derek Law. He struck out Nolan Arenado, but gave up a single to Carlos Gonzalez. He got Ian Desmond on a sac fly, but gave up a single to Raimel Tapia - which turned into a triple after the ball was fumbled by Hunter Pence. Not to be outdone, Alexi Amarista doubled to Pence to score Tapia. It was a mess.
Pence is starting to match his joke scouting reports, minus the good results. I don’t really know what is going on with him, but he had quite the wild ride in right field tonight.
I think the most frustrating thing about the 2017 San Francisco Giants, as demonstrated tonight, is that it has changed the fundamental thing that makes baseball so appealing to me. Which is the belief that anything can change with one swing of the bat.
The Giants had the opportunity to prove that correct tonight, but they didn’t. And that’s fine. However, the fundamental difference is that a year ago, I would have been the optimistic person who thought “But what if he hits a home run here?” and now I am the “Well, how are they going to mess this one up?” person. And the Giants did that to me. It just goes back to the optimists vs. cynics/realists divide.
For you optimists: The Giants have scored 17 runs in the last two games and that’s pretty cool out of context.
For you cynics:
Giants lost 10-8. They have dropped 13 of their last 17 games. In the middle of June, they are 17 1/2 games out of first place.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 17, 2017