At the risk of offering you a can of pudding, waiting for you to take a bite, then sharing what the FDA considers to be acceptable levels of rat feces in canned pudding, I want to discuss how the Braves lost Tuesday night’s game. The Giants won, and that pleases me greatly, but the eighth inning deserves some scrutiny and guffaws. Scruffaws.
The inning started with the Giants trailing, 2-0. Or, as I like to call a two-run deficit, “trailing 8-0.” All it would take was a bloop and a blast, but the Giants aren’t so good at the blasts, and the bloops tended to pile up and rot. Hunter Pence was the first batter.
I will hit the ball into the ground and hope for the best.
Actually, that’s not the ideal str ... but, hey, it worked. It was an infield hit, which is of the same genre as the bloop. Now they just needed the blast. Brandon Belt was the hitter.
I will hit the ball hard, but right at somebody, as my agent told me that triggers contract bonuses.
That is not true, and I keep pointing out that’s Farhan Zaidi in a fake mustache, not your agent. But, hey, it worked again. It should have been one out, nobody on, and even when they got a gift runner, it should have been two outs, nobody on. The Giants tried so very hard to ruin the rally.
Yes, well, it all gets so confusing, I get it.
Instead, there was magic. Austin Slater hit the second three-run homer for the Giants this year, but I missed the first one, so I’m going to pretend this was the first. I have conflicting thoughts.
My first thought is that this is what it takes for the Giants to get a three-run homer. The other team needs to screw up so much, there’s no way to get out of it. They have to keep allowing runner after runner after runner, until the Giants are exhausted and scream, “FINE, we’ll hit a home run, stop bullying us.”
The other thought is that this should have happened plenty this season. The Giants being oddballs when it came to solo home runs was a fluke, and while the general problem of not hitting enough homers was very real, the distribution of those home runs was quirky as heck.
Regardless, the Giants have Slater, and we’ll go to the leaderboard:
Austin Slater: 2 HR, 47 plate appearances
Every other Giants LF this season: 3 HR, 245 PA
And one of those left fielders was Brandon Belt, so it feels like that’s cheating a little bit.
It’s early, so we probably shouldn’t talk extension yet (7 years, $87 million, who says no???), but Slater has been one of the only bright spots for the 2017 Giants, and I sure hope he keeps a fraction of this up. It’s tremendously entertaining to have a new youngster to root for, even if I’m not sure if his home run would have made the warning track at AT&T Park.
And, ugh, fine, I’ll praise one of the old youngsters, too. Brandon Belt hit a home run after failing to get a bunt down against the shift, and we should probably acknowledge that. People want to make this a referendum against him bunting against the shift, and I can understand that.
So with that in mind, let me introduce the Greater Brandon Belt Theorem of Bunts. It’s a two-parter:
- Brandon Belt should definitely bunt against the shift more and raise his batting average
- Brandon Belt should hit as many home runs as he would have without bunting
It’s really not that difficult of a choice. Just do both. C’mon, people. I can’t write and come up with all the good strategies.
Starting with the errors and the dingers is probably burying the lede, though. Those were nice when it came to a single win, don’t get me wrong. But if we’re going to focus on the next contending Giants team, the hope is that include Matt Moore. Like, next year. You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, and I get to run around and scream, “2014! 2014! 2014!” until the cops come.
Moore threw a quality start and got his ERA under 6.00. While that seems like praising with obvious damn, it was remarkably encouraging to watch. The rationale of the trade is still the same as it was last year: The Giants could use the best-case Matt Moore scenario more than they could use the best-case Matt Duffy scenario. That was the case then, and it’s certainly the case now.
The Giants, as we know them, should be able to find a line-drive hitter with an excellent glove at third. Christian Arroyo just needs the line drives, really, and he’s young enough to assume he’ll find them. There. Solved. And considering that Duffy has 76 at-bats in a Rays uniform, all last year, that part of the gambit still seems sound.
Moore just has to pitch well.
The other part of this now, though, is that the trade is also being judged with a Lucius lens. As in, the Giants would at least considering trading Moore for first-round-quality prospects, and Lucius Fox is having a fine season as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League. That’s the part of the scenario that stings more to a reloading/rebuilding team.
So it would be cool if Moore could keep doing this, is all. He’s important to the Giants’ future, even if the present is infested with lice. In that sense, he should be just as entertaining to watch as Slater when he’s going well.
When he’s going well. Which is right now apparently. Nobody say anything and mess this up.
It’s notable that if the Giants had an Ender Inciarte in center field, Moore might not have given up two runs after all. Denard Span tries hard, bless him, but he’s about five years removed from making the extraordinary play in center field. Inciarte makes them like they’re no big deal, and then he winks at the camera to let you know that he knows they’re actually a big deal.
I want an Inciarte in center field, dang it. Maybe this can be a drum to bang before the trade deadline. The Diamondbacks gave the real Inciarte away. Here’s hoping another team can be so generous.
Apparently this was Dugout Reaction Night for Getty Images, and it makes for good content.
When the errors are extremely amusing and confidence-building.
When the RBI is lifting your spirits and also you’re a lobbyist for Boeing.
When you just did something good and you hope like hell that this guy doesn’t latch onto your face like the facehugger from Alien.
When you understand the way of his people and realize your fears weren’t justified.
Fine work, Giants. Eighteen more of these, and .500 is yours.