The Giants, limping toward the merciful end of a last-place slog, wore uniforms that looked like a half-eaten tropical fish that was dropped by an osprey and left to rot in the sun. Then they lost on a three-run home run from Paul Goldschmidt.
That’s it. That’s the recap.
Enjoy your Friday night.
Man, there was a time when I would have hit publish, but I’m too chicken now. I’ve sold out, and the Giants aren’t good. This is a mess all around.
But let’s start with the last part. The Giants lost on a three-run homer from Paul Goldschmidt, who was genetically engineered to ruin Friday nights. While he isn’t the final boss of broken hearts — that’d be Nolan Arenado — he’s indisputably one of the greatest Giant-killers of his generation, a latter-day Jeff Bagwell.
Except, I’m going to blow your mind, here. Goldschmidt’s career OPS is .936, which is incredible. Do you know what it is against the Giants? Do you?
It’s .864. Worse than his career numbers.
There are 19 teams that Goldschmidt has hit harder than the Giants, according to OPS. I know that this isn’t park-adjusted, but it’s still incredible. He’s hit the Padres harder. He’s hit the Dodgers harder. And, sure, he’s hit the Rockies harder. Also, the Cubs did something to him in a past life, and they’re paying for it now.
It turns out that Goldschmidt is really good. That’s it, that’s the secret. The Giants lost on Friday night when a really good player on a Hall of Fame path hit a three-run homer. It came when Ty Blach fell behind 2-0 and didn’t have enough command to justify pitching to him with an open base when he’s behind 2-0. The pitch before was even worse than the one that was hit over the fence.
Those third and fourth pitches were both changeups. Goldschmidt was not sitting on a fastball. And that’s the story of how the Giants lost.
Except, hold on, there’s more to it. Earlier in the inning, Denard Span — the worst center fielder in baseball by a wide margin according to at least one statistic — got caught in the middle of a line drive. He probably should have caught it, and he definitely should have stayed in front of it, but he did neither.
Blach allowed the hard contact, so he’s not totally blameless. But a better defense behind him would have prevented that runner.
The next batter chopped a ball to Pablo Sandoval, who couldn’t make the tough barehanded play. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Sandoval’s defense since he’s been back. He’s not going to be a Gold Glove finalist again, but he’s more than capable at third if his bat keeps him in the lineup. Still, it was a play that you want your third baseman to make more than he doesn’t.
Blach allowed the weak contact, but his whole brand is allowing contact, and contact isn’t always a good thing, so he isn’t blameless. But a better defense behind him would have prevented that runner.
These are the runs you don’t notice if the plays are made. Darren Lewis swoops in and snags the liner to center, and you think, heck yes, that’s just what he does. Christian Arroyo fields the chopper, no problem, and you’re raving about his defensive potential at third. At the end of the game, the Giants win, 3-2, and this whole recap is about Ty Blach being six kinds of awesome, even if he was the same pitcher in both scenarios.
Blach’s ERA is creeping toward 5.00 again, which is a bit of a wet blanket. He was one of the better stories of the season, and still is in some respects, but he’s a pitch-to-contact pitcher with a few iffy defenders behind him. In some of the games, the ball will find Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik. In some games, it won’t. The only thing the Giants can do is built a team like the 1993 Giants, in which everyone on the field was a Gold Glove candidate, with only one exception. Blach would rule on that team.
On this team, though, he’ll be up and down, with strings of quality starts and strings of defective starts. He’s not Mark Buehrle because no one is, really, and he needs every ball to be caught. And when they aren’t, the Giants lose, 4-3.
Brandon Crawford roping pitches to the opposite field is all that I care about, really.
The Giants’ uniforms were an abomination, and the stupid nicknames were almost entirely half-assed. I hope MLB has a warehouse filled with 488 “Cricky” jerseys that they can’t sell.
At least the Diamondbacks’ jerseys weren’t so ugly this time.
If we’re looking for positives, though, note that Kyle Crick came in to clean up another Josh Osich mess, and he left the inherited runners to rot. The good news this season was Blach and Buster Posey. I think we can add Crick soon. Though I’m not sure if that means we have to ditch Blach. Will check the by-laws in a bit. But I still like Blach, so I’m pushing to keep him.
Crick will be a big part of next year’s bullpen. In a way, it’s like the emergence of Derek Law last year, which allowed us to dream of a future with a homegrown bullpen of doom.
I’m sorry. I’m in a dark place.
Two of the Giants’ highlights in this game:
- Nick Hundley stopped between second and third base to force a cutoff throw, making sure that Pablo Sandoval scored on his double.
- Brandon Crawford recklessly ran to third on a grounder in front of him, and the Diamondbacks didn’t attempt to throw him out. In the next at-bat, he scored on an error.
Those are the reasons the Giants were even close. I respect the hell out of that, even if it makes me roll my eyes at the same time.