The pre-game news was that the Giants’ best player, Buster Posey, was out of the game because of ... [spins wheel] ... grayscale. Every player you enjoy will be struck down, and unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi, they will not become stronger than you can possibly imagine. So you’ll forgive me if I wasn’t too into the idea of a Monday night Padres-Giants game. Posey needed an MRI on his thumb, and I needed one on my heart.
Then Jeff Samardzija pitched about as well as he could have reasonably pitched.
And the Giants hit two dingers.
Okay, that was pretty fun.
The story of the night was clearly Samardzija. He cleared revocable waivers, which means two things:
- All 29 teams passed on the chance to open trade talks with the Giants, mostly because they didn’t want to take the minute chance that the Giants would just hand his full salary over.
- Because he cleared waivers, he could technically be traded before he makes his next start.
Now, I don’t want to read too much into either of those. Teams that are still interested in Samardzija would have (rightly) gambled that anyone else interested would have wanted to talk money with the Giants. Pay down X of his salary, and get prospect Y. And just because he can be traded, doesn’t mean he will be. He almost certainly won’t be.
But I have no idea how closely a player like Samardzija follows the ins and outs of revocable trade waivers and what his trade value is. I’m sure he has an agent who helps talk him through this stuff, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a brief conversation that goes something like this:
SAMARDZIJA: So ... what’s this thing on MLB Trade Rumors all about?
AGENT: Uh, well, all 29 teams had a chance to claim you and your contract, and, uh, all of them politely declined.
AGENT: And now you can be traded anywhere.
SAMARDZIJA: [eats entire gallon of Chunky Monkey in dark room]
I mean, I understand the context behind this, and it doesn’t mean that nobody wants Samardzija’s contract. And it doesn’t mean he’s going to be traded. But there had to have been a chance that he would have taken some of that to the mound.
Nope. He was outstanding. In Samardzija’s last start, he huffed and puffed through six effective innings, but he wasn’t dominant, and he wasn’t especially efficient. He had thrown six innings in each of his last three starts, and he had thrown just 6⅓ innings in the start before that. It seemed like the days of ol’ 7-inning Jeff were in the past. The season catches up with everyone, it does.
I would joke about Samardzija just needing to pitch against the Padres, except the Padres bludgeoned him in his last two starts — 12 earned runs in 10⅓ innings, and without looking, at least four of the three home runs he allowed were hit by Hector Sanchez. Don’t make fun of the Padres. Don’t look the Padres in the eyes. And, for pete’s sake, don’t let one of them bite you.
No, a shutout, any shutout, is a special, rare gift. This was just the second shutout from a Giants starter this year, and while I was prepared to complain about this, it turns out that even in the good years, this kind of game isn’t a common occurrence. There were three of them last year ... four of them the year before ... three of them in 2015 ... heck, the Giants didn’t even have one in 2007.
In this game, Samardzija allowed three hits, and one of them was a dipsy-doink to second base. It’s hard for him to mix power and command any better, and you can understand why the Giants aren’t exactly lighting up the phones to see how they can pay another team to take him.
We’ll see if I’m so giddy in five days, but for now, I’m happy the guy is on the team. Get him some better outfield play — hey, Span had a nice catch in the first to set the tone — and some better luck, and he’s fine.
I get a little pep in my step when the Giants make the Padres feel bad. And I’m glad Samardzija didn’t get slumpy shoulders when he found out that no one wanted him on waivers and he could be traded.
Brandon Crawford had two hits, which is one fewer than the Padres had. I’m too lazy to even find my last Crawford update to copy and paste, so I’ll just state the obvious: The Giants are better when Crawford hits, and his resurgence is the best part of August.
My stars, will this help the Giants, Crawford, and everyone feel better about everything over the winter.
Crawford is now tied for second-place on the Giants in home runs, and he extended his team lead in RBI.
I can’t think of a way to gracefully end this segment because that last sentence is making me blink a lot.
I could also get used to Joe Panik having a Randy Winn month.
That two-run homer swing pic.twitter.com/o6HpwI2X2m— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 29, 2017
That was the first homer this year from Panik with a runner on.
I can’t think of a way to gracefully end this segment because t
I can think of a graceful way to end the whole recap, though, and it goes like this:
Hell yeah, Jeff Samardzija. Good baseballing.