Going into the bottom of the 7th, the Giants were down 4-0, and at that point, the title of the recap was “Giants do nothing right, lose.” They looked lifeless on offense and they looked awful on defense. Taijuan Walker had shut the Giants down for six innings, and other than a failed third inning rally where the Giants, in very Giants fashion, were unable to score a run after getting runners on second and third base with no one out, the Giants never really threatened against him. On top of that, Pablo Sandoval was leading off the bottom of the 7th, and he hasn’t looked like a major league player since 2014. Friends, it was not looking good.
But it was the night of the 1997 Giants reunion, and after noted good luck charm Kirk Rueter sang Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch, it was Sandoval who got things started. He hit an opposite field double to left center with a very Old Panda swing, roping a ball on the outer half of the plate into the gap. Then Jarrett Parker lined a ball hard off the right field wall, scoring Sandoval, and Hunter Pence crushed a homer to left. Just like that, it was a one run game, and the Giants offense looked kind of like a major league offense.
The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the 8th, with Buster Posey driving in Kelby Tomlinson on a double play ball. They won it in the 10th, with Denard Span leading the inning off with a double to right. After an automatic walk to Kelby Tomlinson, Brandon Crawford hit into a double play, moving Span to third, and he ended up scoring on a Jarrett Parker infield single that would have been a regular groundout if the Diamondbacks hadn’t done the standard lefty infield shift, but oh well, guys, tough luck, feel bad for you, lotta sympathy for a team seeing their moves not work out this year. Coming back from 4 runs down to win is the biggest Giants comeback this year, and it’s something to celebrate.
The 2017 Giants offense hasn’t done a great job of showing up this year, so it’s tempting to give them the credit for the win. After all, they scored five runs tonight, which is a satisfactory number of runs. But we shouldn’t overlook what the bullpen did too. In five innings, the bullpen gave up just one unearned run, which came after Brandon Crawford bobbled a ground ball that could have been a double play.
Kyle Crick ended up pitching two innings, giving up just that one run, which is even more impressive because in the top of the 7th, Hunter Pence and Denard Span both lost a fly ball to deep right-center that should have been a fly out. It was ruled as a triple and it would have absolutely not been Kyle Crick’s fault if JD Martinez, having just been gifted third base with one out, had come in to score. But Crick didn’t let it happen, getting a pop up from Daniel Descalso and a fly out from Ketel Marte. At the time, with the Giants down four runs, it didn’t feel like an important moment, but as it turns out, it was a key to the game.
After that, Cory Gearrin pitched one completely uneventful inning, Sam Dyson did his best Brian Wilson impression, loading the bases with two outs before getting out of the inning without letting any of them score, and finally Hunter Strickland overcame a leadoff walk to strand pinch runner/good dude Gregor Blanco at third. They weren’t infallible — no one after Crick had a strikeout — but they didn’t break, and they were a big part of the win.
If last year is anything to go on, I’ve doomed the bullpen tomorrow by praising them tonight, but joke’s on you, baseball gods, it literally doesn’t matter at all.
YOU IN MID-MARCH: If it’s not too much to ask, I really just wish I could see a sample lineup from a game in early August to get an idea of how the season will turn out
Giants tonight: Span CF, Jones 1B, Crawford SS, Sandoval 3B, Parker LF, Pence RF, Panik 2B, Hundley C, Stratton RHP— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 5, 2017
YOU IN MID-MARCH: I have multiple questions.
YOU TODAY: Don’t worry about Posey. It’s just a rest day.
YOU IN MID-MARCH: I still have multiple questions.
Chris Stratton started off the game by giving up a bloop double, a walk, and a hit by pitch in order to load the bases for Paul Goldschmidt, which many observers at the time noted was not a great idea. In what can only be described as a realistic best case scenario, Stratton induced a line out sac fly to Denard Span, got an out at home on a Jake Lamb RBI double, and then struck out a somehow-hitting-sixth-for-a-playoff-team Daniel Descalso to limit the damage to two runs. With five excellent, dangerous hitters at the top of the Diamondbacks lineup, two runs was a moral victory for Stratton, and something to feel good about.
Stratton never looked fantastic, and was lucky to only give up two earned runs, but he kept the Giants in the game, which is satisfying enough that the prospect of his next start is not necessarily dreadful. He benefited from a great catch from Jarrett Parker in the second inning and a bad third base coach send/good relay in the first, and there were several other well hit balls that found gloves, but he was not actively dreadful, which is an improvement over some of the starts we’ve seen this year.
I feel like The 2017 Giants: Sometimes Not Actively Dreadful is a solid slogan, but I’m not a marketing person.
The video doesn’t have a perfect angle to compare, but you can tell about where Jake Lamb was when Crawford released the ball, and the play was similar enough, so let’s just be clear about this: