Well, as we reach the end of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Spring Training Yet Month and approach the beginning of Spring Training Is Here Month (which, of course, leads into I Can’t Believe It’s Still Spring Training Month), it’s time to review part of the 2017 Giants season that-
YOU: Haven’t you been negative enough lately?
No, no, look at the title! This is a fun thing. I mean, kinda. The results of the games were mostly not fun, but watching pitchers hit homers is always, always fun. So let’s get to it.
April 2, Madison Bumgarner vs Zack Greinke
April 2, Madison Bumgarner vs Andrew Chafin
Sadly, I couldn’t find separate videos of the two Bumgarner Opening Day dingers, so here’s one video with both of them. Back in our younger and more innocent days, the 2017 season seemed so full of promise. Nothing could symbolize this more than Madison Bumgarner homering off of Zack Greinke in his first AB of the year. “Ah look,” chuckled the smug Giants fan while eating sushi and drinking a lovely cabernet blend from Argentina, “Our ace just homered off of their ace. How droll!”
Greinke would leave the game after five decent but unspectacular innings, Bumgarner would stay in and give up three runs in the bottom of the 6th to allow Arizona to tie the game, and then up he came again in the top of the seventh, facing Andrew Chafin. He homered again, giving the Giants a one-run lead. It was a delightful, crazy, are you kidding me moment that came from the pitcher hitting his second no doubt homer of the day. Both dingers were majestic, and they’re individual moments that weren’t ruined by the Giants losing that day. It was the first time any pitcher had ever homered twice on Opening Day, and the second homer, as it turned out, was the pinnacle of the Giants season.
June 16, Jeff Samardzija vs Antonio Senzatela
Talk about Coors Field all you want, but this ball was absolutely crushed. It was a bomb to right center field, and it was measured at 446 feet, which is the longest distance that Statcast has ever recorded for a pitcher dinger. Samardzija drove in two on the homer, which turned out to be the only two runs he drove in all year. Samardzija would, however, end up giving up 8 runs that day, and the Giants lost the game 10-8.
But what a homer! (This “But what a homer!” in the face of another miserable 2017 Giants loss is the theme of this article, and it is brought to you by Trying To Stave Off Crippling Existential Ennui. Trying To Stave Off Crippling Existential Ennui: when you have crippling existential ennui, but you would like to stave it off. Get it today!)
August 3, Ty Blach vs Chris Smith
I imagine that when you leave the situation in the game out of it, the most satisfying kind of homer that a pitcher can hit is right after a guy is intentionally walked to get to him. Because imagine you’re that pitcher. It’s not even an insult, really. You’re a pitcher. The other guy isn’t. You’d walk the other guy to get to you too.
And then you ruin it by tying Duane Kuiper on the all time home run list. And you know what makes it even better? That intentional walk came in an 8-1 game. Play the game, you jerks. Even the Giants would have trouble blowing a 7-run lead. So this is a good time for your pitcher to gain valuable experience facing a tough major league hitter in Joe Panik. Instead, he got pantsed to complete a night where your whole team got pantsed. Good, I say. Good. And the ball was a no doubter too. It went out to dead center at night at AT&T Park, and that’s no small feat. Again I say: Good.
Of the four games in 2017 where a Giants pitcher homered, this was the only one that they won, by the way.
Maybe the sneaky best part of this one was a few days later. Jeff Samardzija hit a ball very well to center, after which he dropped his bat and started trotting, thinking the ball was going out. After the ball didn’t go out, that looked a bit silly, which meant that Ty Blach got to do this in response:
Dude’s got muscles.
September 3, Madison Bumgarner vs Luke Weaver
Headed for Berkeley! Headed for Mount Diablo! Man, what a great call. And it was a great homer too, majestic, soaring into the afternoon sky. It tied up a close game against the Cardinals, a team known for the very pleasant feeling that comes with embarrassing them. It was a sign that maybe the year hadn’t gone the way the team or fans wanted, but there would still be bright spots and things worth watching in such a lost season.
Then Bumgarner gave up three runs the next inning and the Giants went on to lose 7-3.
Still. Good moment.