There were a couple of shocking bits of news from last night’s opener:
ESPN: #Dodgers vs #SFGiants yesterday had 2 million viewers, most for regular-season weekday game in six years.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 30, 2018
Which means MLB schedulers were incredibly wise to make these teams face each other 10 times in the first 33 days of the season... right?
The other bit was that Josh Osich, fresh off a strong Spring Training performance and a return to an old pitching form, pitched a scoreless inning in Dodger Stadium with the game on the line. He got Corey Seager to fly out and struck out Yasiel Puig and Cody Bellinger around a walk to Enrique Hernandez. Why should any of that matter beyond it helped the Giants win the game?
Because it supports the flimsy idea that Osich has turned a corner... maybe. Let me show you what I mean:
Osich pitched the sixth inning last night. Here’s career line in the sixth (sample size 10.2 innings over 22 games) is 11 hits — 7 of which are doubles — in 56 plate appearances with 13 walks and 13 strikeouts; and, 22 earned runs allowed for an 18.56 ERA.
Coming into last night’s matchup, Corey Seager had 5 hits in 12 career plate appearances against Osich, one of them being a home run. Cody Bellinger was 1 for 3 with a double and no strikeouts. Yasiel Puig was hitless in two plate appearances with only a walk, no strikeouts.
With a runner on first base and only one out, for his career (72 PA), he had allowed 9 doubles and walked 11. Osich has been worse than the average pitcher in high leverage situations. The Dodgers had also bounced back from their terrible 2016 as a team against left handed pitchers to simply demolish either handedness last season, so that really can’t be the reason behind what we saw last night. Blach and Watson were simply dominant -- but so, too, was Osich.
We saw a glimpse of last season’s Osich with the wild pitch he threw to Bellinger, but he recovered with a really nice pitch on the corner. He’s always had interesting stuff and has always made you scratch your head wondering why he can’t string some of his talent together for long stretches.
It took a remarkable spring and a paucity of better options in the Giants organization for Osich to get this perhaps last shot and to see him come through on a big stage with the team inching towards desperation is the stuff baseball seasons are made of, so why not take this moment to appreciate that it happened?