The Giants have won three games in a row. Mac Williamson has now hit three home runs since Friday. Brandon Belt has hit a home run in five of the last six games he’s played. Read that back, let it sink in, and imagine reading those sentiments to yourself a week ago.
What a difference a week can make. A bit of new (returning) blood in the lineup, a few right handed pitchers to get Belt going, and a shot of adrenaline to an offense that has been leaving their over-performing pitching staff high and dry, and that’s a recipe for some small sample size success. I’ll take it.
Of course the Giants wouldn’t be the Giants if they relied on the long ball entirely for their offense, with Joe Panik scoring their first run on a wild pitch with bases loaded in the first. After that, though, it was sweet, sweet dingers. With Panik on again in the third, Brandon Belt smacked one into the right field arcade.
Not to be outdone, Williamson sent one to the kale garden in the sixth. You know, after he scared the living daylights out of everyone watching this game.
In the top of the fifth, with Bryce Harper at the plate, Williamson chased a pop up over on the third base line. And like many others, fell victim to the bullpen mound, falling head-first into the low padded wall. I screamed, Harper gasped, the crowd held its breath. It looked like everyone’s worst nightmare, based on how he rolled his head, and I think many people immediately feared a neck injury or worse.
Personal Opinion Time: As much fun as it is to sit down in those sections and watch the pitchers warm up right in front of you, it really does seem as though the bullpen mounds on the field cause more damage than they are worth. It seems as though at least once a year, if not more, a player goes to catch a foul ball and injures themselves by tripping over the mound, in some fashion.
And while they sent Williamson back out after that, and he hit the big game-winning home run, who knows what could come of this collision. So that’s something to keep an eye on, but I’ll remain hopeful.
Before the game, it was mentioned that Ty Blach only really ever gets one run of support. It was also mentioned that Tanner Roark has ownage on the Giants. (To which I replied “IN THE REGULAR SEASON!” like a good Giants fan.)
Like most things the broadcasters point out before and during the game, this quickly changed. Blach was given three runs to work with, but ultimately gave them back quickly on a three-run homer to Michael A. Taylor in the fourth.
However, Roark, who averaged a 1.00 ERA against the Giants going into this game, gave up three runs even before that. In fact, it didn’t seem like Roark was fooling anyone tonight. The Giants, who’ve been prone to many strike outs lately, only struck out four times and got on base early and often. Roark gave up six hits, all four runs, two walks, had two wild pitches and hit Evan Longoria with a breaking ball that didn’t break (and thankfully didn’t break him)
Blach only ended up going five innings, allowed four hits, three runs, two walks and got three strike outs. After that, though, the bullpen impressed. Even Hunter Strickland, who made his third appearance in the last three games and had a three-up, three-down ninth.
Reyes Moronta continues to be an underrated key to this bullpen, pitching two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Sam Dyson came in to pitch the eighth, giving up a one out double to Howie Kendrick and intentionally walking Harper before getting Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a double play to end the inning. No drama. No, sir. Not with this bullpen. Not tonight, anyway.
I just want to go back to Brandon Belt for a minute. With all the well-deserved hype about what Williamson has been doing, I do feel like Belt’s incredibly impressive week is flying a bit under the radar.
He is having a career week. As mentioned above, he hit five home runs in the last six games he’s played in. He once hit three in a row, in a series against Cincinnati in May of 2015. However, the closest he’s come to this many in one week before now was five home runs in eight games to start the 2014 season.
So, while Williamson was the hero tonight and deserves that credit, I just think it needs saying that Brandon Belt is doing something special.