Last season, the Giants didn’t score 10 or more runs in a game until June. Last season, the Giants won a total of 2 games by 9 or more runs and the first of those didn’t happen until June. Last season, the Giants never hit 4 home runs in a single game. In fact, it was a very big deal that the Giants could not hit a 3-run home run, and Pablo Sandoval blasted one in the fifth inning.
Blah blah, who cares about last season, right? Only, it has been the Giants’ intention all offseaon to make 2018 a stern rebuttal — nay, a rebuke -- of the 2017 season, and with so many of the same guys carrying over from last season, it would be impossible to ignore. Six games in, and the Giants are clearly better than they were last season.
That feels so good to type. It seemed so unlikely that they would ever be good again with this cast of characters. And only six games in, it does feel incredibly stupidto call this Giants team “good”, even if it is strictly limited to a comparison with last year’s team. Which, again, was really bad, and was was never above .500 and never again at .500 after the second flipping game of the season. They’ve split their first two series of the season, in fact... does that mean mission accomplished and this season is a success no matter what happens from here on out?
Let’s not think about tomorrow (which is an off day anyway), because what’s the point? The Giants were good today. They won 10-1 and hit four home runs. The Giants were good today. Even when they won 64 times last season, it never felt like you could even bother to say “The Giants were good today”. The Giants were designed to be exactly as good as they were today and the clunky design wound up producing a fun baseball game featuring our favorite team.
Let’s not think about tomorrow. The Giants won today.
They did it by loading the bases in the first inning somehow. Then, Pablo Sandoval, somehow, drew a 4-pitch walk off of Felix Hernandez to bring Joe Panik (who had led off the inning with a walk) home; King Felix then threw a wild pitch which got Brandon Belt home, and then gave up a sac fly to Brandon Crawford to score Buster Posey.
They did it by batting around in the fifth inning absolutely hammering Felix Hernandez and James Pazos in the fifth inning. Brandon Belt smashed a pitch to the opposite field bleachers; Pablo Sandoval chased bad pitches, laid off bad pitches, and spoiled others to get to a 3-2 count and a sure-fire fastball count and then absolutely unloaded on a weak cutter; Brandon Crawford smashed lefty Pazos’ breaking ball deep to right field.
They did it because Gorkys Hernandez homered.
After bringing in a bunch of new faces, it still wound up being last year’s players to have a breakout game against a lackluster team, but these same players rarely had a breakout game last season. The Giants planned to be better this season, and today the Giants were better.
Seriously, though, what year is it? Pablo Sandoval hit the 8th Splash Hit of his career to move him into a distant second place behind Barry Bonds on the Giants’ all-time leaderboard. But he was gone for two and a half seasons! And it’s a head-scratching baseball miracle to see him on any major league roster in 2018.
Also, Gorkys Hernandez hadn’t homered since 2016. What hell damn year is this?
Johnny Cueto tired out around 80 pitches, but he pitched like the crafty righty we know is in there and he made a great snap throw in the top of the fifth to get Jean Segura at first base. He’s allowed 1 run in 2 starts this season and has looked a lot more like his 2016 self than his blistered 2017. Of course the Giants need him to be good, but let’s just focus on the fact that when he’s pitching well, he’s just all the more charming.
I never want Tony Watson to stop mowing down hitters. He’s making it look easy with corner command and dropout pitches like his changeup and slurve; he won’t look this good in every appearance, but I’m already hooked any time he comes into a game.