After a week of getting dominated, the Giants turned things around and dominated a team. During their six-game losing streak, the Giants had issues striking out and hitting the ball hard. Today, they only struck out seven times (three of those in the last two innings) and they hit the ball hard all-day long. They should have scored more than five runs. They maybe should have given up more than zero. But they definitely should have scored more based solely on how hard they hit the ball.
Still, the longest losing streak since June 19, 2017 is over. I guess that isn’t that long ago. The one before that was… July 22, 2016? Boy, this team sure hasn’t been good for a while, huh?
One of the main reasons I like Statcast is that it validates my belief that life is unfair and if there is a higher power, it’s actively working against my favorite baseball team: the Chicago Cubs.
Also the Giants.
Here are the exit velocities and hit probabilities of the three barreled balls the Giants hit in the first inning:
102 MPH, 83%
108 MPH, 73%
101 MPH, 84%
None of them fell in for hits of course. The odds that none of them were a hit were 0.7%. The first five Giants hitters all put the ball in play at speeds greater than 96 MPH and none of them got a hit. This was cosmic justice for those bloops and broken bat hits that fell in Atlanta.
It wasn’t even that the Pirates were making amazing defensive plays. Aside from Starling Marte’s sliding catch to rob Pablo Sandoval of an RBI, everything was hit right at the defense. With how vulnerable Ivan Nova looked in the first couple innings, it seemed inevitable the Giants would eventually get to him.
The Giants had eight balls hit at 100+ MPH that went for outs. If they had somehow lost this game, I don’t know what else they were supposed to do. In Philly, the strikeouts were a major problem. Well, they didn’t strike out today, at least against Nova, and they torched the ball more often than not and they still got shutout through five innings.
Finally, in the sixth inning, Gorkys Hernandez hit a ball over the fence to score the first run of the game. Even then, Corey Dickerson still almost caught it. It became evident that the only way they could score was to hit dingers.
They did manage to score one run on a non-dinger from Brandon Crawford, who had three hits on the day. But the big hit of the day shouldn’t have been a hit. Nick Hundley hit a three-run homer that had a 5% hit probability. At that point in the game, Andrew McCutchen had barreled the ball twice and hit the ball to the warning track the other time and he went 0 for 3. Nick Hundley hit a lazy fly ball and got three runs out of it.
Every writer who has written one of those “Baseball is broken because there are fewer balls in play” articles should watch this game. Maybe then they’ll realize why putting the ball in play is stupid.
I think baseball is better without the DH. I like pitcher dingers and improbable hits and Barry Zito drag bunting in Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS. But if the NL adopted the DH tomorrow, I’d be all for it. Why? Because I would never have to watch the 2018 Giants pitchers try to bunt.
In the third inning, Derek Holland struck out trying to bunt. I don’t know how many times the Giants have done that this season, but it seems like it happens once a game.
As bad as he was at bunting, Derek Holland looked sharp on the mound. The changeup was effective down in the zone and the fastball was lively. He gave up a few hard-hit balls, and he walked five. But he managed to pitch out of trouble when he got into it. I’m sure the Pirates were just as frustrated that they couldn’t get the big hit against Holland, but to Holland’s credit, he made good pitches when he needed to.
He pitched like that kid in high school who never went to class but still got A’s on all his tests.
It perhaps wasn’t the most convincing scoreless six innings I’ve ever seen. With the way things have been going, though, I’m not going to look too deeply into the red flags (all the walks) or warning signs (all the grooved pitches). Holland was great today, dang it.
My only complaint about the Mother’s Day uniforms is that they don’t go too far enough. The pink and black hats look great on their own, but when they’re paired with normal uniforms, they look out of place.
It’s especially noticeable on the umpire uniforms. Home plate umpire, Phil Cuzzi, wore a pink face mask and a pink hat but a normal baby shirt. Somebody give that man a pink shirt.
And switch out the secondary colors on the uniforms for pink. And don’t stop there. Give me solid pink unis, pink belts, pink pants. Make the ball pink. Make the chalk lines pink. Make the bases pink.
Also, photoshop the player portraits on the jumbotron to make them look like moms. They can do it for Star Wars Day, Game of Thrones night, and Metallica night. Why not Mother’s Day?