The Giants beat Miami 6-3 Monday night, in a series that is getting uglier by the day.
It started off innocently enough. Buster Posey kicked off the game with a first inning solo shot. It was a no-doubter, as he sent that ball on a glorious, 420 foot ride to left center field.
Then in the top of the second, with runners at second and third, Dereck Rodriguez hit Lewis Brinson to load the bases, and was immediately warned. They were all warned. We were warned. Your cat was warned.
Some will surmise that this was in retaliation for Evan Longoria’s broken hand from last Thursday’s game, which makes no sense because they played yesterday and if they wanted to be stupid and hit someone, they could have done so then.
No, this felt more like it was about Hunter Strickland who threw at Brinson’s head last night before getting bested in the at-bat. Strickland didn’t like how Brinson was all “happy” about being “good as his job.” So he went and broke his own hand. And Rodriguez decided to plunk Brinson for...reasons? I guess as a sign of solidarity for his fallen teammate who could not be with us tonight because he BROKE HIS OWN HAND.
Anyway, they got out of the jam, but Don Mattingly apparently warned Buster Posey that he was next. More on that later.
Alen Hanson hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of the inning, then Gorkys Hernández couldn't let Buster hit a home run without hitting one of his own, because it’s in his contract that he has to stay ahead of him to stay on the team. His was hit to nearly the same location, this one scoring two runs to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
Then the shenanigans continued. Just in case you forgot where we’re at in the saga:
To recap: Strickland threw a 95 mph fastball at Brinson's head. Brinson, a rookie, got a big base hit and celebrated "too much," according to the Giants. Strickland hit a door. The Giants hit Brinson.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 20, 2018
Good, now we’re all on the same page.
As promised by Don Mattingly, Buster Posey was hit by pitch in his next at bat. With warnings still in effect for both teams, Dan Straily was ejected. That wasn’t good enough for Bruce Bochy, however, who either heard what Mattingly said to Posey or was informed after the fact. So he stormed out, yelling at the umpires and Mattingly, and ultimately getting Mattingly ejected as well.
Bochy would later clarify that he was mad because the teams should have been even when Rodriguez hit Brinson. Because things weren’t dumb enough already.
Both teams are guilty at this point and I don’t care who started it, it’s stupid, it’s dangerous, and it’s bad for your baseball team. Throwing baseballs at people is dumb. Baseballs are thrown incredibly hard. Baseballs break bones. Baseballs break brains. There’s absolutely no reason to add more injury risk into a game that has enough of it already.
This game was already long and full of stupidity. And now it was a bullpen game for Miami, with a five minute delay so that Elieser Hernandez could warm up, and eventually the game resumed. Andrew McCutchen hit a single to load the bases for Brandon Belt with one out.
Hernandez wasn’t even supposed to BE here, and he definitely didn’t get enough time to warm up for what essentially became a start, but he walked Belt to give up a run to make it 4-0. Pablo Sandoval hit into a double play to end the inning. The second inning. Nearly an hour after the game started.
Starlin Castro singled off the glove of Joe Panik to start the fourth, followed by a single to Miguel Rojas to advance Castro to third. JT RIddle hit a triple to the alley, scoring both runners, as the wheels started to fly off for Dereck Rodriguez.
Brinson was up again with no outs and more warnings were issued, but he struck out. So did Hernandez. Derek Dietrich came up with two out and a runner on third and was hit by a pitch. Wellll, kind of. Posey thought he leaned into it and I would agree, but the umpire disagreed, but also didn’t think it was on purpose so Rodriguez was not ejected. Brian Anderson hit a double, scoring Riddle to bring the Marlins within one run. And it felt like the ninth inning of last night’s game all over again.
It's like Strickland is here in spirit.— Julie Parker (@insidethepark3r) June 20, 2018
Except that Rodriguez ended up getting out of it before giving up the lead. A novel concept.
Sandoval and Mac Williamson walked to start the bottom of the fifth. This brought up Hanson who hit a double to right field off the glove of Brian Anderson. Sandoval had to hold up because it looked like it would be caught, but got the go ahead to run home. The throw was off line so he slid in safely, but Williamson only made it to third.
The fiery hot Gorkys Hernández came up and hit a....single? I’m not sure what to call that. Four Marlins convened on the ball in shallow center field and none of them caught it. Williamson scores to give the Giants a 6-3 lead.
Mine Mine Mine...or maybe not...— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 20, 2018
6-3 Giants pic.twitter.com/LAiIVaNT2Q
Mark Melancon pitched the seventh, walking one, and received some clutch assistance from his outfielders with McCutchen and Hernández making fantastic diving plays on hard contact for all three outs.
Will Smith entered for the eighth and had the most drama-free inning of the night, with two strike outs and an impressive defensive showing from Hanson, who made a great catch at short stop before throwing to Belt who made an impressive pick for the catch.
Smith continues to be the Giants’ most reliable arm in the pen.
Of course I wrote that before the Giants left him in to pitch the ninth and he issued a lead off walk that should have been a strikeout by rights. Because this is the Marlins and the game could not end without at least SOME fear of losing the lead. He struck out Derek Dietrich (for the hat trick) before he was pulled for Sam Dyson, who got the double play to end the game. Never in doubt.
Listen, I’m glad the Giants won. The way in which they won was fun! That wasn’t supposed to rhyme but we’re going to go with it.
I know I rant a lot about this issue, because I find the unwritten rules of payback and being the toughest guy who never has fun doing his job because he plays the game the right way to be dumb. It’s a game, and if a batter bests you in battle, you get them next time.
I mean, if the batter is moon-walking up the base-path giving you the middle finger, I can maybe see taking issue with the guy. But generally it’s just a player being happy about doing something helpful for their team. You could be happy too if you threw a better pitch. Better luck next time.
I find these endless battles of back and forth retaliation to be played out, harmful and just dumb. If you want payback, play better. End of story. And one of my childhood heroes agrees:
Showy?? It was a game winning hit. What was showy?? We watched Romo, Wilson and others be SHOWY on our side. Now, you get Buster hit. What’s next?? https://t.co/K2HMJWy0So— RichAurilia35 (@RichAurilia35) June 20, 2018
Lucky for us, we get another game of this series tomorrow. Will a player be literally decapitated by a four-seam fastball for playing the game the wrong way? Stay tuned to find out!