Brandon Crawford hit two doubles and a triple this afternoon, bringing his season totals to 20 and 2, respectively, and giving him 81 total hits for the season. He’s the starting shortstop for the National League in this year’s All-Star Game if we all do our part, and if he manages to hold up his rate of performance, he will break the single season doubles record for a shortstop in the entire history of the franchise.
Al Dark hit 41 doubles as recently as 1951 and Dave Bancroft also had 41 in 1922. Ah, yes. I remember watching those chaps play the great based balling game. They were stupendously talented, but neither as much as our Brandon Crawford. He absolutely crushed Matt Strahm’s fastball in the 4th inning to triple off the bricks in right field, and just two innings later shot Adam Cimber’s fastball into the left center field gap with ease.
Not great pitch location, but that’s the look of a hitter who’s locked in — eye right on that ball and swing perfectly timed. Cimber’s all ankles and elbows coming at you, so clearing that distraction to cause damage really shows the elevated level at which Crawford’s playing this season.
Crawford’s day wasn’t perfect, though, as he had trouble fielding a pop up in shallow center field (that one of the outfielders probably should’ve come in for instead) and had a throwing error to allow 2 runs in the 9th, and since both of those plays came at the end, it feels like they way a little more when, really, they don’t. The Giants still won the game thanks to him.
He still has a long way to go to have the single best season in Giants franchise history — he’s about 20 points away from both Jack Glasscock’s OPS+ of 147 way back in 1890 and Rich Aurilia’s 146 OPS+ in 2001 — but when it’s all said and done, there’s almost no question he will be the greatest Giants shortstop we’ll have seen in our lifetime.
I’m not sure if the Padres get under our skin just by being themselves or if it’s intentional, but whatever the reason, the Padres really do get under my and the Giants’ skin frequently and with ease.
In the bottom of the 7th, Phil Maton hung a slider right down the middle of the plate that Andrew McCutchen should’ve obliterated. Just... well... this is what should’ve happened:
Game 2 of the 1977 NLCS. Dusty Baker's grand slam got me to run out of my house and excitedly tell my dad what happened. Until then, I was a middling baseball fan. After that, I wasn't.https://t.co/m15mnuV443— Majority Opposition (@mattcarton) June 23, 2018
McCutchen let the pitch go by, which happens. Maybe he wasn’t expecting a hanging breaking ball in that spot. Maton backed up that bad pitch by throwing up and in to Andrew McCutchen, causing him to duck out of the way.
Well. Okay. Hmm. This Maton kid looked fresh out of high school anyway, so, maybe he just didn’t have his contr —
Nope. on the next pitch, he drilled Andrew McCutchen with a fastball up and in. Maton and the Padres have the plausible deniability of being a moribund, rudderless, terrible franchise whose pitchers have no control and everything they do sucks and is bad, but we are talking about baseball players here. I think the truly crafty shit genius approach would be to use the perception that you’re godawful to mess with people surreptitiously.
Their scheduled starting pitcher was to be Jordan Lyles, but right before first pitch, he was pulled and replaced with reliever/occasional opener Matt Strahm.
The Padres reported Lyles had forearm tightness just before the start of the game and the box score indicates that the Padres turned in a lineup card with him listed as the pitcher and Strahm literally replaced him on the official scorecard for the game itself and not before, so the idea the TV broadcast floated that this might’ve been some sort of gamesmanship by the Padres’ Andry Green doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny —
Andy Green spent a lot of time last night on MANaging, dominating the conversation of the game during a crucial stretch to halt a Giant threat, which was annoying not just because it was time consuming, but also because it worked. As Kenny noted in last night’s recap:
But then Andy Green took out Jose Castillo after he threw one pitch and now I’m thinking doing away bullpens all together. You get one pitcher. If he gets tired, your team forfeits. No more of this going lefty-righty-lefty-righty in June between two teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs.
So, if Green has decided to flex against Bruce Bochy and the Giants, what’s to stop him from scratching a probable starting pitcher just to fork with them? The Giants have a radically different lineup versus left-handed pitchers, Jordan Lyles is a right-handed pitcher... what better way to catch your reactionary opponent off guard than by pulling the ol’ switcheroo?
It would’ve been infuriating had the plan worked, but Green still MANaged to get 3 strong innings out of Strahm to give his team a chance to get to Andrew Suarez.
But Andrew Suarez seems to get better in some facet of his game with every start. He also pitches better at AT&T Park (37.1 innings, 13 earned runs allowed, 33:4 strikeouts to walks), so game planning for his inexperience is one thing, but expecting him to mess up as part of that plan is becoming a less viable option. Suarez induced 3 of the 4 double plays the Giants turned today, and all three came when the Padres started to put the pressure on him.
I like watching him work because he has a nice pace and in every start looks like he wants to use all of his pitches. In the first inning, he stayed away from Wil Myers, who was leading off, and went fastball, fastball, changeup, changeup, to get the swinging strikeout. He mixed in his slider with the fastball for the rest of the first and then in the 2nd inning brought in the curveball. He stayed away from it for most of the game afterwards, but in the same breath that I’m praising him for using all his pitches, allow me to praise him for sticking with what works.
Austin Slater was called up this morning to replace the struggling Mac Williamson but only in a bench role. Ordinarily, that’d be disappointing, but the Giants want to try out Alen Hanson in left for a while, which might not be the end of the world. In the meantime, Slater pinch hit in the 8th and smashed a sacrifice fly to right field that gave the Giants a 5-1 lead.
If Hunter Renfroe had been playing against a different team, he probably wouldn’t have run down that slicing liner off Slater’s bat so professionally and obnoxiously and it would’ve fallen for a double. As it stands, Slater came in and had a great at bat. He’s been crushing Triple-A for weeks now and it’s good to see he got a chance right away to demonstrate it’s not a mirage. Another not a mirage situation for the Giants:
Austin Slater got robbed of a double, but got a sac fly. That's the first pinch-hit RBI for a Giants outfielder this season.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 23, 2018
One more game against the Padres and then we won’t have to see them again until... the end of next month.