You ever have one of those days where life comes at you so fast you can’t keep up with everything? Who am I kidding, it’s 2018, that’s every day. But today was that for Giants-related things.
We got a trade for breakfast, the Giants and Cardinals exchanged blows and scored all the runs, now we’re onto voting Brandon Belt into the All Star Game again and it’s like the trade happened a week ago.
I had almost forgotten that Madison Bumgarner started this nearly four hour game, but he did. There were also two MLB debuts and a Giants debut. There were two balls that got hit into the water. There were also two injuries. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it.
Pablo Sandoval was the hero of the day. Sandoval was 0-for-2 in his first two at bats, but he ultimately went 3-for-5 with three runs and five RBI. Including this mammoth three-run homer in the fifth that ended up in the water (but wasn’t technically a splash hit):
Sandoval was also, unfortunately, one of the injuries. He had some stellar defensive plays in this game, but rolled his thumb on a force out play in the fourth. This was before the home run, however, and he played the rest of the game. But afterwards it was announced that he had sprained his thumb.
If I sprained my thumb I would be a huge baby about it and this guy toughs it out and goes 3-for-3 the rest of the game. Athletes, man.
Sandoval was hardly the only player to have a big day, though. Andrew McCutchen was 3-for-6 with nothing to show for it, Belt had two hits, two runs, two walks and a RBI, Alen Hanson was 3-for-5 with two runs and a RBI. Buster Posey had two runs and no hits, which is always fun. He reached on an error and walked.
Gorkys Hernández had two hits and two RBI before exiting the game with calf tightness (which brought in Derek Holland: Pinch Runner - though we sadly didn’t get to see any actual running).
So, how did it happen?
Well, the game started off like any other. Bumgarner and Flaherty both had scoreless first innings. Then Bumgarner gave up a home run in the second to Yairo Muñoz - who he was unable to get out the entire game. Muñoz would score three of the four runs Bumgarner allowed, the other two in the fourth inning when the Cardinals tied the game at 3-3 after the Giants rallied for three runs in the third.
Bumgarner allowed one more run in the fifth, this time to Harrison Bader who he hit with a pitch. Bader would then steal second and score on a single to retake the lead for the Cardinals. But that wouldn’t matter for long, because Sandoval’s home run came in the following inning to give the Giants an 8-4 lead.
A lead they piled onto in the sixth, and they would ultimately need those runs.
Steven Duggar, making his first MLB start today, had been 0-for-2 before the sixth inning, but recorded his first hit in the form of a double to lead off the inning, and he is fast. He channeled his inner Angel Pagan as his helmet flew off while rounding first base. He was thinking three bases, too, but decided against it. A wise move, as he would have been out by plenty, even after Tommy Pham fumbled the ball initially. Duggar would go 2-for-6 for the day with a run scored.
That run came, once again, from Pablo Sandoval who lined a ball into left field, scoring both Duggar and Posey, after Posey and Belt walked (Belt intentionally so). Hanson hit a single to Pham, who again, dropped the ball and allowed Belt to score.
I should probably point out that Greg Holland was pitching the sixth inning. Yes, that Greg Holland. He hasn’t been quite the lights out reliever he was in Kansas City this year and today, he had nothing.
Hernández hit a single to right that scored Sandoval and Hanson, one that should have been a double but this is when he left the game with his injury, he was ultimately replaced by Hunter Pence in left field. The Giants scored five runs in the sixth to take an 11-4 lead and it still felt like it wasn’t enough.
That feeling was a bit of foreshadowing for Ray Black’s Major League debut. Black, who was part of the moves made this morning, threw the ball hard. His fastball consistently hit 98-100 mph, with his slider topping out in the high-80s. The problem was that he had zero command. Which wasn’t helped by a strange strike zone:
Ray Black isn't getting much help from O'Nora here: pic.twitter.com/wCm5qBdgoC— Julie Parker (@insidethepark3r) July 8, 2018
Brian O’Nora had been calling wide strikes, but... /shrugs shoulders and gestures at above images.
Anyway, Black walked his first two batters, got Francisco Peña to pop up to Belt who made an impressive running catch to medium-depth right field. Then Black gave up a three-run homer into the cove to Matt Carpenter. Which is...not an ideal way to debut.
Tony Watson came in to shut it down, and the Giants came back out in the bottom of the eighth and scored two more runs on an error by short stop Paul DeJong with Pence batting and reaching second on the error. Chase d’Arnaud made his Giants debut in this inning as well, but flied out to CF on the second pitch he saw. Duggar also got his second hit, beating out an infield single. Have I mentioned how fast he is?
It was great to see the Giants remember how to score more than two runs. It felt a bit like they’d been told they could only score 25 runs this week so they tried to ration them out over the first six games. Then they found out that they don’t roll over at the end of the week, so here we go.
And as much fun as watching them score 13 runs is, I’d also really like it if they could score, like, five and get a win. The fact that they pretty much needed 13 runs due to the pitching is not exactly a feel good highlight of this game.
That said, Bumgarner had a bad game and he got roughed up for it. But for once, his team picked him up and decided to score all of the runs. That’s got to feel good for Bumgarner, who has essentially become the new Matt Cain, in terms of not getting run support.
The Giants went 2-5 this week and are sitting at two games over .500 and tied with the Rockies for third place in the NL West. Though, fortunately, it is the NL West and that means that the Giants are only four games out of first place.
Unfortunately, they will be playing the Cubs and A’s before they reach the All Star Break next week. These are two teams that have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games. Hopefully they continue their trend of playing up/down to their competition. A couple more series wins before the All Star break would be really helpful.