This is definitely one of those games where you’re not as grateful the Giants won as you are they didn’t lose. If they lost, that meant the Dodgers would have won, and that would have been a great victory for them. Coming from behind in the late innings after their champion had been slandered by an invader would have been a moral victory for them. It would have been just enough to knock the Dodgers out of whatever funk is currently plaguing them and propel them to their first World Series championship since Ronald Reagan was in office.
The Giants didn’t need this win. This doesn’t fundamentally alter their postseason projections. The Dodgers did need this. They tried to solve their bullpen problems by sticking Kenta Maeda in the bullpen and the Giants still took the lead against him. The Giants didn’t take this victory for themselves so much as they took it away from the Dodgers. That’s just as good.
Usually when the Giants get involved in a kerfluffle involving Yasiel Puig, it goes like this: A Giant (possibly Madison Bumgarner) barks at Yasiel Puig for smiling or something, Puig goes, “lol wut?” and then the Giant yells more loudly and then everyone runs out and they all kind of gently shove each other.
This brawl didn’t really go like that. Puig slapped his bat after fouling off a pitch, Nick Hundley said something.
Yasiel Puig (via interpreter): “(Hundley) told me to stop complaining and step back in the box ... he just kept coming after me and kept complaining. I wasn’t going to let them disrespect our house.”— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 15, 2018
At which point, Puig got upset and got in Hundley’s face. Puig pushed Hundley, the Dodgers first base coach came in and grabbed Hundley around the collar and spun him to the ground, and Puig tried to punch to Hundley.
Puig got ejected. Makes sense. He shoved Hundley and tried to punch him.
Hundley also got ejected. Doesn’t really make sense. Hundley never touched anyone though he would if no one were restraining him. The reason for Hundley’s ejection must have been what he said because he didn’t do anything to further the physicality. The umpires apparently bought into the “He started it,” argument.
Hey, for once, the Giants aren’t the ones coming out looking like idiots.
The Dodgers, of course, tied the game after the benches cleared. Sam Dyson came in to pitch the eighth inning and he looked unimpressive. He got very lucky that Justin Turner didn’t tie the game immediately with a home run. Instead, Turner tied it when Manny Machado knocked him in with a base hit.
The Dodgers were going to tie this game even before the brawl. There’s no way the Giants were going to hang onto a 1-0 lead. Not after that Astros series. It’s a bit of a miracle the Giants even made it to the eighth without allowing a run.
Going into the top of the second, I was stunned the Dodgers hadn’t scored. Somehow, Andrew Suárez made it through the inning without allowing a Dodger to cross home plate. I’m not sure how he did because I’m pretty sure he gave up a home run to Justin Turner, but I guess it was just a double.
When he walked Matt Kemp to load the bases, I was certain the only other possible outcome in that situation was for Kemp to hit a three-run dinger. If Suárez didn’t walk him on four pitches, Kemp was going to hit it 500 feet even though Kemp hasn’t gotten a hit since the All-Star break. Okay, maybe that’s hyperbole. He’s hitting .162/.234/.279 with a wRC+ of 37 since the All-Star break.
Somehow, though, Suárez got three whole outs and made it through the first inning unscathed. After the first, Suárez pitched well? That can’t be right. He looked so shaky in the first inning, and he’s been shaky for his last few starts. Surely, he was about to crumble into dust before our very eyes but no. He pitched just fine after the first. There were a couple moments where I thought the Dodgers were going to tear him apart like jackals—after Turner’s bloop double, Brian Dozier lining out to the warning track, Kemp lining out to the warning track—but no. Suárez pitched like the Suárez of yore. And by yore, I mean May and June.
He finished six innings with four strikeouts and three walks. Incredibly, he allowed just two hits despite the Dodgers hitting the crap out of the ball all night. He threw just 59 percent strikes, but his fastball velocity looked better than it had. He topped out at 93 and averaged 92 on the night.
Andrew Suárez also got a hit! I was ready to write a paragraph dragging Manny Machado for his ability to play shortstop (because -17 DRS at short this year), but then Machado made a nice, barehanded play to throw out McCutchen immediately after he failed to throw out Suárez.
I suppose I’ll instead laud Suárez’s hitting ability. And really, when you remember that Suárez hadn’t batted regularly since the eighth grade, it’s impressive that he doesn’t shriek in terror when the ball is thrown at him. I also haven’t batted regularly since about the eighth grade, and if I faced a major league fastball, I would collapse in a heap. The fact that he doesn’t immediately scream and run the other direction and instead tries to hit the ball is a testament to his athletic prowess. He can hit, folks.
Tonight was an argument for robot umps. The strike zone tonight was so nebulous and abstract that I’m beginning the think the “strikes” are just the friends we made along the way. That contrived, shoe-horned joke makes more sense than Eric Cooper’s strike zone.
The tops and bottom of the zone were fine but anything on the inside or outside edge were basically a coin flip. It didn’t really impact the outcome of the game, but it definitely took away from the aesthetic of it. It’s not fun to watch a wonky strike zone because you can never tell what’s good or not. It all just seems random.
Also, Alen Hanson knocked in 100 percent of the Giants’ runs tonight, and it’s not fair that he has been relegated to the final section of the recap. I suppose that’s just what happens when a grown man tries to punch another grown man. I want to believe in Alen Hanson. I want to believe that his success this year isn’t all BABIP because he’s so very fun.
Oh, and Brandon Belt got into the game and scored the winning run. Welcome back, Brandon Belt!