At the very least, this game was over with quickly. The Giants may have lost, but it only took them 2 hours and 25 minutes to do it. Last night, the Dodgers lost a nine-inning game against a team ahead of them in the Wild Card race, and it took them 4 hours and 10 minutes. Depending on your commute, the Giants may have lost before you even got home, affording you a whole evening to do with what you will. Work on your novel. Make a nice risotto. Watch meaningful baseball played by teams other than the San Francisco Giants. You can do anything!
If you really must know how this game turned out, I’ll tell you all you need to know.
Chris Stratton looked pretty good, Austin Slater had two hits, and a Giant hit the ball over the fence in fair territory. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
That’s all you need to know. Nothing else will give you encouragement or tell you anything about this team that you don’t already know.
In regard to the homer: In the first inning, Evan Longoria, whose OPS had fallen below .700 hit a big boy, two-run dinger. Longoria’s was the first home run a Giant had hit since Andrew McCutchen’s game-tying homer last Wednesday against the Dodgers. That home run gave the Giants two whole runs which matches or surpasses their total runs scored in three of the last four games. And it happened in one swing of the bat. I haven’t run the numbers, but I suspect the Giants’ offense would be better if they hit more of these little guys.
Back on May 18, I wrote an article titled, “Will a Giant finally hit 30 home runs this year?” The answer to that is “lol no you idiot.” In that article, I
calculated guessed that Longoria, who had hit 8, was on pace for 27 dingers. Tonight’s was his 13th. He missed two months with a broken hand, so even if he had maintained his pace he wouldn’t have hit 25 let alone 30. Still, this was just his second home run since coming back from the DL on July 26.
Chris Stratton made his second start since July 3. In his last start, he gave up six runs in three innings, but he looked much more impressive tonight. Here is where I’m supposed to add the caveat that it was against the Mets. True, the Mets are a lousy team (see: last night), but they’ve scored over 10 runs seven times including a 24-run rout of the Phillies. They can and will torch bad pitching. They employ Jeff McNeil after all. They just don’t most of the time.
Stratton, though, looked pretty good. Reports are that Ryan Vogelsong helped him fix a mechanical flaw in his delivery. It’s a nice story for Forever Giant to help out a Current Giant, but don’t the Giants have pitching coaches for this sort of thing? It’s great that Vogelsong noticed what was up with Stratton, but why didn’t Curt Young, Matt Herges, and the AAA coaches notice anything?
Maybe I’m just being cynical and/or forgetting that that pitching is really, really, really ridiculously hard, but it’s a little frustrating to watch Stratton, who had so much breakout potential, to flail for most of the season just to have someone who is not employed by the team say, “Keep your front shoulder tucked in,”* and apparently fix him.
*Or something like that.
I suppose I’m being too hard on the pitching coaches. It’s hard to say one way or another if the pitching coaches have done a good job, but if I had to guess, I’d say they’ve had a positive impact. Dereck Rodríguez and Andrew Suárez have both performed above expectations. Derek Holland is having one of his best seasons. The bullpen as a whole has helped the team win more than they’ve made them lose, Tony Watson’s rough outing notwithstanding.
It’s hard to win when the offense doesn’t score more than two runs. Just ask Jacob DeGrom.
With the Giants’ season all but over, one of the things that is giving me life is the low-key shade the broadcast team has been throwing. Usually, it’s directed at the players. Last night, when the Giants blew a situation with two runners in scoring position, and Jon Miller said, “You could have grounded out twice and scored two runs.”
Tonight, as the camera showed the Mets’ broadcast team, David B. Flemming said, “Ron Darling, Gary Cohen, one of the great broadcast teams in all of baseball.” Pregnant pause. “And Keith Hernandez.” Clearly, this tacit omission is most-likely a reference to Keith Hernandez bloviating a defense of Jose Urena drilling Ronald Acuña Jr. for being good at baseball. What Urena did is closer to assault with a deadly weapon than anything related to the game of baseball. What Hernandez said is dumb as all hell. Now, Flemming can’t come out and drag one of his peers, but he can drop the subtle clue: These two guys are great. This guy isn’t.
I don’t know when I’ll get used to the automatic intentional walk, but it apparently hasn’t happened yet. Somehow, I missed the intentional walk before Michael Conforto’s dinger so I was very surprised when the two-run homer gave the Mets three runs. It was a very fitting development for this team. Even when the Giants manage a two-run homer, the other team will hit one of their own and it’s worth more.