I’ll be honest. I was kind of hoping the Giants would lose. I know some of you reading this can’t bear rooting against the Giants until they’re mathematically eliminated from the postseason. Some of you can’t do it regardless of the context. Good for you. I don’t mean that sarcastically either. Good for you. That’s a good way to fan.
I used to be like you. I had tickets to Game 6 of the 2010 World Series, but that doesn’t mean that I was upset when Edgar Renteria hit the home run. As I’ve gotten older, however, I have just grown meaner and more spiteful. The only thing I want out of this season is for the Dodgers to miss the playoffs. For that to happen, the Diamondbacks need to win as many games as possible. If that means the Giants losing a couple games, so be it.
Despite the outcome, I’m not exactly upset. There was a lot to be happy about in this game which has not been the case in an otherwise miserable August. Steven Duggar hit a dinger. Austin Slater doubled. Brandon Crawford did Brandon Crawford things. And Chris Stratton, Ryan Vogelsong whisperee, pitched eight shutout innings. Regarding 2019, and the three hours of baseball we just watched, these are unequivocally good things.
In the second inning, with a runner on first, the Giants put the overshift on for Alex Avila. It didn’t seem so weird until Avila grounded to Crawford and because Crawford was out of position, there was no one to cover second for the double play. I had never seen this before, and Mike Krukow had certainly never seen this before. The disgust in his voice was palpable. I was ready t to agree with him, but then I remembered that Patrick Corbin was on deck. Had the next batter not been the pitcher, I don’t think the Giants would have shifted that way. They didn’t need the double play to get out of the inning, so they put themselves in the best position to ensure Avila made an out.
The drawback is that Stratton potentially had to throw more pitches, but Stratton was unfazed. Through the first time through the order, Stratton struggled a bit, but he settled in as the game went on. Stratton had more command of his fastball than we saw when things were going poorly. When he missed with his breaking pitches, he missed away from the plate where nothing bad could happen to it.
Stratton became the second Giant to throw eight full innings this season. The other is, of course, Madison Bumgarner who did it last week and two other times. Dereck Rodríguez hasn’t done this. Andrew Suárez hasn’t done this. Johnny Cueto didn’t do this even in his excellent April. Stratton’s season hasn’t gone according to plan (he was supposed to break out and lead the league in ERA), but starts like this give hope for the future.
Tonight’s game marked the sixth time Patrick Corbin has started against the Giants this season. Corbin is having a career year, and one has to wonder whether that’s because he has figured something out (throw his really good slider more often) or if he’s just pitched a lot of innings against the Giants.
Against all other opponents, Corbin has a 3.42 ERA in 129 innings. Including the Giants, he had a 3.17 ERA in 161 2/3 innings before tonight’s game. So mostly it’s the former, but he’s been good against the Giants.
The Giants luckily didn’t have to face Clayton Kershaw six times this year, but facing Corbin this many times isn’t exactly easy. It’s hard to face a bad pitcher six times, but couldn’t the Giants face Bryan Mitchell three or four times a year? Why is it always a lefty with some unhittable breaking pitch?
Steven Duggar was not impressed, though. Duggar hit his second home run of the season (and against the Diamondbacks). It didn’t make it to McCovey Cove, but it made it over the Willie Mays wall. If you grade on a curve, it was a splash hit, dang it.
The Diamondbacks didn’t have to pitch to Duggar. With two outs, they could have walked him and pitched to Stratton. If the Diamondbacks dare to disrespect
Doublin’ Dingerin’ Duggar, this is what’s supposed to happen.
Dingers are great because—and bear with me here—they let you score runs without stringing six singles together. The Giants were outhit tonight 5-4, yet they won because one of their hits was a “home run.” According to Baseball Reference’s Play Index, this is just the fourth game this year in which the Giants had four or fewer hits and won. The first was the first game of the season. The third was yesterday. The Giants are on a three-game winning streak, and they have eight hits in the last two games.
Brandon Crawford is Good: Volume CCXII
Brandon Crawford doing Brandon Crawford things. pic.twitter.com/cc9dFisaoW— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 28, 2018
“Never ceases to amaze” is a cliché, but there’s truth in every cliché. Brandon Crawford still finds ways to astound and flabbergast, which is incredible considering he works within the genre of “fielding ground balls and throwing them to first.” Who would have known that there are so many different ways to scoop an orb out of the dirt and hurl it 150 feet?
On Effectively Wild recently, Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan interviewed Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. They asked him about the “aging curve” for musicians and artists, and Gibbard’s answer was essentially that it’s easier to write when you’re younger because you everything you do is new. When you get older, you find that you’ve written this song before.
Crawford is still coming up with new ways to amaze. He’s still writing new songs, and guess what? They’re bangers.