Gorkys Hernández saw one pitch and propelled the Dodgers to within one game of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Considering that this game could have resulted in Steven Duggar popping his arm out of his socket, it’s not the worst thing that could have happened.
After shutting out the Diamondbacks for the second straight game, the Giants are now 11-7 against the Diamondbacks and 9-7 against the Dodgers. If, at the beginning of the season, you had known that the Giants would be a combined 20-14 against the two best teams in the division, you would think they would have a much better shot at the playoffs than they do.
The people have spoken and what they want is more Clay Buchholz. He’s the most requested pitcher to make a return, so he’s back for a limited time and while he’s here, he’s going to absolutely shut the Giants down.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, wait a second. I didn’t want this!” Well, that’s why it’s important to vote.
Clay Buchholz is back, and he matched Madison Bumgarner blow for blow tonight. I wasn’t prepared to ever write about Buchholz in serious capacity. For instance, I just learned that there are two H’s in his name. Right next to each other. You know who else had two consecutive H’s in their name? H.H. Holmes, the guy who had a murder palace on the south side of Chicago. Somehow, the H’s are the least unsettling thing about Buchholz.
He just has this look about him, you know?
If Clay Buchholz was an actor, he would be typecast as the guy who always has his shirt off and is dating the main character’s mom. If the show could afford the license, it would play “Welcome to the Jungle” every time he walked in the room, but they settle for “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings, so he’s no Chris Stratton, but he’s still pretty good. This was not the most dominant Bumgarner has ever been. Not by a long shot. His last start in New York was more convincing even with the home run he allowed.
Bumgarner got through tonight on guile and spite. He had to pitch himself out of trouble just about every inning, but he never gave in. The Diamondbacks went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, so yes, it does happen to other teams.
Bumgarner gave up his fair share of hard contact. In the sixth inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a ball at 111 MPH and a 21 degree launch angle. Per Statcast, 82% of balls hit that hard and at that angle go for home runs. The ones that don’t, go for doubles or triples. Goldschmidt got a single. I made some suggestions to alter AT&T Park earlier today, but now I’m thinking that it’s perfect the way it is.
My favorite part of this play was Goldschmidt visibly complaining to Brandon Belt about being held to a single. What did he expect from Belt? Sympathy?
Goldschmidt: Ah geez Louise, my dude. Can you believe that? I hit the tar outta that thing.
Goldschmidt: That ball would have been outta here anywhere else. And I, Paul Goldschmidt, just get a lousy single?
Goldschmidt: I bet some jamokes on Twitter are gonna say I’d hit more dingers if I changed my batting stance and didn’t strike out as much.
Belt: Okay, that’s a little too on the nose.
It wasn’t just AT&T that kept Goldschmidt to a single. Austin Slater played the carom perfectly and made a strong throw, and just as I typed that sentence Slater dropped a routine fly ball and then flying drop kicked the ball. Jon Jay made it all the way to third while Slater slipped and scooted around in left. The stakes were much lower, but this was not unlike Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez borking a ball around in left as Alex Gordon scampers around the bases. And like the most terrifying moment in my life, Madison Bumgarner pitched out of it.
Even though Slater nearly cost the Giants the game, he still saved it with the play to keep Goldschmidt at first. People won’t remember that because him kicking the ball is funny and because Steven Duggar upstaged him later in the game.
It apparently isn’t the kind of play that warrants a highlight, but Duggar had to range far to his left to cut off a ball hit into the gap and quickly get it back into the infield so Brandon Crawford could throw out Nick Ahmed at home. It’s been awhile since the Giants have had such competent centerfielder. The Twitter consensus is that the Giants haven’t had a centerfielder this good since Tsuyoshi Shinjo, but wait a second, wasn’t he a designated hitter???
Joe Panik very nearly had his first extra base hit since August 10, but he got thrown out trying for second. Nick Ahmed tagged Panik on the earflap, so if Panik had slid headfirst, he would have been safe. Also, if Panik had slid headfirst, he would have broken three of his fingers, and he can’t be going on the disabled list if he’s to finish out the year strong. Even if Panik’s OPS is—hold on a second, I just spit out my coffee from this morning—.644, I’m confident he’ll get things back on track. (Seven hells, he really isn’t walking or hitting for power is he?)
During the broadcast, Mike Krukow said, “They keep so many stats that everyone leads the league in something.” Well, Joe Panik leads the majors in contact rate (among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances). That has to count for something, right?