The Giants were mathematically and officially eliminated from playoff contention tonight with the Dodgers’ 8-2 win over the Colorado Rockies in Los Angeles. Practically, they were eliminated about two weeks ago, but tonight’s solid 4-2 win in San Diego really did soften the blow of that unfortunate math. They say character is what you do when nobody’s watching. Well, very few of us saw tonight’s game and the Giants still gave it their all.
There’s something to be said for putting forth maximum effort regardless of standing.
To that end, the Giants’ rookies were all over this game and, as a result, all over the Padres’ stock of rookies. For example...
Emergency first baseman Aramis Garcia drove in his 4th career RBI with a 2-out hit in the 4th inning, giving the Giants their 179th 2-out RBI of the season. It was on a bad slider from Bryan Mitchell and I say it was bad because it was at the knees and bad. Still, Mike Krukow said “it wasn’t a bad pitch... at the knees”.
Isn’t it weird how broadcasters almost always say it’s not a bad breaking ball when it’s not obviously in the middle of the plate, even as you’re watching a slow motion replay of a hitter’s eyes tracking the ball the entire time as they swing and make solid contact with the pitch?
Seems that’s usually the case because most color commenters are pitchers and pitchers can’t admit that pitchers make mistakes very often, but maybe it’s also part of this weird internalized notion that “worthy” hits are the ones made on tough pitches. I think it’s the mark of a good hitter when they can hit a pitch that should be hit. There are no guarantees at the plate — the shouldas are just as good as the couldas, man. Bad pitch or not, Aramis Garcia hit it, and hitting major league pitching is not easy.
To that point, the major league San Diego Padres struggled mightily against major league pitcher Andrew Suarez, because Andrew Suarez simply pitched a helluva game...
It was one of those “helluva game, kid” games that vets like to throw around out there. I know this because the retired veterans on the television broadcast were all but saying Andrew Suarez pitched a helluva game. All he did was be the best version of his 2018 self, mixing pitches, changing speeds, and changing eyelines effectively. As with any pitching in every outing, he might’ve gotten away with a few mistakes here and there, and on one occasion, he absolutely did not get away with it (more on that in a bit), but for the most part, he did what he wanted to do against an aggressive lineup that has tended to hit a little bit better versus lefties this season.
Watch this three-pitch sequence in the 8th inning to see what I mean:
That’s Francisco Mejia, the top catching prospect in all of Major League Baseball (per MLB Pipeline), just ahead of Joey Bart, but ready to do damage. On Sunday, he hit a walk-off grand slam for the Padres to beat the Texas Rangers. It was his third career home run in only 11 games, and Andrew Suarez made him look like the rookie he is.
Shortly after this, Bruce Bochy pulled Suarez for Mark Melancon. That ruffled Suarez’s feathers and he lost his rookie cool in front of his Hall of Fame manager.
Suarez said he apologized to Bochy, thought he showed him up by throwing hands up when he was removed. Bochy didn’t mind, liked the competitiveness.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) September 18, 2018
Maybe we’ll never know what was said here This was the moment Suarez apologized to Bruce Bochy for visibly reacting to getting pulled for Mark Melancon with a runner on in the bottom of the 8th inning and after having only thrown 87 pitches: Whatever was said, it amused the hell out of the grizzled old bear.
Tonight was also the unofficial Battle of the Austins: Hedges vs. Slater. Hedges jumped ahead with this staggering home run:
It was his only hit of the night, but what a shot. Austin Slater went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts, so you’d think that would mean he’d have no shot off winning tonight’s Austin vs. Austin, but Hedges allowed two stolen bases by Giants baserunners, while Austin Slater did this:
Let Austin Slater pitch? pic.twitter.com/4G6oJ1IZzf— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) September 18, 2018
I’m gonna call tonight’s battle a draw.
The rookies weren’t the only highlights of tonight’s win. Besides a mammoth home run to right centerfield by Brandon Crawford that tied that game in the 4th, Evan Longoria did THIS:
That looks and feels like an old fashioned home run. Just the type of swing an old beer leaguer or depression era player would put on a ball.
Chris Shaw raised his batting average from oh-what-an-eyesore to .207 with a 3-for-3 night that saw him drive a ball to the opposite field with authority and pull a ball with the same power.