After tonight’s game, I am very much into every ballpark installing on-deck boxes built out of bulletproof glass. They’d be like the compartments on the Popemobile but instead of protecting from assassins (although they wouldn’t not protect from assassins), they would prevent any more humans from being struck by line drives in the noggin. I bring this up because Charlie Blackmon took a line drive off the helmet while he on-deck during an Antonio Senzatela at-bat.
It’s extremely lucky that it hit him in the helmet. If the ball hit six inches lower, it would have hit him in the face. I made some dumb jokes about Popemobiles in that first paragraph, but seriously: It could have killed him. Blackmon was standing well away from the on-deck circle, but the circle is still in the path of line drives. Something needs to be to protect hitters because there’s nothing Blackmon could have done. Maybe not Popemobile capsules but maybe a screen. At the very least make it a requirement to be on the opposite side of the batter.
Earlier today, I wrote about how the Giants are the only team that doesn’t have a 20-homer hitter. Don’t be too hard on them. Hitting dingers is hard. It’s quite possibly the hardest thing in sports. It shouldn’t be physically possible to even make contact with a pitch that’s traveling faster than 90 MPH let alone clubbing it 400 feet. Furthermore, most of the Giants seem like nice boys who are trying their best, and—oh what the actual hell? Trevor Story hit a ball over the bleachers and he fell down while he swung.
This wasn’t a wall scraper. He hit the dang thing over the bleachers. Jeremy “Tom Waits” Affeldt commented that it probably bounced into the player’s parking lot, and it wasn’t hyperbole. I like to believe that it landed on Matt Holliday’s car.
It’s hard to think of a way to screw up harder than falling down in the middle of a swing. Story did that and still achieved the best possible outcome. Giants not named Aramís García have struggled to hit dingers for a decade and a half, and dudes are just stumbling into dingers. Charlie Blackmon was nearly wiped off the face of the earth, and he almost hit a dinger on the first pitch he saw. Shohei Ohtani found out he needs Tommy John today, and he hit two dingers tonight.
Story also hit another home run—his 30th—in his next at-bat. This time he didn’t fall down, and the ball went 505 feet. He hit Todd Helton’s Food Restaurant or whatever that is. The guy who got the ball was in the process of buying popcorn so who knows?
I ordinarily wouldn’t embed video of an opponent’s dinger for the purpose of oohing and ahhing, but goodness, look at this thing.
Not only is that the longest home run of the season, it’s the longest of the Statcast era. One of the things that I like about Statcast is that when someone says a home run went 500 feet there’s proof. I’ve heard people say a ball went 500 feet a bunch of times, but they’ve always felt like big fish stories. Whoo boy, I tell you, that sucker went 500 feet. The lasers and radar say so.
Story also hit another home run, and this isn’t me accidentally leaving in an extra copy + paste although that feels like something I would do. Story hit three dingers tonight. All of them came off Andrew Suárez.
I don’t know how many times a batter has hit three homers off the same pitcher in a game before, but I’m going to assume that’s usually not how it happens. Usually, if a guy is giving up a bunch of dingers, everyone else in the lineup is hitting, too. The pitcher doesn’t get an opportunity to give up a third dinger to a dude because he gets taken out before that. But that wasn’t the case tonight. Suárez pitched fairly well to everyone not named Trevor Story which allowed him to face Story a third time.
If you’re wondering, the Giants haven’t had a player hit three dingers in a game since Jarrett Parker hit three against the A’s in September of 2016. The Giants have had just one player have a multi-homer game in 2018, and that was Evan Longoria back in May. Before that, Brandon Belt and Madison Bumgarner did it during the first week of the 2017 season. The Giants lost all three of those games.
I briefly mentioned that Aramís García hasn’t struggled to hit dingers, and that’s because he hit his second tonight.
It went about half the distance as Story’s second tater, but it went over the fence on the fly so it’s a home run by the rules of baseball. One of my remaining hopes for the 2018 season is that García demonstrates that he can be an effective back-up catcher for 2019. I know September stats don’t mean a whole lot—Buster Posey had an OPS of .235 in September of 2009—but it would be a lot more fun to watch García mash dingers.
I had mostly checked out of the game as it went into the ninth, but then I noticed García would lead off. So it was very cool that Bruce Bochy pinch hit him for Gregor Blanco. Blanco figures to be an integral part of the 2019 Giants, and he also needs to show what he can do and get his reps in. Frankly, with the platoon advantage, Blanco gave the Giants a much better chance to win this very important game.
Alas, Blanco did not help the Giants win this game. If he had, the Giants would have doubled their win-total in Coors Field from last year. Maybe next year they’ll win two games in Colorado.