The Giants completed another week of baseball, and good for them. Baseball is a hard game, and completing just one game is an accomplishment, much less six in a week. That’s why I’ve worked hard to give them a participation trophy, where by “participation” I mean “weekly recap” and by “trophy” I mean “They’re all a bunch of millennials who spent their childhoods receiving participation trophies they never asked for and so they don’t need more.” It’s not a very catchy phrase if you spell it all out, which is why I just stick with “participation trophy.”
Was this a good week? Reader, it was not. The Giants scored 20 runs and allowed 25; they lost two out of three in Washington, and then lost two out of three in Pittsburgh. If the Giants spend all year being bad like most of us expect, then this is the prototypical week: a couple wins, sure, but mostly losses that are technically close, but in practice uncompetitive, even if the Giants got the tying run to the plate in the ninth in a couple of them.
Most memorable thing that happened: The Giants lose the rain delay game on Cole Tucker’s first homer
Everyone knew the rain was coming. There was a ticking clock on how long this game could be played, and when Jung-ho Kang homered in the bottom of the 4th, it looked like an inevitable 1-0 loss. But did that happen? Compadre, it did not. The Giants managed a rally in the top of the 5th, with singles from Kevin Pillar, Derek Holland, and Steven Duggar plating a run.
“Ah ha,” thought the optimistic Giants fan. “Now it won’t be a definite loss. After the rain comes, we can wait until tomorrow to watch them blow this one!”
Alas, it was not to be. With two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the inning that had to be completed for the game to count, in his first game in the majors, Cole Tucker crushed a tiebreaking 2-run homer to center field. It was a special moment, not made any less special by the multiple hours of rain delay that followed before the game was actually called. If there’s one thing you’ll remember from this week, it’s that.
If there’s two, it’s Bochy and Belt getting ejected because of the garbage strike zone two days earlier in Washington, but there was a dramatic first homer, so sorry guys, but what are you gonna do?
Best win: April 16, 7-3 over the Nationals
Steven Strasburg was cruising. Through four innings, he’d allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out four. He’d even given his team the lead with a second inning RBI double off Dereck Rodriguez. It wasn’t impossible for the Giants to come back and win, but if we’re being honest here, that wasn’t the most likely scenario.
And then the not-most-likely scenario happened! Was it fun? Buddy, was it ever. In two innings against Strasburg, the Giants homered thrice, and then added on against Austen Williams, Matt Grace, and (naturally) Trevor Rosenthal. They were, for a game, a legitimate offense. As encouraging as Buster Posey’s homer in the other win was, the game against the Nationals made it seem like this is a team that can actually be much better than another team, rather than one that can occasionally eke out a squeaker.
Worst loss: April 19, 4-1 to the Pirates
The game was over after the first inning, when the Pirates scored four runs. Is that an exaggeration? Friend, it is not. The rest of it was a grueling 8-inning march from Moscow to Paris, with fans dropping to attrition the whole way. The way the Giants play, a 4-0 deficit might as well be a 40-0 deficit, and once Pittsburgh scored four times off Madison Bumgarner in the first inning, there was basically no reason to watch the rest of this game.
MVP: Dereck Rodriguez
Did Rodriguez pitch a lot of innings? My (gender-neutral) dude, he did not. In two starts, he went 10.2 innings, and since I’m a math guy, I can tell you that’s an average of 5.1 innings per start. In those 10.2 innings, though, he struck out 10, only gave up three runs, and the Giants (and Rodriguez) won both games. As you may have deduced after seeing their record, those two wins account for 100% of the games the Giants won during the week (sorry if this is getting a little numbers heavy; like I said, I’m a math guy).
Imagine if Rodriguez couldn’t hold a slim lead. Instead of last week being an unmemorable bore, it would have been a catastrophe. Obviously, credit also has to go to the bullpen, but if I could take the entire bullpen as the MVP, I would do that literally every week. In the absence of that option, I’l stick with Rodriguez, who pitched well and helped his team.
LVP: Joe Panik
In 20 plate appearances, Panik reached base three times. Is that good? Faithful McCovey Chronicles fan, it is not. Now, this wasn’t entirely his fault — there were a couple of memorable hard hit balls against the Pirates that just found gloves — but it’s also not good enough, and if we’re being honest here, Joe Panik’s been not good enough all year. His OPS on the season is sitting at a cool .478, and if you’re on the Solarte Squad, his is at .551, which is only preferable in the same way that you’d rather fall down 36 stairs than 37.
Second base has been a black hole all year, and both of the options on the roster have been a big part in that. If you’re wondering, at the end of this dismal week, what options there are, welp, would you look at that, section’s over, no more time for this one. Darn!
The Giants are a below average major league baseball team. Is this a surprise? To any Giants fan, it is not. This was a bad week, yes, but grading on a Giants curve, it was also a pretty normal one. Maybe if the pitching was a little better they could have gone 3-3, but you can’t expect pitching to carry you every game, especially on the road. This is the team we should have expected coming into the year. Sometimes you can predict ball.