[Editor’s note: Doug did his job and wrote this before today’s “game”, but it wasn’t published until now because of the early morning start time.]
It’s Monday, and you know what that means!
YOU: Yesterday was Sunday. Tomorrow is Tuesday.
Yes, exactly. And also, it’s time to recap the last week of Giants baseball!
The Giants had a very good week! They took a series from the division-leading Dodgers, and then went on the road and took two out of three in Cincinnati, which over the last few years has been a house of horrors for them. If you were looking forward to this week last Sunday night, there’s absolutely no chance you thought they could do better than 4-2, and you’d have probably been thrilled with 3-3. The team did what it needed to do against The Once And Future Puigs, and we can all be thankful for it.
Most of all, the Giants did a lot of great work to get the taste of that godawful Yankees series out of our mouths. Thanks, guys!
Most memorable thing that happened: The 8-run comeback in Cincinnati
I mean, duh.
The Giants were down 8-0 practically immediately, and as much as some of that can be blamed on Great American Ball Park being a clown car of a stadium, Tyler Beede also did not pitch well in his first start in the majors this year. It was a dispiriting “Well, that’s over” feeling by the third inning in Cincinnati, where the Giants have seen a lot of dispiriting games be over in the third inning.
And then, the game...wasn’t over? Instead of the game being dispiriting, it was...inspiring? Look, this is uncharted territory for the since-2016 Giants, and I’m not totally sure how to react to this. The Giants scored multiple runs in the 4th, 6th, and 8th innings before Stephen Vogt dramatically tied it up in the 9th, and we’re all here anyway, so let’s take a look at that:
The best part, as always, is the catcher’s reaction.
Evan Longoria ended up winning the game with an 11th inning homer of his own, but this game was the kind of fun slugfest that the Giants haven’t played or won for several years now. It was their first 8 run comeback in 30 years, and it was the most shocking Giants win in recent memory.
It was, I declare, a Good Game.
Best win: May 3, 12-11 over the Reds
I mean, duh.
Second best win, since I already talked extensively talked about the best win: May 1, 2-1 over the Dodgers
If you thought that I wouldn’t find a way to talk about at least one of the two games the Giants won over the Dodgers this week, then buddy, you don’t understand how much I enjoy uncritically pandering to my audience.
Here are some of the things that happened in this game that made it so fun: the Giants beat the Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner looked like an ace again, the Giants won, Buster Posey had a walk-off single, the Dodgers lost, Reyes Moronta worked through a single and error to strike out the side in the 7th, the Dodgers lost to the Giants, the Giants walked off on the Dodgers, and the Dodgers, instead of winning, lost. To the Giants. Who won.
This was a game that gave us hope that the Giants could look respectable this year. Bumgarner was fantastic and looked like the old Madison Bumgarner, sluttering and FFFFFFFing his way through a terrifying Dodgers lineup. Posey was the hero, scoring Steven Duggar on a line single to left field. Duggar, the one promising young hitter the Giants have in the majors, went 3 for 4 off Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Urias, two tough lefties. Moronta was typically delightful. Other than consistent offensive performances from most of the lineup, this game had it all!
Okay, that sounds like negging, but I promise it was actually a compliment.
Worst loss: April 30, 10-3 to the Dodgers
The Giants lost a stinker in Cincinnati too, falling 9-2 on Saturday, but in that one, there was still the glow of the massive comeback the night before. Tuesday’s loss to the Dodgers was just worthless, an absolute waste of time against the one team who you desperately want the Giants to show up against. Ty Blach let the game get extremely out of hand in the 6th inning, when he gave up 6 runs, and after that the game was mostly just embarrassing. Against the Dodgers.
Man, good thing the Giants won that series, or this one would have been even worse.
MVP: Steven Duggar
Duggar hit .526 this week, and while almost all of those hits were singles, they were still hits. A 10-for-19 week isn’t something to quibble with, especially combined with Duggar’s typically duggarian defense. He also got the first hit in yesterday’s game to break up the no-hitter Luis Castillo took into the 6th and he singled and scored the winning run in the 9th on Wednesday. He had a legitimately excellent week on both sides of the ball.
There were, for once, multiple offensive stars this week, so props also go to Stephen Vogt for his great game on Friday, and Buster Posey and Evan Longoria, who both showed signs of getting going, which would be an extremely welcome development. But Duggar was the one who made outs less than half the time he came up to the plate, so Duggar gets this extremely coveted award.
LVP: Dereck Rodriguez
It was mostly between Rodriguez and Blach for this one, and the tiebreaker is that it matters that Rodriguez isn’t good this year. Blach isn’t really a core part of this team and he’s not going to be, but Dereck Rodriguez was the most promising rookie from 2018, one of the few things the team hoped to build around, and he’s not having a whole lot of success in 2019. No, he wasn’t going to have a sub-3 ERA again, but right now his ERA is at 5.75 and his FIP is at 6.11, numbers which just won’t work.
For a team whose majors-ready starting pitching depth has gotten injured (Andrew Suarez) or hit around a bit (Tyler Beede, also considered in this category), or is still a question mark (Shaun Anderson), Rodriguez taking a step back is a pretty big blow.
The Giants can be worth watching. That hasn’t been a given so far this year, and it won’t necessarily be one through September, but for this week, the Giants played baseball like a team that deserved your time. They were a lot of fun, and since we all follow them for fun, that works out pretty well.