In the first inning of their Friday night game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants loaded the bases with no outs. The offense had scored 25 runs in their last three games, and you thought the wooden bat party was going to get started fashionably early.
They scored no runs.
In the second inning they put runners on second and third base with no outs, then loaded the bases with one out. Atonement! you declared while drunkenly marching around the house, thinking of Game of Thrones and wondering if that word actually meant what you thought it did.
They scored no runs.
That prompted me to tweet the following:
If the Giants win this game, these first two innings will be hilarious. If they lose....well.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) August 22, 2020
The Giants did win the game, 6-2, but it wasn’t hilarious. It wasn’t particularly funny at all, to be honest.
It turns out I’m not very good at understanding what’s funny, which is why I make a living blogging about sports, rather than cashing those sweet Netflix stand-up special checks.
While the first inning failure didn’t prove to be comedic in nature, it did end up being poetic.
Following a walk by Austin Slater, and singles by Donovan Solano and Mike Yastrzemski, Wilmer Flores entered the batter’s box with a prime opportunity before him. He struck out.
That brought up Evan Longoria, who had an equally prime opportunity to pick up his teammate. He grounded into an inning-ending double play.
But how did the Giants finally get on the board? With a two-run mammoth shot off the bat of Longoria, which was home run number 300 in his career. He’s just the 150th player in MLB history to reach that landmark.
And when the Diamondbacks tied it up in the next half inning, who was it that put the Giants back on top? Flores, with his own two-run shot, marking his third home run in as many games.
That was all the Giants needed, though they added two more runs in the seventh inning. Sometimes things just work out perfectly.
I mentioned in the series preview that Logan Webb’s season has been made up of bad starts with good results and good starts with bad results. Finally the two sides linked up, as Webb absolutely dealt and was rewarded with the results to match.
The young righty went seven innings deep, and didn’t walk a single batter. He struck out a career-high 8 batters, and gave up just 5 hits and 2 runs. It was stellar work, and he looked oh so comfortable alongside Joey Bart, who called a tremendous game and stole his pitcher more than a few strikes.
I apologize for repeating myself, but it’s worth noting that Webb is only 27 days older than Bart. Sure, he’s not as highly touted of a prospect — few people are — but it’s a reminder that there’s more than just one promising youngster on this roster who might be a part of the next great Giants team.
Speaking of Bart ... he picked up right where he left off. After a very hard-hit double in his debut on Thursday, he had another extremely hard-hit double against the DBacks, this time flashing the opposite-field power that he displayed in the preseason, and giving us hope that a right-handed Giant might one day find the water.
But Bart’s best plate appearance came in the seventh inning. With runners on second and third and one out, the DBacks elected to intentionally walk Alex Dickerson and bring Bart to the plate.
On the one hand, the reasoning was clear. They had an open base, and wanted to put the force play in effect. They had a right-handed pitcher on the mound in Junior Guerra, and wanted a handedness advantage.
But on the other hand, Bart has been putting together magnificent at-bats, had one of the hardest hits of the game, and Guerra had already allowed two hits. It as a pretty dangerous game to play.
If you’re Bart, it’s pretty easy to take it as a sign of disrespect. And, if you’re feeling disrespected while wanting to make a point in your second career game, you’re probably going to give yourself the greenest of lights.
But no. Bart took a seasoned, steady, patient at-bat. He spit on pitches just outside the zone, and calmly fouled off pitch after pitch. In all he worked 10 pitches out of Guerra, before finally drawing a walk, and earning his first career RBI.
It was simple but sensational. And while the double was more exciting, you could make a case that the walk provided more insight into just how special of a player Bart has the potential to be.
A few notes:
- Slater started the game, but came up lame while advancing to third in the first inning. He was immediately replaced by Darin Ruf. After the game, the Giants listed Slater as having a groin strain.
Austin Slater has a mild left groin strain. He'll be sent for an MRI tomorrow.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) August 22, 2020
- The Giants used three designated hitters in the game — Slater, Ruf, and Pablo Sandoval. That’s going to take some getting used to.
- Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers put together two scoreless, stress-free innings in relief. More of those, please.
- The Giants now have 19 home runs in 12 home games. Last year they had 63 in 81.
- They have a four-game winning streak. Keep. It. Up.
- I’m enjoying the Bart era.