I also added an anecdote: the Giants are 26th in BABIP on the year.
All of that led to a natural conclusion: even if the Giants don’t start putting together better at-bats, the offense should get substantially better, simply by virtue of continuing to exist but not continuing to have such bad luck.
It was more of the same on Saturday, but even with variance and fortune not shining down on them, the Giants put together enough good at-bats to beat the Rockies 4-3.
But the good process, bad results plate appearances sure were on display.
In the bottom of the first, Tommy La Stella singled and Mike Yastrzemski walked. It meant there was a runner in scoring position with no outs. Alex Dickerson stepped in, and promptly hit a line drive with a 100.7 mph exit velocity and a .630 expected batting average.
It was caught. The Giants would not score in the inning.
Two innings later, La Stella was once again on second base with no outs, this time courtesy of a double.
Yastrzemski proceeded to hit a line drive with an exit velocity of 106.8 mph, and a .670 expected batting average.
It, too, was caught.
It was at that time that I tweeted the following:
Maybe if the Giants stopped hitting the ball so hard they'd have some good results.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) April 10, 2021
About 20 seconds later, Dickerson hit a ball 59.4 mph.
45 baseballs were put into play on Saturday. Dickerson’s was the 44th-fastest.
It also was an RBI single that scored La Stella and gave the Giants the lead.
The Rockies tied things an inning later, and in the fourth inning Ryan McMahon hit a two-run dinger to give Colorado a 3-1 lead.
So let’s talk about hard hit balls again. Remember those exit velocities and expected batting averages that led to nothing?
They weren’t alone.
Mauricio Dubón hit a ball 104.7 mph, with a .770 expected batting average, and another ball 101.1 mph, with a .750 expected batting average. Evan Longoria hit one 100.4 mph, with an expected batting average of .610.
They all resulted in outs.
On the day, the Giants hit six balls with an exit velocity exceeding 100 mph. Five of those six were outs.
Here’s the sixth:
That’s two straight days with an absolute scorcher of a go-ahead hit for Brandon Crawford, and it was the first three-run dinger of the year for the Giants.
And it was all they needed.
Well, that and a bloop from Dickerson. The Giants scored all of their runs on the second-hardest and second-softest balls in play on Saturday.
Logan Webb took the mound for the second time this year, and had the start that he seems to always have, which is to say it was exciting, made you optimistic about his future, and wasn’t good.
He gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 earned runs — all higher tallies than he allowed over the entire spring — in just 5 innings, and a lot of the contact was loud. He also struck out 6 and had some legitimately eye-popping pitches.
I’m struggling to remember a Webb outing that didn’t feel like this one. He always seems to leave you with reasons to think he’ll be good, while acknowledging that he certainly isn’t there yet.
The bullpen, however, was extremely good. Caleb Baragar, Reyes Moronta, Tyler Rogers, and Jake McGee each pitched a scoreless inning, with only two baserunners — a walk by Baragar and a single off of Rogers — keeping them from perfection.
McGee once again looked unhittable, and I think the last time I felt this comfortable with a Giants closer was 2015. It’s a nice feeling. My heart appreciates it.
During the first series of the year, Buster Posey reminded us why we missed him with a duet of dingers.
And on Saturday, he reminded us of another way we missed him, with a duet of ain’t havin’ its.
Look at these beauties, and remember that Webb and Baragar are emphatically not pitchers who help their catchers out here.
The location on those throws could not have been better if Posey had walked it up there. That is not hyperbole. If either throw is an inch in any direction, I’m pretty sure the runners are safe.
Posey had no margin to work with given his pitchers’ slow releases, so his only option was to put the baseball on the sliding limbs.
He did exactly that.
In 2020, 2019, and 2018, the Giants recorded their second series win in the eighth series of the year. In 2017 they did so in their ninth series.
This year it only took until the third series.
And they even get a chance at a sweep.
Thanks for a good Saturday, Giants. I take back everything bad I ever said about you.