Let’s start with an obvious disclaimer: I don’t know what constitutes “batting around.” Some people argue that the batter who led off the inning needs to bat a second time; others would aver that you simply need to send nine batters to the plate.
For the sake of narratives, let’s assume it’s the latter. But I have laid out the disclaimer, so now you can’t get mad at me if you disagree. Those are the rules.
The San Francisco Giants batted around in the first inning, and then they did it again in the second inning.
I don’t know how many times they’ve batted around in consecutive innings in their history, but I’m guessing it’s a number that resides on the same street as “very few” and “handful.” And I’m guessing most of those prior times resulted in a win.
This time it also resulted in a win.
“Hit a homer, throw a shutout” was a common refrain during Madison Bumgarner’s Giants days as an infallible recipe for winning. “Hit twice in the first two innings, throw a shutout” isn’t going to earn anyone a poet laureate nomination, but it’s equally accurate, and Anthony DeSclafani is living, breathing, DeSclafani-ing proof.
After striking out the side in order in the top of the first, DeSclafani took his spot on the bench and waited for the second inning. But his bat was called on before his arm, and while he struck out to end the inning, he did so with a four-run lead.
Then he handled business in the top of the second inning, again found his cozy reading chair in the dugout, again waited to re-take the mound, and again found himself trotting into the batter’s box first.
This time he grounded out to end the inning, and now it was a nine-run lead. A nine-run lead in the third inning is enough that you can get silly and probably still win, but DeSclafani instead treated it like a tied game. He carried a level of intensity that intimidated me even through the TV screen, and made me want to scrap my recap and offer to make him a cup of tea.
But it worked. And while the cynic in you can bemoan that the Giants squandered a complete game shutout on the one day when their bats peeked out from the dirt and realized that spring is here, just be thankful that it was a nearly perfect game on both sides.
The outcome was decided by the end of the second inning, and you got to just relax and watch DeSclafani pound the strike zone, keep Colorado Rockies hitters off balance, and allow a mere 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9, and facing just a single batter with runners in scoring position.
It was quiet dominance. Not overwhelming, but damn sure not lucky either (other than, uhh ... the quality of the opponent). And it was fun.
Buster Posey hit a home run. And when I say Buster Posey hit a home run, I mean Buster Posey hit a home run. Posey’s up to five dingers on the year now, which is as many as he had in 2018, and only two shy of his 2019 total. And if you have any fear that it’s just variance and sequencing, all you need to do is look at the swings.
Buster launches one out to center pic.twitter.com/0zezGVHuD2— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 27, 2021
Posey took a high fastball and easily cleared center field with it. His home runs this year have been as powerful as they have been gorgeous, and that’s good for about four squares on the “Buster Posey bounce-back 2021” bingo card.
Buster had 4 hits on the night (including a double), and it was his first quartet of hits since Aug. 10, 2018. Those hits were also more than the entire Rockies team, which is quite a feat, and one that Posey is not exactly unfamiliar with.
Today the @SFGiants' Buster Posey had 4 hits while catching Anthony DeSclafani's 3-hit shutout.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 27, 2021
This is the 8th time Posey has caught a shutout (CG or not) while having more hits himself than the entire opposing team. That's the most such games by any catcher in the modern era.
Buster Posey forever. Especially when he’s hitting like this.
Mauricio Dubón has been having a rough go of it to start the year, though he’s also been the most unlucky bat on the team by a sizable margin. So it was pretty great to see him have the second-inning hit that turned a comfortable lead into a blowout.
Dubi also had an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly and, with the Giants suffering so many injuries, looks destined for a bigger role in the coming days.
Evan Longoria had a very good day at the office. The kind of day that we should all strive to have at our respective offices. Longo is nursing a sore hamstring, but his bat has been good enough that the Giants put him in the lineup, and just asked him not to run.
He knocked in the first run of the game with a single in the first, then speed walked his way to third on a Posey double, before scoring on a Darin Ruf single. In the second inning he broke the game open with a two-run double that left his bat at 113.2 mph.
6-0 in the 2nd inning... didn't realize the game was at Coors Field tonight pic.twitter.com/AI2DV7YbSv— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 27, 2021
And then the Giants pinch-ran for him with Jason Vosler.
At that point he had been the biggest star for the Giants. And he got to clock out in the second inning because he’d already done enough to have the game feel secure.
I don’t know what the baseball writing version of that is, but I’d sure like to try it. If you find that tomorrow’s recap just ends abruptly in the middle of a sentence after 109 words and is published in the second inning, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to politely inform me that I’ve done something wrong.
When Vosler came in for Longoria, the Giants were down to just two bats on the bench. One of them was the backup catcher. I thought for sure we’d get to see a reliever hitting.
Guess you can’t win them all.