Baseball is a strange game, but you probably don’t need me to tell you that. It’s also a beautiful game, at least when the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. Offer not valid otherwise.
Baseball is a strange game because in the first inning, with a runner on and one out, Buster Posey took this pitch (No. 5) that was a very clear ball four, but instead had it called strike two, and so you cursed the ump.
And then on the next pitch he did this:
And then, two pitches later, Wilmer Flores did the same thing.
I’m including the video that has both homers so you can watch Posey’s again, because I know you want to.
Come for the Buster homer in his first at-bat, stay for Wilmer going back-to-back. pic.twitter.com/dGZyprEISx— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 20, 2021
Suddenly you weren’t so mad at the ump for the egregious call. How would the baseball butterfly effect play out had Posey drawn a walk? Would Flores hit a three-run home run, or would he have pressed tried to single in a run and hit into a double play?
We both know the answer.
Baseball is a strange game because in the bottom half of the inning, a batter after Max Muncy had destroyed the existence not just of a baseball, but of every other baseball that baseball had ever known, Kevin Gausman appeared to throw ball four to Justin Turner, only it was called a strike, and you smiled.
And on the next pitch Turner hit a home run and suddenly the Giants lead was only 3-2.
Baseball is a strange game because the Giants and Dodgers played for damn near four hours, and there was really no good reason for them to do that. And it’s a strange game because the Giants never trailed, and after Posey — the third hitter of the game — made his return plate appearance, the Giants were never even tied, yet it felt like an awful, horrid, cursed game until the seventh inning, when the Giants finally broke through with a four-spot to turn an insufficient lead into a nice one.
A four-run spot that included a pair of hits with runners in scoring position (a double by Thairo Estrada and a single by Austin Slater), as well as a nice piece of lefty-on-lefty hitting by Jason Vosler, resulting in a sacrifice fly.
It’s days and outcomes like this that really make you love baseball. The correlation between beating LA and loving baseball is so very strong. I might have to look into it. It wasn’t feeling that way when Jimmie Sherfy entered for the Dodgers and promptly shut down a Giants rally attempt.
Anyway, the point that I’ve been meaning to make, even though I haven’t gotten around to trying to make it yet, is this: remember early in the season, when the Giants rotation was going 7 innings deep in every game, and it felt unsustainable, and you knew that when it ceased to be an everyday thing, the Giants would likely fall off a bit?
Their ace, Kevin Gausman, labored through three innings, needing 80 pitches to get there. He simply didn’t have it, even though he dug deep on more than one pivotal occasion.
But he gave way to Zack Littell, who didn’t allow a hit. And Littell gave way to Jarlin García, who didn’t allow a hit or a walk. And García gave way to Dominic Leone, who didn’t allow a hit or a walk. And Leone gave way to Jay Jackson who didn’t allow a hit or a walk. And Jackson gave way to Jake McGee who gave up a measly single.
And the Giants won 7-2. They need just one more win in their next three games to leave LA atop the NL West.
They should get greedy.