The San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday by a convincing score of 7-2 to sweep a two-game series. The concept of a two-game series is offensive, so let’s forget that part and just think about the sweep. Sweeps are good.
It was not an interesting game. Note that I said “interesting” and not “enjoyable.” It was definitely an enjoyable game. It was a very enjoyable game, assuming you root for the Giants.
It just wasn’t interesting.
They jumped out to a lead and held the lead, save for a very early hiccup. They rarely looked in danger of regurgitating their hard-earned lead, and even when they did it wasn’t particularly concerning. They didn’t allow for any theatrics.
Here, look at the win probability graph:
Forget that blip in the fourth inning that contradicts the narrative I’m running with. No one believes that blip. Fake news blip.
The Giants won in large part because they hit more home runs (4) than they allowed (0). This has been a solid equation for them that they’ve used repeatedly to jump out to the best record in baseball.
So let’s examine those home runs, because they sure were gorgeous, each and every damn one of them.
No, wait. Let’s examine the runs prior to the home runs, because they were also gorgeous, each and every damn one of them.
The Giants scored in the first inning, courtesy of a double by Brandon Crawford.
We’re 50 games away from the finish line, which means that the fears of Crawford having an extreme second-half regression that undoes his stellar first half are melting away by the day. You love to see it.
The Diamondbacks got that run back, so the Giants countered in the second with an RBI single by ... Kevin Gausman.
Gausman had two hits. Two hits! When was the last time a Giants pitcher had two hits? I’m not going to answer that question, because it’s not actually interesting enough to look up, so just mumble something about Madison Bumgarner and we’ll all move on.
OK, now we can talk about that quartet of long balls.
It was Buster Posey in the third inning. Remember that thing I said about Crawford and regression? Same thing with Posey. Every day — and every home run — brings us closer to this just being who he is and the season he’s having.
And Oracle Park oppo tacos by right-handed batters will never get old. Unless they’re hit by non-Giants batters. Then they get old fast.
An inning later it was LaMonte Wade Jr., with one of my favorite styles of home run: the off-the-outfielder dinger.
Baseball is so often a battle between pitcher and hitter. As a hitter you can disrespect the pitcher by spitting on their pitches and barreling up their hangers. But you don’t get to disrespect the position players that often. I relish the times when they get to.
Just look how mad Ketel Marte is! You’d be mad too if you just wasted energy running and jumping for a team that’s 45 games below .500.
Marte is going to have a tough time getting over this one pic.twitter.com/wKy7S7ee84— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 12, 2021
The Giants added one in the seventh when Crawford had his third hit of the day, bringing him a triple shy of the cycle. Remember my blurb about Crawford that I asked you to remember when talking about Posey? You can bring it up again here. We’re more than two-thirds of the way through the season and Crawford has the best batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage of his career, and it’s not even close.
And finally it was Alex Dickerson, who put the cherry on the dinger sundae with a ball in the water, where it belongs.
I probably shouldn’t end this article without mentioning the Giants bullpen, which threw four scoreless innings with just three baserunners allowed. The Giants sure look like they knew what they were doing by trading for Tony Watson, who has been brilliant.
The only downside of the day was that the Los Angeles Dodgers won, so the Giants didn’t gain any ground. And if it feels like that’s a theme, well ... you’re not imagining things.
Since the All-Star break, the Giants and Dodgers have played on the same day — but not against each other — 16 times. Here’s how those days have gone:
July 16: Both win
July 17: Giants lose, Dodgers win
July 18: Both lose
July 23: Both lose
July 24: Giants lose, Dodgers win
July 25: Both win
July 30: Both lose
July 31: Both win
Aug. 1: Both win
Aug. 3: Both lose
Aug. 4: Both win
Aug. 6: Both lose
Aug. 7: Both win
Aug. 8: Both win
Aug. 10: Both win
Aug. 11: Both win
And if you think that’s frustrating ... try being the team that’s four games down, instead of four games up.
But I don’t recommend that.