If you choose a large sample size — the whole season, perhaps — you can paint the San Francisco Giants as a good offensive baseball team.
But chances are you, a fan who is having a tough week and turned on the Giants games in hopes of feeling better about things, are not looking at a large sample size. You’re probably looking at a small sample size. You’re probably looking at a three-game sample size.
If that’s the case, then you probably do not view the Giants as a good offensive baseball team.
On Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants scored exactly one run for the third consecutive game.
Scoring exactly one run is not a recipe for success. You probably don’t need me to provide data to support that statement, but let me do so anyway.
On Thursday the Giants scored exactly one run for the 1,929th time in franchise history. They have won 217 of those games.
Thursday’s was not one of those 217. Neither was Wednesday’s or Tuesday’s, for that matter.
Thursday was one of the 1,712 times that the Giants have scored exactly one run and lost.
Despite the almost entire absence of runs, the Giants had 10 hits and four walks. Yet even with those, they managed just six plate appearances with a runner in scoring position, which was partially due to horrific sequencing, and partially due to a double by Luis González being the team’s lone extra-base hit.
Nine singles is good. Nine singles on 10 hits is less good.
There were moments when you thought the Giants might do some things. Mike Yastrzemski’s single in the fifth inning gave them their only run, and put two runners on base. The next batter was Joc Pederson, who hit the ball 392 feet into a glove.
Hitting a ball 392 feet sounds magical. I, myself, would love to hit a ball 392 feet some day. But I imagine it’s rather debilitating, and a wee bit offensive, to hit a ball 392 feet, while representing the go-ahead run, and have it land in the rough confines of a leather mitt owned by an outfielder on the opposing team.
This is not to whine about the current poor offensive environment in baseball being unfair to the Giants. Pederson had the furthest-hit ball of the game, yes, but the Cardinals had the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-furthest hit balls. The Cardinals hit the ball harder, and they hit the ball further, and they hit the ball for more hits, and they hit the ball for more extra-base hits, and, most crucially, they hit the ball for more runs.
Seven of them. One for the Giants.
And in case your night wasn’t going poorly enough, the first run was a Yadier Molina home run. He was very excited about that fact, as is his right. I would be too, were I him.
But it wasn’t exactly a highlight of my week, watching it.
So, let’s find optimism where we can: González and Yastrzemski both hit 2-4 with a walk. Good days for good Giants. Gregory Santos made his season debut and pitched 1.2 perfect innings with a strikeout. Jason Vosler made an exceptional defensive play to save a run when it was still a close game, and you thought he might be the hero, back when you were innocent enough to think the Giants could win the game.
Those are all good things. They’ll allow us to, for a few seconds, forget that Jake McGee got rocked again, and that Tyler Rogers joined him, and that the Giants had just one extra-base hit, and that they used nine relievers in a designated bullpen game, and that they scored just one run.