The San Francisco Giants stumbled something fierce last week, with a five-game losing streak during which time their offense was about as successful as I was that one time in college that I tried to play hacky sack drunk and blindfolded.
Well, it seems they’re back to their winning ways. They returned to the win column on Saturday. They stayed in the win column on Sunday. And they punctuated it on Monday against the Colorado Rockies, winning with the Giants blueprint: a deep offensive showing featuring contributions from unheralded players, and some dynamic pitching.
If you’re looking for some eloquent words regarding Carlos Rodón, I don’t have them. I have only five words: I’m glad he’s a Giant.
Rodón faced 24 Rockies on Monday. He struck out half of them. His strikeout totals in his first six games as a Giant are as follows: 12, 9, 8, 9, 3, 12.
He’s given up exactly two walks in each game. The six hits he allowed in this one were the first time he’d given up more than three all season. The two runs he allowed tied a season high.
The only stain on his resume is the pitch count, which is a casualty of the strikeouts. He needed 110 pitches to get through six innings in this game, and that’s keeping in line with how his season has gone.
But if the biggest knock on a pitcher is that he needs a few extra pitches in his dominant starts, then I think you’ll live with that. I know I’ll live with that. I know the Giants, who are 4-2 in his starts, will live with that.
Mauricio Dubón will also live with that, because Mauricio Dubón will live with anything after the game he had.
It’s been hard not to feel bad for Dubón this year. He’s on the roster to be the hyper-flexible player who can slot in anywhere on the diamond, but between the Giants facing an abundance of righties, and Thairo Estrada earning the full-time second baseman job in Tommy La Stella’s absence, Dubón has mostly rode the pine, receiving only sporadic at-bats that have kept him from finding a rhythm.
Prior to the team’s current win streak, Dubón had received a mere 30 plate appearances on the season, despite being on the roster since Opening Day.
Now he’s made three straight starts. He hit 2-4 with a homer and a walk on Saturday. He hit 1-4 on Sunday. And on Monday, playing center field, he did it all.
In the first inning he hit a sacrifice fly, getting the Giants on the board. Accurately sensing that they might need more, he one-upped himself in the third inning, taking on dead center for the second time in three days, and giving the Giants a 3-0 lead.
He added a pair of singles later in the game, and just like that his slash line of .244/.250/.415 is totally respectable for a versatile part-time player who plays strong defense all over the diamond.
Speaking of nice slash lines, the runner who scored on Dubón’s sacrifice fly was Austin Slater, who led off the first with just the second Giants triple of the year.
Ready for a fun stat? Slater is the Giants position player leader in fWAR, despite having just 61 plate appearances (he also singled and walked in this game).
The performance of those two was enough for the Giants to withstand Rodón’s one ugly inning in the fifth, but a 3-2 lead didn’t feel sustainable. So they put up a semi-crooked number in the sixth on the type of funny, ultra-small ball rally that has come to define the season.
Here’s how it went:
Mauricio Dubón infield single
Mike Yastrzemski strikeout
Wilmer Flores single
Darin Ruf RBI single (he hit 2-3 with a walk)
Wild pitch plus an error scores Flores
Brandon Crawford walk
Thairo Estrada single
Joc Pederson sacrifice fly
Luis González flyout
They added two more in the eighth, which was enough for them to withstand the ugly ninth inning by Jake McGee, who is starting to look like he might be the recipient of the 2022 Matt Wisler Award.
It was an 8-5 win over the team they were tied in the standings with. It was their third straight win.
It felt good. Still does.