You don’t need me to tell you that the San Francisco Giants haven’t been playing good baseball lately. The results will tell you that for me. They’ve won just six of their last 19 games.
You also don’t need the run differential to tell you the Giants haven’t been playing good baseball lately. Which is good, because, unlike me, the run differential won’t tell you that. I’ll look you dead in the eye and tell you the Giants are playing poorly. The run differential will do no such thing.
Because after deconstructing the Arizona Diamondbacks like they were an old school dish on the menu of a new-school $300 a head restaurant, the Giants have been outscored by exactly one run over that brutal 19 game stretch.
It’s a good day to be a fan of run differential and pythagorean wins and losses. Hold the course. The results may be lagging, but they’re on their way.
On Tuesday the Giants needed just two leadoff pitches involving Austin Slater to make it clear what kind of game they were headed for.
The first came in the top of the first inning. It was the very first pitch that the Diamondbacks saw. Josh Rojas demolished it to center field.
Slater somehow tracked it down, and had both the focus and courage to catch the ball despite the threat of getting Brock Lesnar’d by the wall.
The second came in the bottom of the first inning. It was the very first pitch that the Giants saw. Slater smacked it to deep right field for a double.
It was mighty clear that the Giants and Diamondbacks were in for very different nights, a point that was emphasized a moment later when Yermín Mercedes doubled Slater home for the first run of the game.
But the Giants have been inventing new ways to lose baseball games lately, so you weren’t convinced.
The convincing came quickly.
With two on and two out, and still just the one run in, David Villar stepped to the plate. Villar, who has been hitting the ball quite well since making his MLB debut last week, hit a rocket of a line drive/fly ball hybrid, but directly at right fielder Jake McCarthy.
McCarthy made me feel better about my short-lived Little League career by losing the ball in the sun and then promptly falling on his face, in what can only be described as a flawless impression of a drunk farm animal attacking their grassy lunch.
A flubbed relay later, and Villar got to walk home with a two-run triple and three-run Little League home run.
Watch that video again and remember that it was the second baseman, not the right fielder, who was charged with an error.
At that point it was 4-0, and it was abundantly obvious how the game would go. All that was left was the window dressing.
Joey Bart provided the first bout of it, dismantling a baseball for his first home run off a non-position player since April 29. He’s still striking out seemingly seven times a game, but his at bats have looked better since his stint in AAA.
Hang it in the Bart gallery @JBart9GT pic.twitter.com/jXdOftLgUE— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 13, 2022
My goodness that dude can hit the proverbial snot out of the baseball.
Later in the inning, Mercedes added a similar type of window dressing, albeit with different aesthetic choices. While Barted opted for a home run of the booming, high-arcing type, Mercedes chose for one of the blink-and-you-miss-it varieties.
The Yerminator said “hasta la vista, baby” pic.twitter.com/jiT1Y0HxK3— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 13, 2022
Mercedes finished a triple shy of the cycle and drew a walk. I would like the record to state that I think the Giants did a smart thing by adding him to their baseballing club.
But the homers didn’t stop there. No, Thairo Estrada got in on the dinger action in the third inning.
Sent to the Estradasphere ☄️ pic.twitter.com/IdQLknnlIB— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 13, 2022
And in the seventh inning Estrada followed a basic tenet of baseball, which is that if one of a thing is good, two of the same thing is almost always better.
Estra-dos ✌️ pic.twitter.com/hFw0Ar9sqv— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 13, 2022
It was the final homer for the Giants, but not the final run. The Diamondbacks would turn things over to a position player to pitch the eighth, and San Francisco would tack on another trio of runs, because while it is generally rude to pour salt in someone’s wound, it isn’t if they ask you to do so.
Meanwhile, Logan Webb chugged along, as he’s been doing lately.
Despite that hard-hit first pitch that he threw, Webb kept the D-Backs out of rhythm all day. He gave up just three hits and two walks in six scoreless innings, while striking out eight, his third-highest total of the year. He likely would have pitched the seventh inning (he sat at 91 pitches through six) had the Giants not held the type of lead that makes you want to put everything in preservation mode.
Here’s Webb’s line over his last six starts: 40 innings, 28 hits, 9 walks, 5 earned runs, 37 strikeouts. If the Giants are to make the type of run they believe they can make, he’ll be a huge part of it.
Like the D-Backs, the Giants pushed the mercy rule button and sent a position player to the mound for the final inning. Unlike the D-Backs, the Giants position player — Luis González, who was making his fourth pitching appearance of the year — didn’t allow a run, despite pitching like someone who had pitching explained to them for the first time during a drunken conversation the night before.
The Giants are now 23-4 when wearing their City Connect jerseys. I no longer find them ugly. They’re perfect.
Wear them every game you cowards.