I wouldn’t dare presume that I had anything to do with Joc Pederson’s five RBIs over the first three innings of Friday night’s 13-1 win over Philadelphia. It’d be irresponsible of me to claim any credit for the long RBI single that he slapped off the left field wall or the line drive no-doubter to right that cannon-balled into San Francisco Bay for 3 runs and a knockout 7-0 lead against starter Kyle Gibson.
But...Joc did seem to dig into the box with not a bat in his hands, but an ax to grind. His home run swing in the 2nd definitely had some baggage. But no—I don’t think Pederson knows, or cares, that I, in a loving and caring and concerned tone, went out of my way to say not great things about his defense in Wednesday’s recap.
Big first inning for the Giants pic.twitter.com/zVarozcjYN— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 3, 2022
Listen: I was cranky. I had recently sat through some pretty bad baseball, and I immaturely used my platform to air my grievances. If Pederson got wind, if he took it personally, let me take this opportunity to apologize.
But Joc isn’t dumb. He was pretty cranky about things too. He knows a lot about winning and he knows a late inning RBI single doesn’t cut the mustard when poor glove work has cost a scuffling team in extra pitches, stressful innings, and opponent runs. But a big hit in the 1st inning to kick start the offense, or unhinging a statement hack to put the game out of reach? Now that sizzles the bacon.
Joc sends another ball into McCovey Cove pic.twitter.com/j2KkQNNsim— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 3, 2022
The outburst has been percolating. Pederson’s bat is hot. He hit three homers in the past four games, two of them landed in water. August was so miserable for San Francisco that Pederson’s offensive resurgence flew under the radar. His swat line for the dog days: .357 / .429 / .607. While the San Francisco Giants as a collective seemed to lose interest in pursuing any kind of glamour in October, Pederson donned his pearls.
His recent offensive output is exactly why the Giants signed him to a one year deal in the off season. It’s why Farhan Zaidi is teasing the idea of offering him an extension.
Farhan Zaidi said on KNBR that he'd like to re-sign Joc Pederson and has had conversations with Joc and his agent about returning next year.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 2, 2022
Imagine if he was hitting this way for a team in postseason contention?
The Philadelphia Phillies whistled into town at the wrong time. It would’ve been nice if this weekend series meant something for San Francisco in terms of the National League playoff race. Believe it or not, there was a time when the Giants and Phillies were viewed as direct competitors for one of the three Wild Card slots. Now, Fangraphs has the playoff probability for Philly at 85%, with SF nursing a generous 0.1% chance.
Friday’s blowout is an oasis. We got some hours before the next first pitch is thrown so please feel free to linger. Take your time, enjoy its shade, sip the cool water, and bask in the pleasant baseball-ness of baseball things before venturing out once again into the dunes of uncertainty that surround this team.
Thairo Estrada fielding a grounder up the middle, his body moving away from first base as he lifts off the outfield grass to throw a long one hop across the infield to get J.T. Realmuto by a step.
Evan Longoria, pulled towards the middle in the shift, leaping over the oncoming runner at second like a shortstop as he completes a unicorn 6-5-3 double play.
Jon Miller’s home run call.
Does it get any better than Jon Miller calling a splash hit? pic.twitter.com/BZHBMZohwz— KNBR (@KNBR) September 3, 2022
The four-pitch-please-don’t-hurt-me walk to Pederson with the bases loaded. The sharp line drives, the bloops safely falling in for hits. 10 free bases. 6 for 16 with runners in scoring position. The bend on Alex Cobb’s sinker and splitter as he paints 7 dominant innings of work.
The early runs and early lead! (San Francisco had scored a 1st inning run in only 5 games in all of August). Luis González tripling off a position player. Luis González recording the final out. Not to mention a three game losing streak for the Doghairs...
Choose the mirage. Re-watch last night’s highlights again. Don’t read about Brandon Belt’s season ending surgery and the big question mark for next year at first base. Don’t worry about the liability of Pederson’s glove or Mike Yastrzemski’s plummeting average (he got two hits last night!) or the backup in the prospect pipeline.
We still have some blissful hours to kill before the next game starts and reality regains its footing in our lives.