So we already know what happens in this game.
The maddening San Francisco Giants offense, who supported 9 walks with just 4 hits (only one coming with runners in scoring position) and a near 50 percent K-rate yesterday, came to the park and slugged out 16 runs on 20 hits and 5 home runs against the Chicago White Sox in the series rubber match.
The onslaught tied a franchise record of 13 for most home runs in a 3-game series. The previous record: Giants playing the Milwaukee Braves in April, 1961.
Does whatever is happening need a name? An explanation? Even year magic is now Even game magic?
The whiffs in the game-defining situations in game 5 were replaced with the good stuff in game 6: the sweet swings, the loud contact, the slow trots around the diamond, the dugout dabs.
Two on, two out for Conforto pic.twitter.com/GbMsaOrKca— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 6, 2023
Michael Conforto launched a 2-strike, 2-out 3-run home run to right in the first inning against veteran starter Lancy Lynn, and every Giants fan exhaled in relief, a feeling of deep peace settling in their chests: the pattern would not be broken, the established order maintained.
All we can ask from a companion is consistency.
Come on babe, why don't we paint the town? pic.twitter.com/Mf8jxZ8IWs— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 6, 2023
Mike Yastrzemski didn’t miss a 91 MPH fastball from Lynn in the 5th, nor did Wilmer Flores miss a 96 MPH offering from José Ruiz in the top of the 6th. Though Flores was brought to his knees by a 60 MPH fastball from Hanser Alberto in the 9th—J.D. Davis wasted no time launching the first Little League heater he saw from the infielder for a grand slam.
J.D. Davis grand slam because why not ♂️ pic.twitter.com/35B9LsPCwG— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 6, 2023
The exciting newcomer to the bash parade was Rule- 5 pick Blake Sabol. Sabol, who caught 9 innings and deftly handling a 45 MPH velocity change from John Brebbia to Matt Beaty, left the yard for the first time in his career in the 2nd, taking on center field. The rookie had been hitless since his bunt single in game 2, added 2 more singles on the day.
For the record: I really like his swing. I like the way he lets go of the bat with one hand after contact, and it’s quick too. It isn’t too exaggerated like Pederson’s—the swing comes off as slappy and tight, especially from his 6’4’’ frame, while still generating a lot of power. Congrats Blake!
Blake Sabol CRUSHES his first MLB home run pic.twitter.com/8cNrasfdFP— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 6, 2023
But it wasn’t just all dingers. There was still some some strike outs (only 9!!!) and some excellent airing of frustrations—but the Giants did well to string together hits that stayed in the ballpark as well. Joc Pederson laced a pretty 2-out, 2-strike (again) single that drove in two runs that put SF up 6-2 in the 4th. After a HBP to Villar in the 8th, Conforto, Davis and Estrada linked together two singles and a double to extend the lead by 9 runs.
Not totally necessary, but nice to see a little dynamism from the offense.
Joc was not happy after striking out on this pitch pic.twitter.com/RwZ29W8ftv— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 6, 2023
Alex Wood’s season debut was a little rough, needing nearly 71 pitches to get through 3 innings of work, though he wasn’t helped by his defense in the 2nd.
Thairo Estrada, covering short for Brandon Crawford after some forearm discomfort, biffed a potential inning ending double-play that ultimately led to 2 Chicago runs and a lot more pitches for Wood. Estrada got caught thinking with his feet rather than on them—do I get in front of it? Or backhand it? The stutter shuffle backwards step is never a good look. But he’s also coming off a foul ball off his calf, and wasn’t necessarily expecting to sub at short today, and since we are in the midst of Ramadan, Passover was Wednesday and Easter Sunday coming this weekend, I am choosing to offer Estrada grace—not that he cares. Just tuck that E away in the Dear God, I hope this doesn’t become a thing file and offer up good vibes to Crawford’s health.
Jakob Junis came in support of Wood in the 4th in another roll-out of the tandem pitching strategy. It seems to work—Junis pitched through the 7th, allowing 0 runs on 4 baserunners over the 4 innings of work while striking out 4, and giving Wood a more manageable workload to start the season.
The Giants have such pitching depth that the challenge might be finding enough work for their pitchers to stay fresh and dialed in. It’s a nice problem to have, and Junis seems to work well in the long-reliever role…and when you have Matt Beaty’s 50 MPH rocket-launcher just waiting to close out teams in the 9th…hooo-weeee!