Elster. Hairston. Grisham.
These are just a few of the names associated with the San Francisco Giants who made their names for what they did to them.
And then there’s Carlos Correa, a player who — as of this writing — is linked to the Giants most strongly because of what “they did to him.”
You might remember the brief encounter the team and player had this offseason. A wild episode that altered the public’s perception of the team and, eventually, the player. We might have enough facts to warrant a reasonable basis for the belief that this was all Scott Boras’s doing, that the Major League S—tstorm started because Big B spun around in circles until he created a hurricane that grabbed all the headlines.
But what does Carlos Correa think? Does he view what happened as an insult perpetrated by the team? Did they harm him? Or is it all just business and he’s managed to not take it personally — the panic of not being sure where he’d be playing come Opening Day and the fear that accompanied a falling free agency windfall superseding any specific animosities?
We might not know the real truth for a long time because I think whatever happens with his health down the line will be a big part of this. Regardless of outcome — his ankle turns into a bag of sand or it doesn’t — the Giants will be mentioned in the same breath. Now, does that thought stick with Carlos Correa and the Giants? In other words, does the infamy that binds them haunt each party or are they really, really good at compartmentalization?
We don’t have to worry about that, though. We’re just fans. And the media covering this series is the media. And the Giants walking away from a 13-year deal with Carlos Correa will be the story. Game one will be a national telecast, and it’s all we’re going to hear about for three games.
From a purely baseball standpoint, that makes sense. There is probably a very slim chance that Carlos Correa would not use what happened in the offseason to motivate himself this series. Athletes are always looking for little things to magnify as a motivation. Of course he’s going to want to make them pay.
The Giants will be able to look at the team they have right now and weigh that against Correa’s current line: .206/.298/.388 (0.3 fWAR). Looks pretty good, right? That’s not a setup for a revenge series — he’s slumping? Right! (Oh no. Please see below.)
The Twins as a team are coming off a rough 2-4 west coast road trip, but they’re 14-8 so far this season at Target Field and now lead the AL Central. They beat up on the Giants pretty easily last season, you’ll recall, and it was not so much a turning point as really loud nails in the coffin of the Giants’ 2022 season. They looked lifeless.
But that was last year, and this year the Giants have Casey Schmitt exciting with his glove and his arm and his bat, and Patrick Bailey stealing strikes in between stealing our hearts.
Still, Carlos Correa is probably gonna be pretty amped up.
Who: San Francisco Giants at Minnesota Twins
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Monday (4:40pm PT), Tuesday (4:40pm PT), Wednesday (10:10am PT)
National broadcasts: Monday — Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
Monday: John Brebbia (opener) vs. Bailey Ober
Tuesday: Alex Cobb vs. Sonny Gray
Wednesday: Anthony DeSclafani vs. Joe Ryan
Where they stand
Record: 25-22, 1st in AL Central
Run differential: +43, 3rd in AL
Postseason standing: leading AL Central
Momentum: 1-game losing streak; 5-5 in their last 10 games
Record: 22-24, 3rd in NL West
Run differential: -18, 9th in the NL
Postseason standing: 2.0 games back of third Wild Card, 6.0 games out of the division
Momentum: 1-game winning streak; 6-4 in their last 10 games
Three Twins to watch
Carlos Correa: Despite his .686 OPS through 43 games, he does lead the team in doubles (10) and this morning on FanGraphs, Esteban Rivera swooped in to make it clear that the revenge series against the Giants is extremely likely:
He is still hitting the ball as hard as ever has. Sometimes a hitter takes a little more time than usual to get their timing down, and that’s what I’m leaning towards here. What’s more, against fastballs this year, Correa’s xwOBA is .372, but his actual wOBA is .292. On top of his timing being slightly off, he has gotten a bit unlucky.
All of this is to say, we shouldn’t be too worried about Correa’s profile. His 107 wRC+ and .224 ISO in the month of May suggest that he is working his way back to his career norms.
I don’t think this is going to rise to the level of an on-field beef with Giants players, but it’s not difficult to imagine him being a one-man wrecking crew against the team that “didn’t believe in him.”
Kyle Garlick: Drafted in the 28th round of the 2015 draft — Farhan Zaidi’s first with the Dodgers — he’s been a right-handed bench bat for his career, slashing .227/.277/.438. This year with the Twins, he has two hits (one of them a home run) in 12 at bats/12 plate appearances. Against the Giants, for his career, he’s 9-for-18 (20 PA) with 3 home runs, a double, a walk, and six strikeouts: .500/.550/.1056. It’s his best line against any team.
Sonny Gray: He’s having an incredible season to this point — a 2.0 fWAR in 9 starts (49.1 IP), an 11 K/9, and he’s the last qualified starting pitcher yet to have allowed a home run. He doesn’t do it with raw velocity — 92.5 mph fastball — but he does it with stuff. His spin rates are elite across the board, he also features a sweeper. He has just a 1.64 ERA and a 2.02 FIP. His xFIP — that is, the expected Fielding Independent Pitching average based on the quality of contact — however, is 3.37, which is just a hair greater than Alex Cobb’s (3.36). They’re not really comparable pitchers, but their matchup on Tuesday will be one to watch.
Three Giants to watch
Brandon Crawford: Is he toast? What’s it going to look like playing against the guy previously slated to replace him? It’s definitely to be awkward. Maybe not as awkward as Crawford has been at the plate. He’s seeing fewer pitches in the strike zone, he’s swinging at more pitches out of the zone than ever before, and he’s swinging and missing at everything regardless of where the pitch is. I’m a firm believer in Brandon Crawford still having one more two-week spurt of “Hey, Brandon Crawford’s still got some baseball left in him!” because he’s managed to do it his entire career — even last season.
LaMonte Wade Jr.: He’s getting on base, he’s one of the best hitters in the league, and the Twins didn’t want him. Maybe it won’t be such sweet revenge like Carlos Correa plans for the Giants, but there’s got to be some motivation in here. And if not, there’s still a decent chance he’s going to be a difference maker in the series like he has for the season.
Patrick Bailey: This should wind up being his first full turn through the rotation and I want to see what he looks like with a bullpen-style game (Brebbia opens game one) or if he catches Cobb, etc. I’m less interested in his hitting right now because he’s been such a fast mover, but I do expect some better plate coverage and swing decisions. I think that’s why the Giants were comfortable bringing him up. Let’s see how he does in his first road series.
Giants at Twins - What’s gonna happen?
This poll is closed
Carlos Correa sweeps
Carlos Correa wins, 2-1
Giants win, 2-1