clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A completely normal game

Giants beat Dodgers 7 - 5, big whoop.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jakob Junis is a lucky man.

By the expression on his face after securing the San Francisco Giants’ 7 - 5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th, he knows it.

This is the face of a man who bagged a prize trout by throwing a hand grenade in a river. Something so remarkably asinine that it worked. It’s not a great way to fish, and probably won’t net positive results in 999,999 other attempts, but after the chaos and confusion it evoked died down, Junis showed off his catch.

With one out and one man on in 2-run ballgame in extra innings after nearly being on the field for tense four hours in his first SF-LA rivalry game and entering the thicket of the Dodgers batting order, Minor League Gold Glove winner Casey Schmitt dropped an infield pop-up off the bat of Mookie Betts. He probably saw the ball late, had a long way to run in from his positioning at third, and it probably didn’t help that Patrick Bailey and Junis seemed to want and not want to go for the same ball—still he dropped it.

In another season, or another month, Los Angeles takes that mistake and makes rib-eye steaks out of it. Freddie Freeman, Will, Smith, J.D. Martinez batting with the tying run on base is a recipe for disaster.

Little did we know, Disaster is Junis’s middle name. But in a cool way. Like ripping a backside disaster on your backyard mini-ramp while the rest of your friends are still learning rock-to-fakies.

It’s Junis’s decision—definitely in some kind of blacked-out, fugue state—to throw the ball down to first that sets this epic, rivalry leveling-up play into motion. He airmailed it. It was not close to David Villar at first, and even if it was on target, it wouldn’t have been close to getting Betts. But that compounding error gets Betts’ mind racing, maybe a little greedy. He saw lead-runner Michael Busch advance, and with his head-down, Betts rounded second and broke for third, thinking Busch would keep running and score on the error. But Mike Yastrzemski charging in from right field kept Busch from taking home. Running it into the infield (love it when the outfielders get their cleats dirty), Yaz caught Betts in no man’s land. He threw to Brandon Crawford who relayed it to Estrada at second who then threw home to Patrick Bailey as Busch attempted to score, who then ran Busch back up the line before tossing it Junis covering third for the out.

It’s best just to watch it. Multiple angles and perspectives are needed.

For purists, a disgrace. Viewed from altitude and some distance, pretty dang funny.

Jon Miller’s disbelief slowly turned into lilting disgust as the play concluded, comparing it to a “Greek tragedy”. Tragedy for the Dodgers yes, comedy for the Giants. Two errors in a high-leverage situation and you’re rewarded for it. Absolutely absurd. Betts took full responsibility in a post-game interview, dejectedly repeating the word “wrong…wrong…wrong.” He didn’t account for all the factors, miscounted the men, made the mistake of assuming how a play would develop. He was wrong and that doesn’t happen too often. Kapler had no words. To try and make sense of what was effectively the baseball deities shaking a snow globe just to watch our world spin into havoc would be pointless. Why is the world this way? do people do the things they do? Like an angry, flown-in mob coagulated at the gates of Dodger Stadium trying to articulate exactly what they were so darn upset about while knowing for a fact that whatever it was, it was God’s will. Meanwhile God has his back to them, telling a security guard they have no idea who those people are before grabbing some peanuts and heading to their seat in the left-field bleachers.

With the tying run still at the plate in maybe the best offensive asset in baseball, Junis, retired Freddie Freeman on three sliders. Game over, first save collected, easy.

Friday night certainly didn’t need that final half-inning circus act to make it a stand-out in the long history of rivalry games between these two clubs.

Once again, San Francisco was once again being no-hit by a Dodger pitcher in their MLB debut.

À la Ross Stripling in 2016, Emmet Sheehan, who never thrown a pitch above Double-A, authored 6 hit-less innings with 2 BB, 3 K, and left the game with a 4-run lead.

The stuff of the young right-hander was undeniable: High-90s velocity with natural movement and a change-up that at times dragged across the plate at a 14 MPH difference. But to say the Giants hitters were dumbfounded would be an overstatement. The vast majority of their outs were volleyed into the night. Luis Matos and Brandon Crawford both missed home runs by feet on multiple occasions. Miguel Rojas stole a single from Thairo Estrada and Betts made an incredible catch on a line-drive in the 6th that left Joc Pederson’s bat at 115 MPH.

Not to take anything away from Sheehan’s performance, but the pitcher’s specific arsenal was aided exponentially by home plate umpire’s Nate Tomlinson’s strike zone. Tomlinson was certainly consistent against both teams, but Sheehan’s velocity plays at the top of the zone. He wasn’t locating particularly well, but Giants hitters usually disciplined approach kept having to cover pitches that were inches above the letters because of Tomlinson’s calls. Batters on both teams had a refrigerator sized zone to look after—it was a wonder anyone got a hit at all.

The no-hit debut thing is now a cheery omen for San Francisco. Hitless through 6 innings—sick! Many thanks to the magic managerial wand of Dave Roberts. Whenever he feels like intervening, it’s guaranteed to amaze (probably not completely fair, especially with a struggling and strained LA bullpen—but jeez, it’s fun to pick on him). As it was in 2016, the first San Francisco hit came in the first batter against the relief arm. Trevor Brown launched a 2-run homer off Christ Hatcher to tie the game, and seven years later, Estrada singled off Brusdar Graterol and Wilmer Flores golfed a 2-run homer to change the game’s complexion.

The Giants then took the lead with a 3-run 8th against an erratic LHP Victor Gonzalez. Luis Matos walked to start the inning, but was erased on a fielder’s choice and replaced by Crawford. Pinch-hitter Austin Slater singled, and with J.D. Davis not really an option off the bench, Pederson had to hit against the southpaw. The 115 exit velocity didn’t get the job done, but a 75 MPH grounder with eye-balls did—ambling just past the desperate stretch of Rojas at second to score Crawford. The throw home ended up at the backstop, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position, setting up Thairo Estrada’s game-tying sac fly against new reliever Tayler Scott.

With two outs and two strikes, Schmitt once again came up with the clutch hit. singled to bring in the leading run on a hard hit ball that Rojas smothered at short but could not muscle a throw fast enough to bag the hustling Schmitt. Scott then hit Bailey to load the bases but was bailed out by umpire Tomlinson on a wide slider that would’ve walked home a 6th run and provided some extra padding for the Giants. Security that they ended up desperately needing.

Freddie Freeman dropped a flare into right field against Camilo Doval to tie the game with one out in the bottom of the 9th.

The dink was reminiscent of Will Smith’s impressive, bat-breaking single that knuckled past the reaching Estrada to score the game’s first run in the 5th and sparked a 4-run rally against an otherwise solid Sean Manaea. Shooters get the rolls, good hitters get the broken bat flares.

Catcher Bailey threw cold water on the Dodgers burgeoning rally when he gunned out Betts attempting to steal third, and Doval K’ed Martinez with the winning run on second to force extra innings.

The 5th run ended Doval’s streak of 14 save opportunities successfully converted. It would’ve been amazing to see the closer blow through the toughest stretch of hitters in baseball, but those streaks have to end eventually, and it ain’t a surprise it was Betts and Freeman who did it.

Both teams failed to score in the 10th with Caleb Ferguson retiring three in order after hitting Estrada to lead off the inning, and Taylor Rogers with the game on the line, shut down the bottom of the Dodgers order, punctuating the inning with a 3-pitch punch-out of pinch hitter Austin Barnes with the winning run 90 feet away.

And again, much like in the Stripling game, Brandon Crawford continues to buckle down and hit well with runners in scoring position. In 2016, he launched a walk-off blast in the 10th, yesterday it was an RBI single against southpaw Alex Vesia. Slater followed up with another RBI single to the right side for San Francisco’s 7th and final run.

Buster hugs are great and all, but I might prefer this kind of sweet tenderness from Bailey. After the odyssey the Giants had been on, it’s important to take a moment, stare into your friend’s eyes and laugh at the absurdity of it all. There’s just another one of these crazy merry-go-rounds tomorrow.