Much like Thursday night’s game, I thought that Friday night’s game between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs would be doomed within a few pitches. And, like the game on Thursday night, I was wonderfully wrong.
The Giants started the game by putting Scott Kazmir on the hill, which was the first disturbing sign. That’s nothing against Kazmir, which is a great story and could very well prove to be a quality pitcher over the next few weeks. It’s just that he’s clearly the weak link in a shockingly good Giants rotation that has already amassed nearly 150% of the fWAR that the rotation hit in 162 starts in 2019.
On the third pitch of the game, Kazmir gave up two runs.
The Giants play the hottest team in baseball, giving them a 2-0 lead before most people had time to turn their TVs on, and were in a scheduled bullpen game the same day they made them their best option for a DFA offered long relief.
Sorry for dropping my generally optimistic shtick.
Apology not accepted by the Giants.
Kazmir sat down and crossed the remainder of the inning and the second inning before handing things over to the pen. And then came the end of the second inning and with it another offensive explosion of … / checks notes … the team with the best record in baseball?
The Giants started a rally with two usual suspects. Usual suspects for 2021, that is. And usual suspects for 2014 and other years of this era. Brandon Crawford – Clean Up! – had a lead-off double and was beaten by Evan Longoria on an RBI single. You can vote for these two fine guys in the all-star game, you know. And again: it’s 2021.
That cut the deficit in half and then came the still and surprisingly hot thug from Steve Duggar, who dropped the keg for his fourth homer of the year.
Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the headline or seen the game: That wouldn’t be the last home run of the day for the Giants. There would be more. Three more to be precise.
One of those three came later in the inning and turned a very close game into a formidable lead. It came from someone desperately looking for a ball that was hit long and hard, and he put a lot of wood on a rather lazy Jake Arrieta slider.
I’m talking about Alex Dickerson, of course.
There were a lot of things to love about this home run, but honestly, my favorite might be the confused reaction of this Cubs fan who seemed to temporarily forget his associations, celebrating a long ball hit in his part of the park , and then it casually tried to turn its celebration into a “hey buddy, what the hell are you doing” pose of dismay.
It was a six-run inning, and these usually have a decent correlation with the Giants’ sweepstakes. I have no idea what this is about. I vow to investigate.
It also inflated Arrieta’s ERA and he would leave the game after leaving the inning. I liked that because I don’t like Arrieta. I’m not sure if at some point I read something bad about him, or if I imagine I read something bad about him at some point, or if I watched him start when I had bad associations with something else But either way, I’m glad it was set on fire and, moreover, only helped the Giants.
But mostly because it helped the Giants. I liked that part.
Of course, the game wasn’t over yet. The Cubs are dangerous, the Giants were knee deep in a bullpen game, the equivalent of using NERF guns to a shootout, and Chicago has still certified the Giant Killer ™ Joc Pederson who did his thing against Dominic Leone and took the lead got reduced in half with a double bang.
But, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, the Giants have scored four home runs. And the last pair of them came in the fourth inning, from unusual places in a row at bats.
First up was Jason Vosler, who wanted to get revenge on the team that drafted him, put the second thing of his career in the spotlight and gave the Giants their seventh pinch-hit home run of the season.
And then it was LaMonte Wade Jr. who tragically removed May’s marvelous mustache from his face, but seemed to have no consequence.
Four home runs in Oracle Park. Well it will be me.
That gave the Giants an 8-4 lead, and they’d keep it comfortable, as Zack Littell, Conner Menez, Jake McGee, and Tyler Rogers only allowed one undeserved run (admittedly undeserved due to the hilarious rule of a mistake FROM THE DAMN PITCHER leads an undeserved run) and held on for an 8-5 win.
They were supported by Brandon Crawford, who not only has the best offensive season of his career (he had a walk and a double in the game), but also turns back time absolutely defensively.
Let’s ask Pederson – who is not featured in this piece – how he feels about these defensive gimmicks.
And let’s look at the numbers while we’re here.
And then let’s see how it got here.
And now let’s look at the Giants fans taunting the Cubs for this childish behavior.
Ah, baseball. A good, healthy time on the farm.
There is nothing better.