Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Giants Edge Dodgers in Extras

SF 4  LA 1 (11)
The Giants spent most of the evening doing their best not to get a clutch hit or score a run. Fortunately starter Jeff Samardzija was up to the task with his best effort of the season, an 8-inning, 11-strikeout, no-walks gem. The Giants gave up a run in the bottom of the 6th on an error by Joe Panik and some hustle by Yasiel Puig and it looked for all the world like a classic Caining but they eked out the tying run in the top of the 8th. Hunter Pence took two bases on a passed ball and Buster Posey knocked him in with a groundout. Some fabulous relief work--that's a phrase I've not typed much--gave the good guys a second wind and they finally broke through in the 11th with run-scoring hits from Gorkys Hern√°ndez and Brandon Belt. Mark Melancon put two guys on in the bottom half but put up the zero to seal the deal and the Giants had a series win.

Perhaps the Dodgers should be the only opponent for the rest of the way. It seems our boys deliver their best performances against the men in blue, yesterday's implosion notwithstanding. The Shark now has four decent starts out of six; the two turkeys account for 13 runs in 10-2/3 IP, the others including tonight make 11 runs in 28-2/3. He certainly earned the game ball but southpaw Steven Okert's five-out no-run appearance spanning the 9th and 10th was equally clutch. The Giants can't slug it out with teams, they have to play low-scoring games. This was more like the winning formula we expected.

Of note were Belt's four walks, he now has 22 or the fourth-most in baseball, leader Bryce Harper has 25. The Kid, Christian Arroyo, was 0-for-6 with three whiffs. You're in the big leagues now, lad.

Off-day tomorrow and then it's on to Cincinnati for a three-game set. Matt Cain gets the call Friday against 40-year old Bronson Arroyo (no relation!).

--M.C.

3 comments:

Zo said...

This was only the 2nd series win of the year. If we win every 3-game series in the month of May and win one of the 4-game series 3 - 1, (there are two 4-game series, against the Reds and Cubs), the team will be 1 game over .500 (assuming we tie the other 4-game series). One game over .500 isn't the sign of a good team, but it is a start. That would be 17 - 9, or .654 baseball. Mark said he wanted 20 wins, we win 19 for the month, we're barely over .500. Doable? I'd say yes, but not at a 2-runs per game clip.

We play LA again, at home, less than two weeks from now. Then, not until the end of July in LA. I think that's kind of weird. This was the Giants third extra-inning game against LA. Four of the seven have been 1-run games.

Brother Bob said...

It was heartening to see a strong start from Smarja. I have considered him a weak link in our rotation. He is way too prone to bad innings. I enjoyed that double play he and Belt pulled off. His athleticism definitely paid off then.

M.C. O'Connor said...

One of the things FanGraphs has been looking at this season is the trend toward more uppercut swings, that is, hitters trying to create more fly balls, obviously to hit more homers. They've been calling it, in rather typical FanGraphs hyperbole, the "revolution." Here's an article about Brandon Belt that looks at the park effects on his results. It's called 'Brandon Belt Rightly Resists the Revolution' and it's interesting even if it is a bit saber-wonky. I'm happy to see Belt getting some notice--he's a damn good ballplayer and I think because the power numbers are low for a first baseman he's not fully appreciated, even by Giants fans. I've been saying all along that the park kills his numbers and this article points out that the power-suppressing effects of AT&T on lefties is even worse than we thought. Craig Edwards concludes his piece with this:

"Brandon Belt doesn’t hit for a high average or hit a lot of homers. He’s not fast on the bases. He doesn’t need to do any of that, however, to be very good. He walks a lot and he hits for power, even if the ball doesn’t leave the yard. That’s all he needs to do to be one of the top-25 hitters in baseball."

Good stuff. Check it out.