Brett Pill hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat, and provided another reason to watch the San Francisco Giants for those who don’t believe in 7-game comebacks with 21 games to go. Now the deficit’s 6 games, but that’s not how we’ll remember this extremely strange game. This game was about Pill yanking a changeup off the second deck facade of that Western Metal Supply Co. building, and to a lesser extent Eric Surkamp notching his first career win.
It was also about Carlos Beltran’s slide, Sergio Romo’s trick knee, Santiago Casilla’s meltdown where he couldn’t stop hitting the Padres with fastballs and the collective “oh, great” uttered throughout the Bay Area when Ramon Ramirez came in.
The best part of Tuesday night’s interminable ninth inning was how much it bugged my next-door neighbor Bernadette — and to a lesser extent, my wife — because they were waiting impatiently for the game to end so they could watch last night’s episode of True Blood (something I mentioned on Twitter, because live-tweeting the frustration of others is fun!). I was almost positive the Giants were going to make them wait for their favorite show for all that time just to lose after how this season has turned out, and then they didn’t. It was weird. Then I told Bernie and my wife that once postgame interviews were over they would watch their witchcraft and vampire sex. They were not amused, and I relinquished the remote moments later and watched Pill’s interview with Kruk and Kuip hours later.
After such a terrible weekend against the D-Backs, the Giants might still be relevant when the season finale of True Blood airs on Sunday night. And even during the Giants’ worst episodes, I’ll take this plot over vampire silliness any day.
The march toward closure…
— Also looking frustrated was Brian Wilson, who paced the dugout in the later innings like a man near his breaking point. The Giants’ closer can’t be having fun watching the once invincible bullpen look as shaky as it has of late.
— Santiago Casilla said being a closer requires a different mentality according to Baggz, and I remember hearing him say how pitching the ninth is “more emotional” about after a particularly dominant save a couple weeks ago. Okay, I heard him say “emocional” in Spanish, and the one guy there who translated everything for myself and the two beat writers let us know exactly what Casilla was referring to.
— When it comes to this debate, mostly between the stats-centric against those who believe there’s something different about pitching the ninth inning, it isn’t clear cut. While so many pitchers both active and retired will tell you it’s different to record the last out(s) of a game, lots of indistinguishable relievers have performed admirably in the closer’s role who didn’t strike everyone as dominant-yet-eccentric tough guys.
— So what’s the answer? It’s really hard to say. While advanced stats tell us everything occurs in a vacuum, I think there’s a difference when you’re talking about relievers who can handle being the last line of defense and those who know in the back of their mind that they could be rescued by their manager and replaced with another pitcher if things get dicey. The moral of the story is it’s going to be a very interesting time when Romo gets his chance to close … if that ever happens.
— Carlos Beltran’s slash line as a Giant (.337/.371/.533 in 24 games) and excellent play of late (with glimpses of great baserunning and a tremendous arm to go along with all these multi-hit games) makes it tempting to wonder what he would have been able to do if he didn’t land on the DL with that strained hand/wrist/whatever. But before we start calling for the Giants to open up the checkbook and make friends once again with Scott Boras, remember the 34-year-old Beltran played 145 games in 2009 and 2010 combined. Paying Beltran an 8-figure salary when he’s 37 isn’t necessarily a good idea.
— Hard to believe we’ll see Andres Torres again next year. The Giants got rid of Aaron Rowand and still are tired of watching Torres, to the point where they brought up a 31-year-old Minor Leaguer named Justin Christian to take his place against a left-handed pitcher in Wade LeBlanc.
— Tuesday’s win pushed the Giants’ cumulative OBP to an even .300. So they have that going for them…
— If you haven’t seen Pill’s homer, here it is.