There is no such thing as a “must win” game in April, but losing Tuesday night’s game would’ve been rough. And it wasn’t the standings as much as the idea that they would’ve lost 10 of their last 11, including seven of their first eight home games, with Clayton Kershaw taking the mound the next night.
Luckily for the Giants, an old hero kept the Dodgers off balance and a new hero played his way past Gregor Blanco (at least in the short-term). And that’s how they embarrassed Los Angeles with the kind of blowout win we haven’t seen all season.
From the Giants’ postgame notes: “The Giants’ 6-2 win marked their largest margin of victory this season.”
It’s only been 15 games, but that’s still pretty funny.
Obviously the Giants have been struggling, and who am I to get up on my couchbox and complain. I haven’t written about the team since they were in San Diego. More on that later, as if you care. Nobody cares about the writers, it’s all about the players. And the Giants had plenty of good ones in this game.
Player of the Game: Justin Maxwell
After seeing Maxwell’s grimace after his kneecap collided with the right field wall on a sliding catch that Yasiel Puig would later applaud from the visitors’ dugout (a striking gesture, especially since Puig hit the fly ball that Maxwell caught), it looked like the Giants’ right fielder du jour wouldn’t be around much longer. But there Maxwell was in the bottom of the inning, obliterating a 97 mph get-it-in fastball from Pedro Baez.
Maxwell looked really fast on his second inning triple, too. Besides the price being right, that’s why the Giants got him: power and speed. That he displayed both in the same game, a game that happened to be pretty important against the Dodgers, was extraordinarily fortunate for both the Giants and Maxwell.
While I also bristle at those potshots people take at the Giants for being lucky in even-yeared postseasons, sometimes guys and teams do get … (gasp) … lucky. The third inning of Tuesday night’s game was an example, as Jimmy Rollins just missed hitting a double against Lincecum’s changeup (Maxwell caught Rollins’ drive on the warning track) and Andrew Susac’s catcher’s interference on Puig went uncalled.
However, I’m of the mind that getting guys to ground (or line) into double plays is a skill. Maybe Lincecum — whose fastball has dropped to a Zitoian velocity of 86 mph on most occasions — finally figured out how to effectively pitch to contact without allowing a bunch of extra-base hits in the process. It’s only been three starts, but so far, so good.
His drag bunt to second to score Maxwell in the second was the kind of play that’ll show up in dads’ dreams for years. But holy crap, this double play.
Isn’t that Crawford’s second glove-flip this year? Such an attention hog, that Crawford. He just couldn’t handle Panik’s World Series glove-flip double play getting all the credit. The nerve.
What was more impressive?
1. Getting on base three times and catching Lincecum without a teary-eyed Timmy pointing at Hector Sanchez midway through the game and pleading for the team’s current Sanchy to get one more chance
2. That deep foul ball he hit into the right field arcade
If the Giants have a right-handed hitter who can realistically hit homers to right, that man should play every day.
Not only did he have a nice RBI base hit in the third inning, followed by a Hall of Fame look of dismay when Casey McGehee followed up with a double play grounder about two minutes later, but he’s playing a really good first base.
And looky-here, Brandon Belt just showed up in my apartment and he’s staring me down. C’mon Belt, relax. I don’t want you to get traded. Besides, your son and my daughter are almost the same age. They could be friends and stuff. Wait, why is Belt eating all of our cheese? Don’t the Giants feed him?
Aoki and Pagan
They had two hits each, but that’s the norm for those guys. Quit showin’ off! The other guys on the team need love, too.
If he doesn’t race over to cover first on Adrian Gonzalez’s grounder, it’s 4-2 in the eighth inning with two men aboard.
— The Timmy Twins (the fun one and the judgmental one):
— Scott Van Slyke in a Giants uniform: yes or hell yes? (He’s 28, there’s an OF logjam in Los Angeles, and unless I’m crazy or just wrong — each option is a possibility — he seems like a pretty good ballplayer. Not that the Dodgers would ever trade a talented outfielder to anyone in the NL West or anything.)
— The Dodgers are more talented than the Giants, but this Brandon McCarthy/Brett Anderson thing isn’t going to work. However, a couple of oft-injured starters who spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get people to laugh on Twitter does seem like the perfect addition to any L.A. team.
— One of the more fascinating questions surrounding the Giants right now: How long is McGehee going to be the unquestioned starter over Matt Duffy?
— I guess I should explain the lack of Giants posts over the last week and a half. Actually, I probably don’t need to, but I feel like I might as well explain so it doesn’t look like I’m only planning on writing posts after Giants wins.
As you may or may not have heard, a Bay Area Sports Baby was born back in early November. We really don’t want to leave our rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco until it becomes clear that we have no choice, so we’ve been clearing out one of our two closets (mine) to create a second bedroom. That has led to hours and hours of cleaning, shoving things into boxes, renting a storage unit (which made me feel really old for some reason) and driving all of our stuff to said storage unit in Alameda (because SF storage units are as expensive as one-bedroom apartments in my hometown of Eureka).
Toss in several hours of assorted childcare duties on top of that, plus the Warriors making history and stuff, and recapping Giants losses became less of a priority than in prior years. I’m not sure if anyone missed my Giants coverage while it went missing, but it hasn’t vanished. It’s just went from Buster Posey-level dependability to Hector Sanchez, and hopefully now we can get it at least back up to an Andrew Susac kind of pace for a bit before we get back to our usual Posey standard here at BASG.