Giants Pull Out Another Strange Win
Tonight was weird. Up was down. Down was up. Blue skies were green. All that jazz. Here’s the short list of things that defied gravity in this game:
- Chris Stewart’s first career home run.
- Aubrey Huff with three hits, including a home run.
- Pablo Sandoval with two errors despite playing gold glove-quality defense all season long.
- Sergio Romo giving up his first hit after retiring 30+ guys in a row.
- Cody Ross’ pop-up “triple” to drive in a run with two outs (score that one 4-8-5-1).
- Santiago Casilla’s heart attack-inducing ninth inning where he loaded the bases before finally finishing the game by striking out Andrew McCutchen.
- Madison Bumgarner got a win.
This game was strange in every sense of the word and I can’t pretend to understand it. The last time the Giants won way back on August 3rd, similarly weird things went down. From this, you can extrapolate that lots of odd things need to fall in place in order for this ballclub to pull out a win. But the big story of the night in my mind is Aubrey Huff. The last time I saw him look that balanced at the plate was 2010, so this game is definitely a step in the right direction.
As much as I’ve advocated for Brandon Belt to be the everyday first baseman, this has been a direct result of Huff not hitting. If Beltran can get back to full healthy and Huff can start hitting like this regularly, the Giants may actually have some semblance of an offense, something they’ll need to fend off the Diamondbacks and their potent bats. Let’s say Huff can hit something like .280/.320/.440 the rest of the way. And then let’s say Beltran comes back and hits 3rd or 4th every day. And then we’ll assume nothing’s wrong with Pablo Sandoval. If, and that’s a big if, all this happens, then the Giants will officially have an OK offense. But let me stress the “if” part again, because potentiality can be a cruel, cruel master if you let it rule you completely.
In keeping with the “what if” theme of this post, let’s observe the Diamondbacks and the Giants from a pitching standpoint. Last year, DBacks ace Ian Kennedy threw 194 innings, the most in his professional career to date. This year, he’s at 156.1 already, and is well on pace to top 200 innings. Arizona co-ace, Daniel Hudson, is on a similar pace to top the 200 mark. Like Kennedy, Hudson has never thrown gone that deep into a season, making this new territory for the anchors of that pitching staff. The Giants staff, while worked hard last season as well, is much more accustomed to the workload of a long year. There’s a definite likelihood that the Arizona arms will tire come late September, putting the Giants and their much more experienced stable of arms at a huge advantage.
This is of course more speculation on my part, but if Mat Latos and his September meltdown last year told us anything, it’s that young arms get tired easily. If Aubrey Huff’s resurgence is for real, the Giants may very well be in a better position to take the NL West given the strength of their pitching staff. This of course can all be nullified tomorrow when Jeff Karstens pitches a no-hitter, but I’ve been starved of optimism the last couple weeks, so I’ll take good things where I can find them.