Greek Giant

This game is where the term “stopper” comes from in baseball. For those of you just tuning in, “stopper” refers to an ace starting pitcher who is able to stop a losing streak and single-handedly take control of a ballgame, right the ship, turning momentum and any other positive cliche about changing the fortunes of a baseball team mired in the death throes of a struggle for its life. Last night Madison Bumgarner did exactly that, pitching a no-hitter through five and going seven strong innings allowing only one hit and zero runs. It was a sensational performance to say the least, particularly against a team like the Phillies pretty much loaded with pop and circumstance when it comes to hitting baseballs.

The Giants have won five of Bumgarner’s starts in a row and eight of the last nine. Even when he does not get the W MadBum gives his team a very good shot at earning a victory against anyone. This is what defines an Ace. Even though the big fella only had three strikeouts last night he was dominant, initiating weak contact and in control of the game from the first pitch.

Mike Yastrzemski (aka “glass of whiskey” according to Pablo Sandoval) hit a homer run and doubled in two runs. He is found money, the Farhan Zaidi variety. Right now he is more valuable to the Giants than bitcoin to a shadowy digital speculator. The 28 years-young rookie tied his grandfather Carl with 11 homers in his inaugural season. Grand papa did it with about 360 more at-bats. Yastrzemski is one of those old-school all-around ballplayers in the mold of Joe Panik. He runs well. he has baseball smarts beyond stats. He plays the outfield better than competently and he is lean and mean and hungry for success. Let’s contrast Yaz to Giant veterans who are floating into baseball oblivion with their fat contracts, below replacement level hitting stats, and general ennui…

The Giants (and I) needed this game in a bad way.

Last night’s game was aired on Youtube. It was a success with resounding praise from the harshest audience I know: The Together We’re Giants commentariat. There were no commercials, pleasant between inning vignettes and inspired analyses. I stand corrected and officially eat crow after my criticisms of the idea in yesterday’s post!

The Box