Greek Giant

The Giants combination of six relievers who pitched in yesterday’s 5-0 win in Milwaukee were mighty impressive. It wasn’t just the shutout against a good team, yeah that’s cool! It was also the fact that the Giants were able to go zero for zero with Brewer starter Julio Teheran until the San Franciscans pushed a run across with two outs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a clutch RBI single by LaMonte Wade Jr. (the first of three hits for the Giant first baseman) hat scored Casey Schmitt, who had stolen second base earlier in the at bat.

That steal was the key to the run in a game that was tense and filled with outstanding defensive plays by both teams particularly in the outfield.

A Game With Tremendous Defense

Yaz made a running, leaping catch to rob Darrin Ruf, now a Brewer, of a home run in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. The smile that Ruf gave Yaz and vice versa was very cool. Yaz’s catch was a great play because he had to cover at least 100 feet of territory and then time his leap right in front of the wall. His speed and superb rout to the ball meant that he was able to position himself and leap at the right moment. It was great outfielding!

Brewers center fielder Joey Wimer made several excellent plays of his own. So did Christian Yelich. In fact, Wiemer can sure cover ground but he also did two other impressive things. Twice when Giant runners were stealing second base the Brewer center fielder hustled to back up errant throws and prevent the San Francisco team from advancing to third. It happened on Schmitt’s steal in the top of the fifth, for example.

There were other heads up plays to mix in with the great plays. The Giants John Brebbia, with Wily Adames on second after a double, was able to pick off the Brewer and get him in a run-down. With Adames heading to third and Thairo Estrada behind him trying to tag the runner out, second base was empty. But, fear not because LaMonte Wade Jr. hustled from first base to catch the final throw in the pickle and tag the runner out. It was heads up defense again. Adames is safe at second if Wade Jr. is not there.

One more highlight: J. D. Davis made a spectacular, I mean absolutely ridiculously beautiful play on slow roller hit by Wily Adames with two outs in the bottom of the first. That ball was bouncing and Davis had to run in and grab it with his barehand ON A SHORT-HOP and then throw out a fast runner. You will not see a third baseman make a better play than that ever. Davis had to use his speed to get to the ball, use his skill to field and use a strong and accurate arm to make the decisive throw.  It was just sublime.

The Relievers Pitch a Shutout

All of these great plays helped the Giants pitching corps on this night limit their pitches and stay ahead of potential rallies. The Giants who pitched were Scott Alexander, who started the game and went one inning; Taylor Rogers for 1 1/3 innings; Jacob Junis for 2 1/3 innings and the win; Manaea for 1 1/3 innings, Tyler Rogers for one inning and John Brebbia for two innings.

Sean Manaea displayed a mean, tailing 96 MPH fastball that looks very Randy Johnson-esque all of a sudden and over-powered a few Brewers. Wow, he has turned things around!

Each of the relievers put up zeroes. The combined total of hits allowed was four, with 13 strikeouts and 2 walks. That’s mighty, mighty good by the bullpen!

That makes four shutouts on the season for the Giants

The Giants Break the Game Open

The Giants added four crucial runs in the top of the eighth inning to break the game open. The second run of the game came off a moonshot home run by Michael Conforto that went into the second deck over right center field and nearly destroyed a Toyota Sequoia that was exhibited for a marketing ploy.

Casey Schmitt drove in two runs with a laser beam double in power alley that off the bat looked like it would only be a single. But it got by the Brewer outfield since it was hit so hard. Sabol scored from first and read the play perfectly.

The other run came off Patrick Bailey’s double down the right field line. Bailey is looking good at the plate.

By the way, Michael Conforto had four hits and is simply on fire. His timing and easy power are barreling up balls in record fashion. He now leads the Giants in home runs with eleven. Stay hot kid!

This game was a textbook Farhan Zaidi special that saw the Opener and relief corps pitch flawlessly, a home run, manufactured runs, and patient at bats. When the Analytics philosophy works, it works. Let’s not forget, however, the importance of excellent defense on this night.

The Giants are now 25-25, 5.5 games behind the Dodgers, and in third place. Basically, they have rebounded from a bad April and have a new season. As the old adage goes: “You can’t win a division in the first month of the season but you sure can lose it.” The Giants are now playing with great confidence in all phases of the game and I can’t help but attribute this super defense, pitching and hitting to the infusion of young blood with Casey Schmitt and Patrick Bailey.

The rest of the way could be very interesting indeed. With the excellent play of Schmitt and Bailey will we see a promotion of Luis Matos for Center Field? What about Kyle Harrison? I say call them both up and let’s see what happens.

Tonight’s Game

The second game of the series takes place tonight at 7:10 PM, Robin Yount time. The pitching matchup is listed as Wood against Peralta. It could be a good one!