Greek Giant

Hello again first place. The Giants were out of first for about 17 hours and decided they prefer life at the top of the National League West thanks to their 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in a dramatic ball game.

When Darin Ruf strode up to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with the Giants tied and runners on first and second with two out, our boys of summer were 4 for their last 42 with runners in scoring position. That stat more than any other tells the story of why they were on the verge of losing five straight, something that has not yet happened in this amazing season. Mr. Ruf, ever the professional hitter, took two pitches to assess the stuff of one Devin Williams, one of the most dominant right handed relievers in the Major Leagues. On the third pitch Ruf stroked a change up low and in down the left field line to bring home Kris Bryant with the winning run. It was the hit we have all been waiting for during this bad stretch. In fact Bryant was on second base after stealing the bag and having the call overturned. Initially the new Giant was called out but Gabe Kapler ordered the play reviewed and replays showed Bryant got his hand to the bag just an eyelash before he was tagged. With BB9 up and a base open the Brew Crew opted to walk the Giant first baseman to set up the showdown with Darin (Cold-Blooded Hitter) Ruf.

To make this 5-1 victory over a very strong Brewers team even more glorious Thairo Strada, Mr. Smooth at second base filling in for Donovan Solano, whacked a three-run homer into the left field bleachers to give us all an opportunity to exhale. It was a mammoth hit for many reasons. Mr. Estrada may have just opened a few eyes with regards to his future with the Giants considering Donnie Barrels is a free agent this season. The homer was only the second ever hit off Devin Williams by a right hander in his career. It was gorgeous.

Despite the eighth inning heroics by Ruf and Estrada my vote for the game ball goes to Logan Webb who has the third lowest ERA in the BIGs since the All Star Break. In his last 14 starts he has an ERA of 1.46 and has held opponents to two runs or less in each start. The Giants have won twelve of those games, including yesterday’s. During the in-game interview with Kevin Gausman the Giant remarked that Webb has shown great confidence with every new start and his pitches are all very strong. On this day Logan Webb had a devastating slurve. Many call it a slider but it is not a slider. It breaks nearly as much as a curve and with its 3/4 downward action at 92 it is nearly un-hittable. What makes it so special is Webb’s ability to locate it for a strike in and out or down the middle of the plate. In nearly every instance the Brewer batters knew what pitch was coming and were helpless against it. Watch the at bats by Jackie Bradley Jr. and you will see how futile he was against Webb on this day. You will also see how good Webb is with his fastball when he needs it. When hitters sit on the slurve and still miss they are utterly overwhelmed by Webb’s easy 94 MPH gas.

What impressed me as much about Webb’s outing is his efficiency, He was ahead in the count on nearly every hitter. After every pitch Webb would grab Casali’s toss to the mound and go right to work on the rubber, getting his pitch and firing away. The pitch between pitch rhythm and timing ensured Webb had the initiative against every batter. Were it not for a soft two out single by Jace Peterson with a man on in the top of the fourth Webb has a shutout outing. In fact, I daresay it was a bit too conservative of Gabe Kapler to pull Logan Webb after seven innings and 92 pitches. Webb could easily have gone eight innings if not even nine. He was that strong. He was that stable and he was that good.

The game began in opportunistic fashion for the Giants when slumping Austin Slater rocketed the first pitch he saw from Eric Lauer leading off in the bottom of the first over the wall in left center. The home run came off a high fastball that Slater ambushed, once again on the first pitch. Apart from that homer Lauer was positively brilliant in doing his Tom Glavine impersonation. He allowed three hits in his seven innings of work against our boys and in the process induced weak fly ball after weak pop up on 92 MPH fastballs up in the zone that the Giants could not catch up to. When he too was pulled after seven and ninety by Brewers OverManager Craig Counsell it gave new life to the Giants. In fact, this game demonstrates the absurdity of over-managing and how analytics-obsessed decisions ruin the game. When you pull Webb and Lauer after seven in a game like this and when the starters are cruising so efficiently, so dominantly, something is very wrong.

The Brewers demonstrated their pitching depth throughout the series despite this loss. I could see them winning it all if their starters continue this run of dominance in the postseason. With their bullpen a lead, even in the early innings, makes them very very tough to beat.

The Box

This was kind of a textbook 2021 Giants win. It showed how good the Giants are when they homer and when their starters go deep into a game. The Giants continue to lead the Majors in homers with 201 at this point and it is fascinating to remember this has never happened before.  It is simply an astounding feat since not one of their players will hit as many as 30 in all likelihood. The Giants are a team that lives and dies off power and it will be interesting to see how that type of hitting attack plays out in the postseason against the best pitching in the National League.

The Giants Around the Web

ESPN Game Story Game Story

San Jose Mercury News Game Story

Chronicle Game Story

Ali Thanawalla has a cool piece on the historic importance of this weekend’s series against the Bums.

MLB and Mike Petriello just published a very cool article on Willie Mays Field and the Giants leading the Majors in homers.


The Showdown Starts Tonight

The Giants and Los Angelinos enter this three game series at Willie Mays Field tied for first place. Tonight it will be David Price vs Anthony Desclafani. First pitch is at 6:45 PM! Oh how I would love to be there!