Greek Giant

Kris Bryant had a Christmas in August yesterday at Willie Mays Field. When asked about his first game and first day in San Francisco the third baseman was positively ecstatic:

“I can’t say enough good things about this first day.”I feel giddy. It felt like Christmas morning honestly.”

No small amount of this enthusiasm is due to Kris Bryant growing up a huge Barry Bonds fan. In fact when Farhan Zaidi confirmed the trade and first spoke with Kris Bryant the Giant Big Kahuna and Master of the Baseball universe said something to the effect that he could not recall a player more enthusiastic to join his new team after a trade.

Mr. Bryant homered in his second at bat as a Giant to start a three-run really in the bottom of the third when the Giants were behind 2-0 to Luis Garcia of the Astros. Bryant struck out in his first bat and was the proud recipient of a standing ovation by the hometown fans as he was headed to the plate. It was quite a sight.

Speaking of Mr. Garcia, the Astro righty has a pitching wind-up so absurd, so perverse, so scintillatingly awful in its mechanics and aesthetics that it must be seen to be believed. The histrionics would not be enough to stifle the Giants line up on this day as all five San Francisco runs would score after two outs. It was Bryant, the new Giant who rocketed a fastball over the left field wall in his second at bat to wake up the San Francisco bats and the fans in the stands.The homer came with two outs and was followed by a majestic double by Mike Yastrezmski and a walk by Buster Posey. Yaz’s double would have been a home run in 28 other Major League ballparks but alas, it was no big deal as Brandon Crawford would single him in to tie the game. Darrin Ruf would then follow with a beautiful single to right on a hard fastball with two strikes that was half an inch outside and knee high. Mr. Ruff also hit a two-run homer and after this game I think it is safe to say “He is en fuego.”

The other big story, apart from Kris Bryant’s eventful debut and Darrin Ruf’s big day at the plate, was Logan Webb who pitched six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits to earn his fifth victory of the year. Webb’s fastball was particularly electric. He threw it to great effect to right-handed batters. In many instances the pitch appeared headed off the plate outside only to tail back in towards the batter and paralyze the poor sap on his way to a strike or strike out. By keep the pitch knee high or lower Webb was able to mostly neutralize the powerful Houston line up, with the exception of the small glitch of a two-run home run by Yuli Gurriel who is definitely going to get some MVP votes in the American League this year.

I called Bryant’s first game as a Giant “eventful” because his throwing error with no outs in the top of the fifth allowed Martin Maldonado, the hitter, to reach third. But Logan Webb would retire the next three Astro hitters in a display of mettle and magic that was worthy of Tim Lincecum.

Here is a nice video the Giants put together to commemorate Kris Bryant’s Giant debut:

The Box

With the win the Giants keep their three-game lead in the National League West over the Dodgers. For the homestand the Giants took two of three from the Bums and the Astros, the teams with the second and third-best records in baseball. Considering these series wins occurred without Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt in the line up it says a lot about our boys and their ability to play well against the best MLB has to offer. The Giants are now 35-17 at home, the best mark in the Majors.

Today the Giants begin a four-game series in Phoenix to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. It will be Athony Desclafani vs Taylor Widener in the desert. First pitch is at 6:40 PM.