Greek Giant

The Twists and Turns Were Brutal and Sublime

Just when I was ready to write the post for this game with the title “To Farhan With Love, Joey Bart” the Giants do the unexpected and win, 7-6 over the Pirates. It was more than a win. It was the first time in franchise history the Giants won back-to-back games on the road when trailing by four runs or more! Take that Ex-Giant Pirates!

This game had it all. It was the baseball equivalent of War and Peace, only it took place in the city of Three Rivers famous for its steel production. If I had the time I would probably write a 5,000-word analysis of absolutely karmic this game was. To begin with we had the requisite Ex-Giants come back to haunt the team that jettisoned them when Andrew McCutchen started the bottom of the first inning off with a first-pitch ambush of an Eric Miller fastball in the form of a home run.

But this was no ordinary home run. It was nearly the greatest catch you ever saw because Luis Matos ran nearly 60 yards and with full steam leaped over the fence, caught the ball over the wall and then dropped it as he violently slammed into said wall. It was amazing he was not hurt on the play, to be honest. It was one of the most scintillating efforts I have ever seen. It reminded me of a similar play by Angel Pagain, also in Pittsbugh, also nearly robbing a home run, also dropping it after a violent collision with the wall. If my memory serves me well it took place in 2014 or 2015. At any rate Matos showed me quite a bit on that play. He showed me he is a gamer, a player who goes all out on any play and is willing to sacrifice his body. It was scary, awesome and disappointing all at the same time.

The Melvin-Zaidi Duo Totally F**k-Up the Starting Pitching Situation

That made the game 1-0 and things were looking bleak for the Giants with Eric Miller, starting as a reliever. Miller then retired the side with efficiency and actually looked very impressive. I really liked his fastball and his slider. I think this kid has serious potential and should be a starter. I also think it was downright idiotic to start him and then yank him after only 1 2/3 innings when A., the Giants bullpen is spent and B, he was pitching so well. and C, you decide to bring in Mason Black who is a starting pitcher! So here is what happened regarding the Giants/Bob Melvin’s/Farhan Zaidi’s decision-making when it came to yesterday’s pitching: They use a reliever to start. Said reliever is pitching beautifully so they yank him in the middle of his second inning of work, only to bring in a rookie who has been a starter for all or the better part of his career! Is it me or is this seriously flawed logic to the point of being downright idiotic!

Here is what happened next: Mason Black stunk! He pitched 2 2/3 innings giving up Joey Bart’s two-out grand slam in the bottom of the bottom of the fourth inning after walking two and hitting a batter. His stuff was all over the place. He was hittable and with a better team he might have given up eight runs instead of four. Now, Mason Black may end up being a stud in the Giants rotation in the future but using him in this non-sensical manner is akin to malignant baseball harm. It is the opposite of player development and it is a disaster for the Giants and for a kid like Mason Black. It amounts to grounds for dismissal if I am the Giants owner.

To Farhan, With Love, Says Joey Bart

It should be obvious by now to all who value logic and even to those Farhan Zaidi apologists that the Giants Head Kahuna committed an epic mistake in releasing Joey Bart and signing the other guy. Bart has thrived with the Pirates and his continued demolition of Giants pitching in this series had that extra juice of regret on it that only former players can have when they punish the team that gave up on them. Well. after Bart’s grand salami yesterday it looked like the narrative was written and that title I had ready for this post, actually coming from Footy Ryan (Thank you for your contributions good buddy!) was a sure thing, especially with Pirates Phenom, Paul Skenes pitching a shutout and cruising. Skenes was in fact fantastic and I must say the Giants put up a good fight against him only striking out three times and using the middle of the diamond and the opposite field to make contact. It felt like the strategy was working: Make contact, stay in the game until the bullpens take over, where the Giants may have an advantage.

The Giants Fight Back

The Giants pushed a cross a run in the top of the fourth to tie the game for a brief second before Bart’s dinger. That made it 5-1 and I was depressed and disgusted. But, as the bullpens took over with Skenes tiring and going six innings, the Giants fought back. In the top of the seventh inning Heliot Ramos homered to make it 5-2. Unfortunately the Pirates answered back with a home run by Brian Reynolds, making it 6-2 and seemingly ending the game.

If you are keeping score at home that’s three homers by the Pirates by former Giants (or former Giant prospects in the case of Reynolds) and six runs driven in. In fact Reynolds was traded for McCutchen who then returned to the Pirates. OUCH!

But the boys in orange and black rallied off a vulnerable Pirate bullpen with five runs in the top of the eighth inning. It all begin with a LaMonte Wade Jr. single (who else?) and an Estrada single. Then Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer, a booming shot, to electrify the Giants dugout and their fans watching across America and across the world. That made it 6-5. Jorge Soler then doubled and was driven in by a Wilmer Flores single past Pirates first baseman Rowdy Tellez. That hit came off the end of Flores’s bat and had an exit velocity around 35 MPH but the idea of going the opposite way, making contact and such proved the difference as the Pirates had their first baseman playing way off the line. That hit tied the game and set the stage for Brett Wisely’s two-out hit to center that scored Flores from second to give the Giants the lead. Flores, incidentally, was on second thanks to a passed ball by Joey Bart!

Wisely becomes the hero, who would have drawn that up!?!?!

The Pirates threatened in the bottom of the ninth thanks to an error by Marco Luciano that put Ji Hwan Bae on first base with nobody out. Cutch popped out and Patrick Bailey threw out Bae trying to steal second. From there Brian Reynolds singled (How big was that throw out by Bailey?!) before Tyler Rogers induced Conor Joe to pop out and end the game!

WOW! I’m exhausted just from writing all this. It was an incredible game and an unforgettable series!

“I can’t remember the Giants ever playing a series as exciting and crazy as this one.”

-Javy Lopez.

The Highlights

Tonight’s Game

The Giants begin a three-game series against the Mets in Queens. Tonight’s game is at 7:10 PM, Big Apple time with Harrison facing Scott. The Mets are reeling.