by DrLefty

A “dying quail” is a baseball idiom that means (per Wikipedia) “A pop fly which is hit weakly and falls in front of the outfielders.” An expression that means “weak hitting” is an apt metaphor for the Giants’ 2024 season at the one-quarter pole. But what about a strong, triumphant pelican living its best life? What does that signify?

Well, we’re now 1-0 in the #RallyPelican era, and he(?) even managed to piss off the Oracle Park Seagull, which is never a bad thing.

(And yes, I’m aware that the Seagull misspelled “your.” But what are you gonna do? It’s a bird.)

 

Anyway, inspired by the #RallyPelican, the Giants actually won their first game in ten days that wasn’t against the Rockies. The scuffling (and that’s putting it politely) Matt Chapman got off the schneid with a grand slam that gave starter Mason Black and a cast of relievers all they needed.

 

The other notable thing about the game (besides that the Giants actually won it) was that there was some stellar outfield defense, including three (3) outfield assists, two by Heliot Ramos (more on him later) and one by Mike Yastrzemski. With all due respect to Ramos, you will not see a better play in RF at Oracle than what Yaz did there.

 

What a Difference a Week Makes

Don’t be misled by the subheading. The Giants still sucked this week, just like they did last week. No, what’s different is…well, pretty much the whole roster. Remember the River Cats, the AAA team in West Sacramento? Well, they’re now the San Francisco Giants. If you look at the Transactions page on sfgiants.com, you’ll see eighteen (18) transactions in the last seven days. The following players have gone on the injured list: Patrick Bailey (back now), Tom Murphy, Jorge Soler,  Nick Ahmed, Austin Slater, and, presumably, Michael Conforto, who hurt his hamstring in yesterday’s game. Jung Hoo Lee hasn’t played in several days after he fouled a ball off his foot. Meanwhile, Daulton Jefferies was recalled, pitched (poorly) in a game, was DFA’d, and has now joined his ol’ buddy Joey Bart on the Pittsburgh Pirates after a trade. Mitch White went through a similar progression and was sold to the Brewers.

Meanwhile, up from the River Cats came both of their main catchers (Blake Sabol and Jakson Reetz) after Bailey and Murphy went down in quick succession in that awful four-game series in Philly. Reetz is now back in AAA with the return of Bailey from the concussion protocol. Also arriving were Black, Ramos (once Soler went on the IL), Casey Schmitt (Ahmed), and then Brett Wisely (Slater–Wisely can play some OF, but they wanted Wisely’s left-handed bat available). It was reported that Luis Matos was pulled from the AAA game in Salt Lake City last night once Conforto got hurt, so it sounds like he’ll be along for today’s game.

In other injury news, Blake Snell is making a rehab start (wow, what a good idea!) for the San Jose Giants today and could be back in the big league rotation by next weekend. It is worth noting that yesterday’s win (started by Black and won by Taylor Rogers, since Black didn’t go five innings) was the first time all season that the Giants have won a game in the “Snelly Cat” spot in the lineup. They’d been 0-7 with a hideous run differential in those spots. So I’m trying to be hopeful and optimistic about the return of Snell, but I’m not gonna lie–I have trust issues now.

 

Who Will Grab the Opportunity?

That is quite a parade of River Cats. The Giants were flying so many guys to Philadelphia last weekend that I was speculating on how many frequent flyer miles the team was earning (or spending). I also wondered how the actual River Cats, who were playing well, are weathering the loss of about half their team in a week. (Their L10 is 4-6, but they’re still 22-16 and in first place in their division.) I want to highlight three players who so far are making the most of a (possibly brief) opportunity.

  1. Mason Black: Black has now made two starts, going 4+ and 4.1 innings. He wasn’t stretched out in Sacramento to go much further and clearly hit a wall in Philly after pitching well for four innings. Yesterday went better, and he gave up just one run on four hits.
  2. Heliot Ramos: Ramos is 3 for 12 so far with some stellar defense in the outfield. By 2024 Giants’ standards, hitting .250 makes you an All-Star. What I’ve noticed so far is that he’s taking much more competitive and patient at-bats than I remember seeing even in Sacramento. He appears to be in good spirits and comfortable with himself, even though he’s been the source of some controversy among Giants fans because the front office continually ignores him. Anyway, he’s here now and probably isn’t going anywhere soon with Soler, Slater, and now Conforto on the shelf. He may finally get the real major league opportunity that he’s never yet had, and then we’ll see. That’s all you can ask for.
  3. Blake Sabol: As I’ve noted here before, the Giants essentially chose Sabol over Bart last year, and that looked pretty foolish with Bailey and Murphy ensconced in the two catching roles and Sabol banished to AAA. Then, as mentioned, Bailey and Murphy both got injured, and now Sabol is back. He’s 6 for 16 (.375) with an .882 OPS and has looked noticeably better behind the plate than he did last year.

 

Honorable mention: Sean Hjelle. I’m not sure whether to count Hjelle as a River Cat who came up, since he started the season on the IL and was activated onto the major league roster when he was healthy. He’s appeared in seven games and only allowed runs in two of those. He also has 14 strikeouts and one walk in 11.2 innings pitches and a WHIP of 0.89.

I’m not sure what else to say about the Giants right now. The first 25% of the season has not been good. But there’s been so much upheaval over the past week that it’s hard to know what might happen next. They might keep losing (especially with the Dodgers coming into town) but in different ways than they have been. I think, though, I’m more entertained with the possibility of some young talent making a difference than I am by another week with Nick Ahmed or Austin Slater. So we’ll see how things look in a week or so.

 

Today’s Game

Reds at Giants, 1:05 p.m., Oracle Park

Frankie Montas vs. Kyle Harrison

Here’s the Giants’ lineup. Lee is back, and…so many River Cats. But hey–Happy Harry Day!

 

Here’s the requisite Mother’s Day video montage, but since when is Alyssa Nakken a “dude,” and why isn’t she getting a shoutout for her first Mother’s Day??  Lefty out.