I stand corrected. The Giants are super-crisp on defense and the bullpen is stellar. Or so it would seem.
The Giants just swept the Bums at Oracle to take the lead in the season series 3 – 2. The losses being from when the Nemesis “swept” the brace of games down at the ravine, back in May – if two games can be called a sweep.
This weekend we were dominant and took advantage of their mistakes – something we were very effective at last year. We were adept at frustrating the Bums and then taking advantage of their mistakes last year.
The Dodgers spend $117 million more than us for the 26 guys on the field. Their payroll is literally twice ours. So, they think they are way better than us. I love when we prey on that hubris. It all started last season.
We swung the momentum last year on that incredible catch by Mike Tauchman. It changed everything with the series. You may remember the Giants got swept at home by the Dodgers to start the season in ’21. Then they went down to Chavez Ravine and took three of four, in a complete turnaround. We were a point of conversation in their club house all year long after that, down to the moment we took the division from them on the last day of the regular season. I love it.
The Tauchman catch was the igniting moment. A brilliant play by a short-term-Giant, a role player, a substitute. It’s part of who we are until July nowadays. The philosophy of this staff is to use an unheard of number of different players, deep into the season.
The staff matches all these guys up against the regular multi-millionaires who fill every day slots on the other side. Max Muncy played 144 games last season, Chris Taylor, 148. Justin Turner played 151 games last year. By comparison, no Giant played 140 games.
This year, the Giants fell behind because the two losses in L.A. came early in a season that started late. It was an awkward brace stuck on the calendar at the end of a road trip to rectify the lockout delay. The Giants lost competitively. Carlos Rodon took a loss because our injury- and covid-depleted lineup couldn’t produce any runs. Game two was a close Alex Wood start.
The Giants completed the home sweep this weekend, behind a brilliant start by Carlos Rodón. They won the series showing every tactic Kap and Co. have displayed over the last two seasons:
- Use a converted starter, pulled from the pool of relievers – in this case to cover for Disco, out on the 60-day – and manage the ‘pen to success. That was game one, Jake Junis’ fourth win
- a full-on bullpen game, using Sam Long as an opener and seven pitchers in total, in game two
- a traditional starting pitcher handing off to the ‘pen after six, Carlos Rodón, in game three
Offensively, the Giants bats were relatively quiet against Dodgers pitching. Darin Ruf had an emotional return and his big bat Friday night helped Jake Junis get another win, but other than that, the Giants did just enough to win. They were aided by a wild pitch.
It was interesting that Joc Pederson and Mike Yasztremski did not start game three. Heliot Ramos started at center field and Austin Slater in right to face the lefty Clayton Kershaw. When the Giants took the lead on the two solo shots and Kershaw did not return to the mound after the fourth, Yaz came in for Slater to lead off the fifth and Joc came in for Heliot Ramos, against the righty Yency Almonte.
Though neither got on, in the eighth, Pederson singled off Craig Kimbrel and fortuitously scored on a wild pitch two batters later. Kapler’s use of Slater and Ramos against the lefty ahead of Joc and Yaz was not costly, with Austin’s brilliant defense, it was of benefit. Austin Slater homered, too. For the third night in a row, the bullpen held. Giants 2, Dodgers 0.
There is much to ponder here. That was an exceptional display by our management and staff that showed off so many small details. We picked up Carlos Rodón this past winter and expected him to be a starter we could rely on, he is. The bullpen game worked again and the system is now 3 – 2 in bullpen games. Jake Junis has truly grown into a starter. Oh and …
WE JUST SWEPT THE BUMS AT HOME, CONVINCINGLY!
The Bums have excuses, as usual.
Immediately after his loss, Walker Buehler went on the six to eight week DL. He won’t be back until the stretch run. His elbow has been a mess for a long time and this work is overdue. He blamed it for his struggles immediately after the game and they shut him down. I am happy to take that win off the brother on his way to the hospital.
It was Clayton Kershaw’s first start in a month. But guess what? It was Austin Slater who homered off him. Lefty-facing-specialist-next man up was in full effect for the Giants.
The bullpen was amazing this weekend. They won a bullpen game against the Dodgers and shut them down in the later innings for Jake Junis and Carlos Rodón. It was an inspired performance by the ‘pen. It really flummoxes me, this ‘pen and this philosophy. I just still don’t understand how it works.
Everything had to go right at so many specific moments for us to sweep those guys this weekend. All of it did. Most of it was premeditated and prescribed by our system. But as I have said before, it feels like walking along the edge of a very tall building, going through games with these guys.
When they are precise, the mistake battle with even the best teams, becomes a war of attrition to see who blinks first. Taking the run off the wild pitch by Kimbrel, one of the best in the game, was the only real “lucky stroke.” But we created the conditions for it to cost them.
I am blown away by this weekend’s performance. Kudos to Kap and co. Well done, everybody.
Gotta wake up the bats against the Royals this week, though.
Let’s Go Giants!