After being humbled by the Los Angeles Dodgers, we saw the San Francisco Giants bounce back to take both games vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-backs have now lost ten straight and hold onto the worst record in the National League at 18-32. The wins for San Francisco propelled the Giants to a record of 30-19. This record is tied for second in the NL West with the Dodgers.
The Giants coasted to an 8-0 victory in game one. Kevin Gausman was, well, Kevin Gausman, tossing five innings of shutout baseball while fanning nine D-backs. After Tuesday’s victory, Gausman saw his ERA drop to 1.53, good for the fourth-best in all of baseball. Brandon Crawford stayed hot, adding three RBI to the back of his baseball card with a bases-clearing double in the first. Evan Longoria chimed in with a three-run home run in the third.
Game two was an absolute heartbreaker for Diamondback fans. D-backs hitters were all over Johnny Cueto, who surrendered eight hits and four earned runs in five innings of work. Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly pitched extremely well. He was pinpoint with his command, dotting pitches on the corners for strikes. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Giants got to him for two runs.
Ruf Day for Darin
The Giants continue to get pounded by soft-tissue injuries this year. Brandon Belt has been in and out of the Giants lineup all year. Although, some might say he has been in and out of the lineup for eleven years. It seems as if Belt is always dealing with some nagging ailment. Ahead of Wednesday’s game, manager Gabe Kapler decided to place Belt on the IL.
Darin Ruf was slated to take over responsibilities at first. The position seemed to be his, and his alone, as Belt joined backup first basemen Wilmer Flores and Tommy La Stella, who are also on the IL. Ruf has served primarily as a pinch-hitter this year. However, after La Stella and Flores went down, his playing time and production have increased. Over the last seven days, Ruff has six hits in 15 at-bats. That’s a .400 average to save you some time.
Unfortunately for Darin Ruf, he joined the long list of injured first basemen in the sixth inning. This happened only a few hours after it was announced that Belt was heading to IL. Ruf lined a ball into left-center field and took a hard turn around first base. After a few steps towards second, Ruf pulled up hard, grabbing at his right leg. It appears to be a hamstring issue, but Ruf will be evaluated further in LA on Thursday.
Ruf had this to say about his injury after the game.
“The main frustration was knowing that I was going to be able to get some time at first with Brandon’s unfortunate side injury. We can’t help the timing on these things, but it was definitely frustrating knowing that I was going to hopefully be able to be in there more often and help the team.”
Gabe Kapler’s options are limited right now. If the Giants bounce back from all of these injuries at first, it’s going to come from an unlikely source. Jason Vosler took over first base duties on Wednesday night. Other options could include Austin Slater or LaMonte Wade Jr.
Giants Bounce Back After Pair of Bombs
Austin Slater needs to seriously consider holding onto that relatively creepy mustache that he’s been sporting, long after the month of May ends. Because Austin “Mustache” Slater hit a ball to Jupiter in Wednesday night’s come from behind victory. Although a bit of exaggeration was implemented there, the ball still traveled a very long way–finally setting up camp in the second deck at Chase Field. Statcast marked the ball at 109.1 mph off the bat and a whopping 460 feet.
Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Evan Longoria are all enjoying a surge in home runs in 2021–although, a lot of balls are being ambushed by Giants hitters. They seem to always lay down their bats and respectfully trot around the bases. The new norm of lobbing your bat 60 feet six inches in the air after hitting a homer hasn’t made it into the Giants clubhouse. Well, that is until Austin Slater hit his 460-foot tank. Slater got every inch of that ball, and all 8,597 people in attendance knew it too. Not only did Slater mash the pitch, but his two-run shot also tied the game at four apiece in the eighth. Slater diverted from his club’s “put-your-head-down and run” tendencies, tossing his bat halfway down the first baseline.
The First of Hopefully Many by Jason Vosler
Austin Slater’s monster homer silenced the crowd at Chase Field but ran a spark through the Giants dugout. Apparently, some sparks flew over into the on-deck circle as well. Jason Vosler, who was on deck at the time of the murdering of that baseball, had the best view in the house.
Jason Vosler came up to bat. He quickly fell behind o-2. Vosler turned what appeared to the makings of a very quick out number three into a nine-pitch battle. Vosler drove the ninth pitch of the at-bat to right field. The ball eventually landed in the only glove that wouldn’t put a frown on his face, teammate Jake McGee’s. McGee was warming up in the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning when he got a souvenir in Vosler’s first big-league homer. The home run came a month after Vosler recorded his first-ever big-league hit. The solo shot broke the tie and gave the Giants a 5-4 lead. That is where the score would remain. Vosler, who explained during post-game interviews that he doesn’t even remember anything after hitting the ball, should see an opportunity for more playing time with all of the club’s injuries.
Something that winning teams all have in common is team chemistry. Sure, you could bunch up a group of talented guys and run them out onto a baseball field. However, without a high level of team chemistry, long-term success isn’t to be expected. The Giants chemistry levels this year are about as high as you could imagine. They play for one another, and that next “man-up” mantra is working at full force. A great example of this is Gabe Kapler’s comments on Evan Longoria after Vosler’s homerun.
Gabe Kapler on Evan Longoria’s Reaction to Jason Vosler’s Homer
“I can’t remember the last time I heard and saw Longoria so excited. I’ve seen him have game-winning home runs where he wasn’t as excited as he was for Vosler right there. That’s when you know how people feel about one of their teammates.”
Giants Look to Bounce Back vs. LA
The Giants were able to bounce back vs. the NL worst Diamondbacks after getting beaten to a pulp by the Dodgers. The question now becomes, can the Giants bounce back vs. those Dodgers? The Giants are supposed to beat the Dbacks, and they have done an excellent job at beating the teams they are supposed to. However, if the Giants want to get any respect in the NL West, they will have to beat Los Angeles, not Arizona. The Giants lost the first in their four-game set on Thursday by a score of 4-3, so they are right there with the Dodgers. They will look to take game two Friday night in LA.
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Jake McGee, Buster Posey, LaMonte Wade Jr, Austin Slater, Jason Vosler, Wilmer Flores, Tommy La Stella, Darin Ruf, Brandon Belt, Merrill Kelly, Johnny Cueto, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Kevin Gausman,