Bruce Bochy summarized it best: "That’s one of those games that saves your sanity." No doubt. Of course, Bochy is referring to Angel Pagan's ninth inning three run home run--he often seems like a three-run-home-run kind of guy. And I can't say that I didn't feel a touch of schadenfreude when Sean Marshall blew his first save of the season, especially after the troubles of the Giants bullpen.
So, if we're going to focus on sanity, what positives might we take out of Cincinnati?
First, Brandon Belt had a few days of being a little less jerked around. The result: Belt returns to San Francisco with a .273/.368/.364 slash line. Aubrey Huff will be on the DL for the next few weeks, so I'd like to think that with some regular playing time, Belt can keep up these kind of numbers while reducing those ugly strikeouts (11K in 38 PA). Whether he has a hole in his swing or not, plenty of people would take that .368 OBP.
Second, Santiago Casilla was on fire. It's the kind of stuff that .GIFs were created for:
|From McCovey Chronicles (here)|
Yup. That's the fearsome Joey Votto, Mr. HBP. I'm sure he's glad this series is over, considering that he went 2/11 with 5 strikeouts.
Third, that guy at shortstop. Unless you obsessively followed spring training (like myself), or you're a fan of the Fresno Grizzlies, you probably hadn't heard of Joaquin Arias. Maybe you had vague memories of something about the A-Rod trade, which sent Arias to Texas rather than Robinson Cano. However, that shouldn't make a difference. You knew who Miguel Tejada and Orlando Cabrera were, and that didn't help, now did it?
Small sample size and all that aside, Arias was impressive, with two hits and a walk in four plate appearances, and, with the exception of one play involving Drew Stubbs and an infield hit, good defense. He bound to show up at some point, given that he had 28 hits in 70 ABs down in Fresno, with a .990 OPS, and given that the Giants really needed another available middle infielder. Some day we'll all have a good laugh when somebody recalls that Huff played second base on April 21st.
The Giants begin a nine-game homestand on Friday, facing the Padres, the Marlins, and the Brewers. I'd like to think that they could make quick work of the Padres, considering that San Diego contributed to padding the Dodger's 13-6 record. It's only fair. With any luck, they'll also face Miami (7-11) and Milwaukee (9-10) before either of those two teams get hot.
Finally, let's not forget Pablo Sandoval. While everybody is watching Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and all the new guys, he's started the season with a nineteen game hitting streak (the longest in franchise history), in which he's hit .333/.388/.513.
I invite you to mull that over with some Ornette Coleman.