23 things to know from Giants’ historic win over Rockies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
If I told you that at some point over the last three seasons the Giants had gone two weeks without scoring 23 total runs, would you believe me? You might, right?
It’s not true, of course. But there certainly are plenty of recent stretches — maybe even the whole 2017 season — when a stat like that would seem almost plausible.
The Giants have had one of the worst lineups in the big leagues for years. That’s just how it has gone around here, with a lack of runs fully ingrained in the culture of this lengthy rebuild.
But something funny has happened during this unprecedented season. The Giants can hit, as Marty Lurie would say. They can really, really hit, and they showed it with a historic 23-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
It was Coors Field, of course, But this wasn’t a total fluke. The Giants rank third in the big leagues in runs after being 28th a year ago. The lineup is light years better than it was even in Farhan Zaidi’s first year, and after five weeks of keeping this team in the race, Giants hitters made a serious statement in their first game after the quiet trade deadline.
Zaidi and Scott Harris wanted to keep this group together and give the players a chance to sneak into the postseason. So far, so good.
“We’re very comfortable with what we had and them not making really any moves is something that we were fine with,” Alex Dickerson said. “We’re going to roll through and feel like we can win baseball games on a consistent basis. It’s a good vibe right now.”
That’s one way to describe the night. Here are 23 more things to know from one of the biggest blowouts in the franchise’s long history …
1. Seriously, the Giants are third in the majors in runs and they lead the way in hits after picking up 27 on Tuesday night. Only the San Diego Padres (211) and Los Angeles Dodgers (210) have scored more than the Giants (195). They’re averaging 5.27 runs per game this season. Last year they averaged 4.19.
The Giants are 12th in the big leagues in on-base percentage and eighth in slugging.
“We’ve been hitting well really all year,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “I think it says a lot about the guys that we have on this roster, but the hitting coaches who have come in here have been great. They’ve helped out a lot, whether it’s mechanical or good advanced scouting reports on these guys we’re facing. I think it has a lot to do with them helping us out this year.”
Gabe Kapler took some heat for hiring a young staff. At this rate, he might ultimately have trouble keeping Donnie Ecker, Justin Viele and Dustin Lind from getting offers to run the show elsewhere one day.
2. Dickerson was the star of stars, but Crawford was 3-for-6 with a homer and drove in six runs and Donovan Solano had four hits and six RBI. The Giants became the first team in MLB history to have three players drive in at least six runs in the same game.
3. Here’s my story from last night on Dickerson, who tied Willie Mays’ franchise record with 16 total bases and came just a few feet from hitting four homers. Mays is the only Giant who has done that in one game.
4. I was kidding about the 23 runs in two weeks, but that’s definitely more than they’ve scored on certain homestands and road trips over the last few years. Here’s one example:
5. Dickerson became the first Giant to ever record five extra-base hits in a game. He had six extra-base hits in 86 at-bats coming into this night.
7. Dickerson raised his batting average by 40 points in one game. His on-base percentage (he also drew a walk) went from .299 to .337. His slugging percentage went from .395 to .543.
8. This was a night for everyone to pile up the numbers, and Joey Bart had his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. With three singles, Bart raised his average from .161 to .222. He’s still looking for that first homer, but the Giants do have another one at Coors Field …
9. My favorite fact from this game: The Giants scored at least one run in each of the first eight innings. In the ninth, with catcher Drew Butera on the mound, they failed to score. Baseball!
Butera, who has pitched in mop-up duty six times before, actually had pretty good stuff. He mostly threw in the 70s but hit 88 mph at one point and struck out new Giant Daniel Robertson. He shouldn’t feel too bad. That was Butera’s fifth big league strikeout.
10. The Giants stranded Dickerson on second in the ninth, failing to become the first team since 1999 to score a run in all nine innings of a game. It has only happened nine times in MLB history.
11. Another one on Dickerson: He’s the first Giant to score five runs and drive in five runs in the same game since Phil Weintraub in 1944.
12. The Giants tied San Francisco-era records with the 23 runs and 27 hits. They beat the Braves 23-8 in 1990, the last time they’ve done anything like this. Will Clark hit two homers that day, and Clark and outfielder Rick Parker each drove in six runs.
13. A lot of Giants fans gave up on the veterans. Turns out they weren’t done:
14. The Giants entered the night directly behind the Rockies in the standings, but they’re now half a game up. With 23 to go, the Giants are currently in the eighth and final playoff spot, a game behind the Philadelphia Phillies and just ahead of a large pack of teams hanging right under .500.
15. A brief break to note that Kevin Gausman gave up just two runs in five innings, Andrew Suarez did some solid work out of the bullpen, and the defense stepped it up:
This was a complete win, although obviously the story was the hitting. Back to the hitting …
16. The Giants hit 16 balls at least 100 mph. Dickerson’s first double was 112.3 mph and his first homer left the bat at 109.
17. When Dickerson hit one into the bullpen in the second inning, he became the first Giant since Stan Javier in 1999 to homer in each of the first two innings of a game. Shoutout to Stan Javier!
18. The Rockies have the best social media team in baseball. That’s true in good times and in bad.
19. So, Dickerson has just four at-bats against lefties this season. The Rockies have Kyle Freeland on the mound Wednesday. Surely the platoon would be busted up for one day given what happened Tuesday, right? Henry Schulman made sure to ask Kapler, who burst out laughing.
“Oh man. That’s a good question. I’ve got to talk to Dick and see how he’s feeling,” Kapler joked. “I don’t know if his confidence is very high right now.”
20. Kapler has had a lot of tense nights already, but this one was a laugher pretty early, and there wasn’t much he needed to do in the late innings but sit back and watch.
“I certainly appreciated that every inning we were scratching and clawing for every inch,” he said. “There were plenty of good performances to go around up and down the lineup and some much needed production. It was certainly a good game top to bottom.”
21. Dickerson’s first homer went an estimated 480 feet, making it the longest by a Giant since Statcast started tracking in 2015. Only Giancarlo Stanton (483) has hit a longer homer this season.
The previous Statcast Era mark belonged to Brandon Belt, who hit one 475 back in 2015 at Coors Field. After that game, he laughed as he told reporters that he didn’t believe Statcast’s numbers. Belt has claimed several times in the years since that the upper-deck shot that day went much further than 475 feet, and when Dickerson got back to the dugout, Belt was there to point that out once again. For what it’s worth, Dickerson said he doesn’t totally believe those numbers either.
So, naturally, I had to ask Crawford — who was there for both — to make a final ruling.
“I told Belt right away that Dickerson’s went further,” he said, smiling. “I think I saw that it was five feet further. I told him I could tell.”
22. Dickerson said he’s never had a three-homer game at any level, but he did remember a couple of balls that went as far as the first one Tuesday. He said he hit one in Toronto a few years ago that he felt was just as impressive and noted that he had one in Triple-A in Salt Lake City (another ballpark at elevation) that went further.
23. The teams will play again on Wednesday afternoon, and if the Giants lose, this will all just be a series split. But big picture, this was a meaningful night. This lineup doesn’t have many holes right now, and with an expanded postseason field, the Giants have more than enough to hit their way into the playoffs and a likely first-round matchup with the Dodgers, who they have played tough this year.
Mike Yastrzemski has hit all year and is an MVP candidate, the core guys are rejuvenated, Solano appears to be past his slump, Dickerson has figured it out, Mauricio Dubon is taking much better swings, Bart is an upgrade over the previous catchers, and Austin Slater should be back from the injured list this weekend.
It’s a deep and talented lineup, one that hoped to stay together after the trade deadline and got its wish.
“I think our guys responded well to that endorsement,” Kapler said.