This wasn’t to be the year the San Francisco Giants won because of their catchers. Gone is our beloved Buster Posey, who took off to Georgia to do everything 30-year-olds do with their wives and kids and $200,000,000. I’ll know what they’re doing soon as I’m just a wife, kids and about $200,075,000 away from the same situation.
They were trying to replace an All-Star, Silver Slugger and 2021 MVP voter with someone who was at AAA last year for a reason and a backup catcher, who is, to use the guy’s language who founded this website with the language of the simpsons, cromulent.
I am not criticizing the plan. I’m just running it. Of the 183 plate appearances by Joey Bart and Curt Casali, 163 came from the nine holes. Fangraphs predicted them to be the fifth-worst catching team in the majors.
And yet here we are. In a completely unconventional way – which is completely conventional for the Giants – the Giants entered their series against the Colorado Rockies with the fifth-best backstops.
They did it by hitting more than any other group of catchers and walking more than any other group as well. To highlight how unconventional a path to success is, we use wRC+, Fangraphs’ offensive statistic that weights offense. 100 is league average. 150 is 150% of the league average. 80 is 80% of the league average. You get the drift.
At the start of Monday’s game, the Giants’ catchers had a wRC+ of 116, meaning they were 16% better than the league average…not the league average for catchersbut league average for all bats.
That was at a strike rate of 38.0%. The next closest group of strikeout-loving pitch callers, the Houston Astros, have a wRC+ of 27. That’s significantly worse than Madison Bumgarner’s career mark.
Honestly, it doesn’t get much better on the walk front, where the next best catcher squad belongs to the Baltimore Orioles, who have a wRC+ of 44, which is exactly Madison Bumgarner’s career brand.
But the Giants catchers don’t have 116 wRC+ anymore. You’re no longer hitting 116% as well as the average MLB hitter.
They bat much better because Casali went to Coors Field and found that it was exactly as advertised Lonely Planet: Colorado Book.
Both teams caught a hard break at the top of the third inning when Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela pinched his back while throwing a warm-up pitch and was forced out of the game. It was bad for the Rockies because… look, I’m not going to tell you why losing your starting pitcher to injury is bad. You’re a grown ass I assume. You know why. If not, google it. It’s free.
But it was also bad for the Giants, who not only had bet on going up against a pitcher who basically allowed two baserunners an inning, but had tailored their lineup to a right-hander.
And then phew! he had gone. And where Senzatela once stood was none other than 2018 Giants Opening Day starter Ty Blach.
The first hitter he saw was Casali, one of only three right-handers in the Giants’ lineup. And the seventh pitch he threw was tattooed in the stands, separating the game 1-1.
And then Blach settled in and spent a couple of innings doing that thing that he… look, I was going to say, He did that so well when he was with the Giants, because that’s exactly the kind of thing you say in scenarios like this. But the reality is that Blach didn’t do very well with the Giants, and we can all want to hug him while accepting that reality.
Instead, I’m just saying that he settled in and spent a few innings doing what he once did when, shockingly, he had a full game shutout that I could have sworn was at Coors Field , and upon further reflection I actually thought it was playing the Los Angeles Dodgers until Baseball-Reference broke my heart and told me it was actually actually against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Anyway, Blach dropped the next six batters in soft order and then led the fifth with walking Thairo Estrada before letting a line drive from Darin Ruf hit so hard it went right into CJ Cron’s glove and surfaced the other side intact.
What Casali brought back to the plate. So it’s time for offensive successes, because, as we have now established, that’s what the catchers do.
And with that spectacular home run call in our ears, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all that Trevor Brown existed. I guarantee you haven’t thought of that name in at least five years. And I also guarantee that as soon as I said it, you saw his face perfectly in your mind.
Multi-HR games by Giants Catchers, since 2010:
Curt Casali, tonight
Buster Posey, 4/20/21
Buster Posey, 5/28/16
Trevor Brown, 04/12/16
Buster Posey, 08/26/14
Hector Sanchez, 4/23/14
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 17, 2022
It also led to wonderfully healthy sharing on the team’s Instagram account.
But it’s Coors Field, so the Rockies wouldn’t let a 4-1 deficit suffice. They would tie it by putting up two runs in the fifth inning to knock Alex Wood out and then another in the sixth on a Ryan McMahon home run.
But it’s Coors Field, so the Giants wouldn’t let a 4-4 draw suffice. In the seventh, they would attack two more, with Casali again involved. reputation doubled. Casali scattered, but there would be none Reputation is on the way! Call since the Giants held him third. Austin Slater left and the bases loaded.
Then Wilmer Flores hit a ball at 55.1 mph with a -39 degree launch angle, which was bad enough to confuse McMahon with a run-scoring error. A sacrifice fly by Mike Yastrzemski later led the Giants 6-4.
But it’s Coors Field, so the Rockies wouldn’t let a 6-4 deficit suffice. They confirmed the old adage that two funks are good as they countered Tyler Rogers’ funk with their mile-high humidor funk and came out of the seventh with two hits, two walks and, crucially, two runs.
But it’s Coors Field, so the Giants wouldn’t let a 6-6 draw suffice.
They waited until that magical moment at baseball games, which is two outs in the ninth inning. And then, in the immortal words of Cartman, Yastrzemski said: Fuck me boys I’m going home.
Only he really didn’t want to go home because the Giants are in Denver. And because there was still half an inning of baseball to play. But you get the point: he made a homer.
But it’s Coors Field, so…no, this isn’t about the Rockies not letting a 7-6 deficit do the trick. You let it suffice. Oh, they let it be long enough. No, this is about the location of Coors Field, Colorado and the distance from Yaz’s home run (420 feet), and the delightful need for Javier López to point out that connection, not just once, but twice.
I love our stoner stand
— あや ניומן ✌ (@jewishbuttercup) May 17, 2022
It makes me chuckle that even the Bay Area stations feel the need to make weed jokes when they’re in Colorado, like they’re not…you know…from the Bay Area.
Anyway, Camilo Doval handled the ninth with stress that was unfair to the game or venue, and the Giants won 7-6.
Let Timmy smoke.