The Jock Blog begins, appropriately enough, with a Joc Joke.
Or, a Dad joke.
Or, a Dad Joc joke.
Anyway, here goes:
The guy who may have saved the Giants season.
I have Dad jokes. I just turned a knock-knock joke into a Joc-Joc joke, and now I’m going to walk around proud all day and telling the kids.
It’s time to shine a light on everyone’s favorite ex-Dodger. Joc Pederson, the kid outta Palo Alto, on Tuesday night single-handedly pulled the Giants truck out of a muddy trench and got it back on the road.
So much so, that I’m thinking of dabbling in characteristic overstatement and calling the Giants’ 13-12 win on Tuesday night the “New Tauchman/Pujols Game of 2022.”
Recent Giants historians know we are just about at the one-year anniversary of The Game That Saved The Giants 2021 Season, the Tauchman/Pujols game at Dodger Stadium.
Brief refresher: The 2021 Giants were playing great, at 30-20, but had lost four in a row to the Dodgers and looked unable to keep up with their ancient rivals on the field. The Giants were three back in the West. On Friday night, May 28, however, the Giants appeared ready to snap that skid and took a 5-2 lead into the 9th inning, only to see dastardly Dodger Austin Barnes hit a two-out, three-run home run off Tyler Rogers to tie the game. Ugh. Pass the barf bag.
And keep the barf bag handy because the very next hitter, then-recently acquired Albert Pujols hit what looked like the game-winning home run until . . . Mike Tauchman! Mike Tauchman! Mike Tauchman!
The then-recently acquired outfielder somehow pulled it back from over the wall for a game-saving out, taking us to extra innings.
The Giants won in extras, starting a run of 10 wins in 16 games vs. LA, and winning the NL West by a game, 107 wins to 106.
Flash forward to Tuesday night: The Giants were in the skids. Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade, Curt Casali and Austin Slater were out. The squad had lost five in a row. And Buster Posey was still retired.
And along came Joc.
Turns out our old pal Barry Bonds plays a role, too. Bonds gave what Pederson called “the best conversation on hitting I’ve ever had” before the game, to the point where Joc realized it was 6:25 pm and the game started in 20 minutes.
Then Joc went yard.
And then went yard again.
And then, with the Giants trailing, 11-8, after blowing an 8-2 lead, Joc hit a game-tying 3-run home run that detonated Oracle Park.
Three home runs! Not even Bonds had ever done that in China Basin. The only Giant to do so at Third and King was Pablo Sandoval, in the 2012 World Series
Good company, that.
And Joc wasn’t done.
Pederson smashed the game-tying single in the 10th inning, tying the game at 12-12, setting up Brandon Crawford’s walk-off single to win it, 13-12. Eight RBIs. Have a night, kid.
A Joc Jam, indeed.
For good measure, Gabe Kapler was so obligated, he went against his grain and started Pederson against a left handed starter on Wednesday.
Joc homered again.
Four in less than 24 hours. Down in Atherton, Willie Mays smiled.
The Giants won again. Two in a row. More energy.
So what we have is what I’ll call a “Tauchman Turning Point” game. Things were looking bleak. The Giants were starting guys none of us had ever heard of, and they were losing.
And along came Joc, this year’s Mike Tauchman.
The club is now 24-19, only 3 games off last year’s pace. They fly to Cincinnati with a little pep in their step. The Farhan Magic is back in our lives.
Yes, it’s foolish to draw any broad narratives in a 162-game season that can slip, slide, twist and turn at any moment.
But when a Jock Blog calls for a grand statement about the 2022 Giants — it’s time for a Joc Blog.