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Murph: Whiffs, taters, and mystery — your 2023 Giants 



© Kamil Krzaczynski | 2023 Apr 6

One week ago, the Jock Blog grumbled in frustration as Farhan Zaidi played ‘Roster Rotisserie’ and traded for a journeyman outfielder named Matt Beaty on the morning of Opening Day.

One week later, Matt Beaty was on the hill Thursday, nailing down the Giants’ 16-6 win over the White Sox in Chicago.

Life not only comes at you fast, it laughs heartily in your face sometimes.

As we prepare for our traditional home opener broadcast at the Public House Friday morning, we do so as the Giants come home from a .500 road trip through Yankee Stadium and Guaranteed Rate Field (one of those stadium names is better than the other) as a thoroughly confounding team.

I’ve settled on ‘Whiffs and Taters’ as the new marketing slogan for the lads. 

When the posters say “Giants Baseball: Nothing Like It”, it can mean “nothing like” record rates for strikeouts . . . and “nothing like” record rates for home runs.

Major League Baseball said to the game: We’re banning the shift! The ball is back in play! Go first to third on a bingle!

The Giants said to MLB: Hold my beer. Now watch as we play beer-league softball and upper cut our way through the first week of ball. Look out in the bleachers!

The end result was surprisingly pretty good. Going 3-3 on any two-city road trip is generally more than acceptable in the big leagues. Doing so through the Bronx and the South Side of Chicago, through two teams who have designs on October, is quite nice. 

It’s just that it’s hard to imagine the Giants continuing to clock baseballs out of the yard at this rate. I mean, what is this: BALCO-fueled 2002?

As of this scribbling, no MLB team has more home runs than the Giants, who have 15 through six games. They’re on pace to hit 405 home runs this year. Even your teenager playing ‘MLB: The Show’ can’t design a franchise that hits 405 home runs. The MLB record is 307 by the 2019 Twins. 

So, if we can reasonably expect the home run pace to calm down a tad — or will it? — just who will the 2023 Giants be? Will they be, as The Athletic’s Grant Brisbee suggested in a spot-on column, a 26-man hologram that resembles former whiff-or-tater Giants outfielder Rob Deer? 

Or will they transmogrify into the mid-80s St Louis Cardinals, and start using the Baltimore Chop off the AstroTurf to set up some sacrifice bunts? (Wait — I just realized no one under the age of 30 will understand anything in the previous sentence.)

Sitting around and waiting for the tater is no way to go through life. 

That said, a 3-3 roadie to start the season is better than I had expected, so you may as well love the one you’re with. 

The Royals come to town. Bless the heart of current Royal and  #ForeverGiant Matt Duffy, who spent an enjoyable 15 minutes with us on the radio Thursday, but Kansas City has started the year 1-6 and don’t appear to be waking the ghosts of Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas anytime soon.

The Giants should theoretically sweep, or at least take the series, from the hapless Royals. That would put them over .500 as the Dodgers come to town. 

Be honest. Not many of you had them over .500 when you mocked up April. 

They are still mysterious. They will still whiff. They also will hit taters. Perhaps the only sure bet is that Matt Beaty will be there, waving at you from the Opening Day introductions on the foul line. 

Baseball. Funny ol’ game.