The Giants have a very specific skill that stands out thus far, and luckily, it's a good one for their division. With a 9-2 thrashing of the Rangers, who started Mike Minor, the Giants improved to 3-0 this season against left-handed starters.
This was an interleague game, of course, but beating up on lefties is a skill a lineup needs in the National League West. Through the first week-plus, the Giants are hanging right in there with a 4-4 record.
This one was tight for a few innings, but Wilmer Flores broke it open and the Giants kept adding on against a bad Rangers bullpen. Here are three things you need to know from the fourth win of the year ...
He Was There for You
Flores' walk-up song -- the theme from "Friends" -- seemed to be a touch louder in the fifth inning, and he backed it up with his biggest hit as a Giant. Flores somehow pulled a 2-2 slider that looked headed for his front foot, hitting a three-run shot a few feet over the left field wall that turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.
Wilmer Flores yanked this pitch out to left. Three-run homer gives Giants a 4-2 lead. pic.twitter.com/ZOLUzFCO2s— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 1, 2020
The homer was the second of the year for Flores, who became the first free agent to get a multi-year contract from the Giants under Farhan Zaidi.
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The new catcher had a big night. Chadwick Tromp picked up his first career hit in the fifth, hitting a hard single to right that helped lead to the Flores homer. He came up an inning later and pulled a double to left, bringing Darin Ruf home.
A Joey Bart call-up isn't imminent, meaning it's Tromp and Tyler Heineman behind the plate for the time being. Tromp figures to get a lot of time against lefties, and the Giants will see another one Sunday.
The first big league hit for Chadwick Tromp: pic.twitter.com/dIqEqo6AVr— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 1, 2020
Through eight games, the Giants have yet to have a starter complete five innings, the longest stretch to start a season in MLB history. That's put a lot of pressure on the middle relievers, and a young lefty has stepped up.
Conner Menez entered with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and got Rougned Odor to pop up on the first pitch, ending the inning and keeping the Giants within a run. Menez came back out for the sixth and pitched a perfect frame.
Menez has allowed two runs but just a couple of baserunners in 5 1/3 innings. The Giants want him to trust his stuff and stop trying to be so fine, and the early results are encouraging. Perhaps he'll find a home there as a bullpen lefty.