SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul Goldschmidt was hitting .208 on June 8. In Phoenix, the local coverage was full of "What's wrong with Goldschmidt" pieces, and national writers anonymously quoted scouts and executives who wondered if the 31-year-old was starting a steep decline.
And then the Diamondbacks visited AT&T Park.
Goldschmidt had one hit the first night, and then three in the second game. In the final game of the series, he had four hits, including three doubles, raising his average to .233 and his OPS to .773, 52 points above where it had been at the start of the series.
This was nothing new of course. It was also the end of an era. That series helped spur Goldschmidt to another fantastic season -- .290 average, 33 homers, .922 OPS -- but Giants pitchers no longer have to deal with a man who has hit them at an astounding rate over the years.
Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday for a package of prospects and young players who can jumpstart a rebuild at Chase Field. It's a sad day for Diamondbacks fans. Goldschmidt was the face of the franchise, a perennial MVP candidate who hit .297 in eight seasons, with 209 homers. A good chunk of that damage was done against the Giants.
Goldschmidt has 22 homers against the Giants in 469 at-bats, with with 31 doubles, 79 RBI and 78 runs. As a Diamondback, he averaged more than a hit per start against the Giants, and he wasn't bothered by their cavernous park. In 68 career games at AT&T Park, he has a .990 OPS, 11 homers, 21 doubles and three triples.
Goldschmidt has been particularly cruel to the best the Giants have had to offer. He has faced Madison Bumgarner more than any other pitcher, and has 22 hits -- including three homers -- and 11 walks in 78 place appearances. He has a .999 OPS against the Giants' current ace and was at .874 against one of their former aces, Matt Cain. Goldschmidt hit Ryan Vogelsong hard, has had some success against Johnny Cueto, and has crushed the dreams of numerous Giants relievers late in games.
Then, of course, there is Tim Lincecum.
In good times and bad, Lincecum could never find a way to get Goldschmidt out. After one homer in 2012, Lincecum insisted that it wasn't in his head.
"I'm not hoping," he said at the time. "I'm going to figure it out."
He never quite did. In 28 at-bats against Lincecum, Goldschmidt had 15 hits. He homered seven times, drove in 17 runs and posted a 1,916 OPS. To his credit, Lincecum was always up to the challenge, and he walked Goldschmidt just five times as he tried to find a way to solve him. At some point, though, manager Bruce Bochy said it was about time to adjust and start taking the bat out of Goldschmidt's hands.
"There are times where you go, 'Wait a minute, this is not working,' “ Bochy said in 2013. “That's the definition of insanity, right? When it happens over and over again."
The Giants never did quite find a way, even after Lincecum was long gone. Goldschmidt had 10 homers off them the past three seasons, but now he's no longer a concern, at least until next July 5.
That's the day the Cardinals roll into town.