Sunday's wacky win over the Arizona Diamondbacks was insane, but not just because it was won in extras after the Giants surrendered the lead via a home run for the second consecutive day. Sunday afternoon's win featured a bunch players that the Giants flat out did not expect to be relying so heavily upon. Where do we begin?
The starting lineup consisted of three regulars (Belt, Posey, and Crawford), one backup (Brown) and five players that were not on the opening day roster - one of them, Ruben Tejada, wasn't even in the organization. The starter at second, Grant Green, is essentially the 4th string second baseman. Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, now both up from Sacramento, manned the outfield because Denard Span and Hunter Pence are both injured. The lunacy continues. In mid-May, the Giants called up reliever Albert Suarez to make his major league debut. One month later he was making his 6th major league start in place of Matt Cain.
Due not in part but entirely due to injuries, the Giants ran out the Sacramento Rivercats to take on a division rival - and won. This is because everyone the Giants have called upon is making their mark. And it's because of them that the Giants still maintain a division lead over the pesky Dodgers.
Return of the Mac
Since returning to the majors on his second callup of the season, Mac is batting .241/.353/.448, or an .801 OPS. Not only will the Giants gladly take that from a backup, they'd have loved that from Denard Span, who despite maintaining his ownership of the leadoff role has only amassed a .687 OPS over the full season to date. San Francisco has high hopes for Williamson, and it's pretty easy to see why when he's taking chunks out of Chase Field.
Parker can swing it too
At one point in time, Parker's production wasn't exactly critical, as the Giants were relying on an outfield of Pagan, Span and Blanco. With Span out and Blanco's production wavering, Parker's importance has taken a stark 180. Without the offense that Jarrett Parker has provided, one could make the argument that the Giants would have gone outside the organization to replace the injured Hunter Pence, costing them prospects and/or MLB-ready talent that they'd absolutely like to hold on to. His playing good baseball has alleviated all of that. He's currently sitting at .267/.377/.467, good for an .844 OPS. When you look at what he's done in the month of June alone, it gets even better. A .296 batting average, .433 on-base percentage, and .481 slugging percentage - .914 OPS overall. What the organization needs is for him to continue his success, so that they can turn their trade deadline attention to shoring up the bullpen, which has struggled mightily.
The backup, backup, backup infielders
Conor Gillaspie , Ramiro Pena, Ruben Tejada and Grant Green are all on the Giants because Matt Duffy, Joe Panik and both backup middle infielders are enduring injury. With Tejada being the exception, the other three are swinging to a better OPS than Matt Duffy did before injury. Ramiro Pena had the game-winning hit on Sunday. Gillaspie had a walk-off double last homestand against the Phillies. Grant Green just yesterday made a very Joe Panik-like play up the middle that very well could have saved the game. The Giants are calling on absolutely everyone to hold down the fort while the starters recover, and they are taking the Giants to the most wins in baseball. In another reality, the Giants are down a game or two to the Dodgers in the NL west, and they have these reinforcements to thank for not living it.
Suarez and Buster Brown
I like Albert Suarez. With the way the Giants schedule works, they won't require his services again until after the All-Star break, but they're sure to use him again in some capacity. He too stepped up and filled a void left by Matt Cain, and what began as a spot start turned into his regular spot in the rotation because of how well he was throwing the ball. Were it not for suspect bullpen work, as ever, his numbers heading into the break would be even more impressive - especially considering the circumstances.
Trevor Brown has been up with the big club since the season began. His offensive numbers may not be outstanding, but when you pair them with his defensive ability and consider that he is only a backup, you realize he's doing a heck of a job. Fangraphs rates his defense higher than several notable starters, like Mesoraco, Wieters, d'Arnaud to name a few. His game calling seems to be great, and he's essentially been Peavy's personal catcher all year, so you can bet he's had a hand in Peavy regaining some dominance.