On Friday night, the Pirates picked up a key 3-1 road win over the Giants. It was this seventh-inning, three-run homer by Clint Barmes off Madison Bumgarner that put the Corsairs ahead and provided the eventual margin of victory ...
As you can see, Barmes took the pitch -- a 1-1 slider -- and somehow scooped it over the left-field fence. Here's the sequence ...
Off the inside corner and at the knees: Hitting that pitch out of the park is indeed a lofty order. Some will say Barmes "golfed" it out, but I'll go old, pre-Industrial Revolution school and liken it to "reaping wheat with scythe."
As well, a number of other factors made Barmes's clutch spank even more unlikely. Consider:
•According to Brooks Baseball data, Bumgarner coming into the Friday night had thrown his slider -- the out pitch that he calls upon a plurality of the time -- to right-handed batters more than 700 times this season and had given up just three homers on sliders to right-handed batters.
•Barmes, who's slugged just .347 since he stopped calling Coors Field home prior to the 2011 season, coming into Friday night had last homered off a lefty on July 26, 2012. It was also, again per Brooks data, the first time Barmes had hit a home run off a slider since 2011.
•Prior to Barmes's blast, Bumgarner had never given up a home run to a Pirate.
•San Francisco's AT&T Park may well be the toughest park in all of baseball when it comes to right-handed home runs.
So feel free to start thinking of Barmes's home run off Bumgarner -- in terms of both the relevant trends and the pitch he hit -- as bordering on coconuts. Of course, if the Pirates hold on to that slim lead in the NL Central, that coconuts home run will be remembered for quite a while.