Giants observations: Casey Schmitt fuels win vs. Nationals in MLB debut

What we learned as Schmitt fuels win vs. Nationals in debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- It seemed like it would be hard for Casey Schmitt to live up to the hype in his big league debut. He ended up exceeding it.

Making one of the most highly-anticipated debuts by a Giants prospect in the last decade, Schmitt provided the highlight in a 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals, going deep to left-center in the fourth inning to pick up his first big league hit and homer with one swing.

With the blast, the 24-year-old became the youngest Giant to homer in his big league debut since 22-year-old Will Clark took Nolan Ryan deep in 1986. Schmitt added a single the next time up and finished 2-for-4.

That was plenty of help for Logan Webb, who stranded eight runners in seven gutty innings. The Nationals put two runners on in each of the first three innings but didn't score, with the second-inning escape proving to be particularly impressive. With two runners in scoring position and no outs after an error, Webb proceeded to strike out the next three on 11 pitches.

Here are three more things to know about a big night for the organization:

Three-Quarters of Oracle Had The Schmitts

Schmitt received a loud ovation when he was introduced and another one when he took his first big league plate appearance in the second inning, with much of the noise coming from 60-plus family members and friends in the lower deck. The group included people who flew in from Texas, Las Vegas and North Carolina, along with dozens from the San Diego area, where he grew up.

The rookie didn't wait around, swinging at the first two pitches he saw and grounding out to short. The next time up, Schmitt did quite a bit more damage.

Schmitt has always had the glove to reach the big leagues, but there was some question about how fast the bat would develop -- until he hit 21 homers last year and earned two promotions. The breakout season got Schmitt an invite to big league camp and an April assignment in Triple-A, and on his first night at the next level, he checked off a lot of boxes.

Schmitt followed his homer in the fourth with a clean single up the middle two innings later. He struck out in his final at-bat. Schmitt is an aggressive hitter and he saw just 11 pitches in four plate appearances, swinging at eight of them. Pitchers will get to know him at some point, but on his first night in the big leagues, he took advantage of the strikes thrown his way.

Better Everywhere

Schmitt's first defensive chance came in the third, when he started a double play on a chopper hit right at him. The most notable thing about his night defensively might have been what it meant for the Giants overall.

Schmitt's arrival pushed Thairo Estrada back to second, improving the Giants at two spots, and that was vital in the sixth inning. With two on, CJ Abrams hit a sharp grounder to second that looked like it might get the Nationals within a run, but Estrada smothered it and threw to first for the second out. Webb got out of the jam with a strikeout.

The Giants could get Brandon Crawford back as soon as Thursday. Given the improvement J.D. Davis has shown at third and the skills of utility man Brett Wisely, this could pretty quickly become a good defensive infield mix.

There's Magic Inside

The Giants debuted their City Connects in 2021 against the Washington Nationals, and the fact that they swept that series certainly made it a lot easier to stick with jerseys that drew a lot of negative reviews at first.

RELATED: How Giants envision Schmitt's role ahead of MLB debut

With Tuesday's win, they improved to 20-6 in the City Connects, with a lot of that success coming behind Webb, who was on the mound for the first City Connect game on July 9, 2021. The start was Webb's 10th in the creamsicles and the Giants have won nine of them. Webb has now thrown 56 innings across those 10 starts and posted a 1.29 ERA and 5-1 record.

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