Just like all those articles before the season predicted, this team just doesn't win tonight without the third base defense of Ramiro Pena. Sometimes baseball's so obvious it's boring.
The first Giants run scored on a 2-out Angel Pagan infield single that was upheld after a review. The last out the Giants recorded was also upheld after a review. In both cases, the review took something away from the moment. That's not a criticism of the process; it's more important to get the call right than it is to maintain the full drama of a big moment. But at the end of the game, until the TV broadcast showed the first replay, there was that sense of, "Giants win ... maybe." I don't think there's a solution for that, and baseball's better with replay, but man, sometimes we just don't need the moment to be prolonged, you know?
Bruce Bochy won the manager battle in the bottom of the seventh. After Trevor Brown hit a leadoff infield single against right-hander Severino Gonzalez, Bochy brought in Jarrett Parker to pinch hit. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin responded by bringing in Elvis Araujo, the only lefty in his bullpen, and Bochy immediately pinch hit with Buster Posey, who ended up singling. The Giants had first and second with no outs, an enviable position even with the Phillies lefty specialist on the mound and four straight lefties due up.
More importantly than them being lefties, though, is them being good hitters. After Denard Span bunted to move the runners over, Araujo pitched around Joe Panik, preferring to face Brandon Belt. Belt cleared the bases with a double to right-center that would have been out of any other park, and after Brandon Crawford just got under one, Angel Pagan singled Belt in. Looking back, it's possible Mackanin would have pitched to Jarrett Parker instead of Buster Posey. Maybe. I don't know. I'm not a manager. But Bruce Bochy out-noggined Pete Mackanin . You know, in a second way.
Anyway, then Bochy took Josh Osich out of the game in the middle of an at bat and put in Cory Gearrin, so you win some, you lose some.
The bullpen had a fantastic road trip, giving up just 3 earned runs in 19.2 innings, which is an ERA of Very Good. But they also pitched a lot of innings, especially over the last two games in Pittsburgh, where due to a short start from Jeff Samardzija and a medium one from Albert Suarez, they had to throw 10 innings. You could see that fatigue come into play tonight, with Josh Osich walking a couple guys, Cory Gearrin having trouble throwing a strike, and Santiago Casilla going full Brian Wilson before locking the save down.
This wasn't an inspiring night for the bullpen, but they'd been so good so recently, that you could pretty easily tell yourself it was just fatigue. Casilla and Gearrin had both pitched two days in a row, as had Hunter Strickland, which is presumably why he didn't appear. Derek Law pitched two innings two days ago and warmed up again yesterday, and Josh Osich has been heavily used all year. Was this reflective of their true talent level or were they just all tired? Either way, a lot of those guys won't be pitching tomorrow.
Jake Peavy didn't have a bad start. It wasn't a great one, but again, the decentification of Jake Peavy marched on. He gave up five extra base hits, which against a better team would have led to much worse results, but instead the Phillies scored just twice. I wrote this article on May 5, when his ERA was 9.00. Since then, it's 3.03. Even if he keeps pitching like this, he'll probably make us nervous all year, because that first month happened. But for a month and a half, he's been an important contributor to this team.
Tonight, it was the same old new Peavy story. The velocity on his fastball wasn't special, but the movement made it effective. He zigged when opposing hitters thought he was going to zag, and when they thought he was going to zig, he did the Three Stooges poke-their-eyes-out move. Not all of his pitches worked - at this stage of his career, his pitches aren't good enough to expect that, even against an offensively challenged team like the Phillies - but he was able to bear down when he got in trouble, keep the Giants in the game, and stay in long enough to earn the win.
Because you don't see it every day: Odubel Herrera's bat flip on a sac fly in the fifth. pic.twitter.com/qx34enuz1T— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 25, 2016
Odubel Herrera did a bat flip after hitting a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth. Not a super showy one, or an incredibly arrogant one, but a bat flip nonetheless. To my mind, this brings up an important point: Oh, come on.
Do you know why Jose Bautista's bat flip in the playoffs last year was so awesome? Because he earned it. He did the biggest possible thing at the biggest possible time, and gave the biggest possible bat flip as an exclamation point. This was like putting an exclamation point on a sentence where it doesn't belong. "What'd you have for dinner?" "I wasn't that hungry, so I just had some baby carrots!" Makes no sense. Come on, Odubel. Respect the game by respecting the bat flip.
The Giants had never seen Zach Eflin before tonight. It is A Thing among some Giants fans that the team is unusually bad against rookies they've never seen before, and Eflin certainly qualifies. This was just his third big league appearance, and as best as I can tell, the only Giant currently on the roster with even minor league experience against him is Mac Williamson, who faced him twice last year in AA and didn't play tonight. So, of course, Zach Eflin gave up just one unearned run in six innings.
It's not like Eflin came into the game with a horrible pedigree. He had a 10.80 ERA in his first two starts, but if you think a pitcher can't get better after his first two starts this year, then you don't get to complain about a Peavy game anyway. In 11 games in AAA this year, Eflin had a 2.90 ERA. He has a fastball that was hitting 93 in the sixth, a big, pretty curveball, and most of the line drives the Giants hit found gloves. If you want to chalk that up to a grand conspiracy from the baseball gods, I understand that, but the Giants weren't incompetent against Eflin tonight. They just got baseballed.
Eflin was part of that whole Padres/Dodgers 2014 tradeapalooza, going to Los Angeles as part of the package that got the Padres Matt Kemp (lol), and then the very next day being dealt to the Phillies in the Jimmy Rollins deal. I wholeheartedly hope that he has a good career and that those franchises rue what could have been.
If Madison Bumgarner would like to throw a complete game tomorrow, that would be swell.