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Here’s every time the Giants couldn’t come back in the ninth inning

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The Giants are 0-62 when trailing after eight innings. Let's figure out how it happened.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Why would I do this to myself? Why would I do this to you? Because it was there. That’s why.

See, the Giants haven’t come back in the ninth inning once this year, and I’m fascinated by that. It’s enough to make you twitchy, even without the contrast of them allowing more comebacks than any team in baseball. Once you add them together, it becomes extra fascinating. Also fascinating in this case is a synonym of whatever the German word is for "chewing on a set of car keys until you can’t feel your tongue."

But we’ll focus on the dearth of ninth-inning comebacks this year. It’s not just that the Giants aren’t getting that one hit right when they need to. It’s not just that they’re incapable of hitting the home runs that could tie or win the game, even though it’s the Year of the Home Run for 29 other teams. It’s that they’re not even getting games handed to them by the other team. They aren’t running into that closer with a wild hair up his nose, or they aren’t getting the muffed grounder at just the right time.

Or if they do, the other team manages to pull the fedora from under the closing door just in time. Phew! What a save.

At least, that’s what it’s felt like. So that meant going back to the 45 times the Giants’ opponent saved a game against them and seeing if my perception matched reality.

Closer Date Team Result Maximum # of runners on base # of runners on for final out Tying run at the plate? Final out
Jeremy Jeffress 2016-04-06 MIL W 4-3 0 0 Y Ehire Adrianza groundout
Kenley Jansen 2016-04-09 LAD W 3-2 0 0 Y Denard Span groundout
Kenley Jansen 2016-04-17 LAD W 3-1 1 1 Y Matt Duffy groundout
Brad Ziegler 2016-04-18 ARI W 9-7 2 2 Y Brandon Crawford double play
Tyler Clippard 2016-04-19 ARI W 3-0 1 1 N Denard Span groundout
Brad Ziegler 2016-04-20 ARI W 2-1 1 1 Y Trevor Brown strikeout looking
A.J. Ramos 2016-04-24 MIA W 5-4 1 1 Y Trevor Brown groundout
Jeurys Familia 2016-04-30 NYM W 6-5 1 0 Y Matt Duffy groundout
Jake McGee 2016-05-08 COL W 2-0 1 1 Y Brandon Crawford double play
Roberto Osuna 2016-05-09 TOR W 3-1 1 1 Y Buster Posey groundout
Roberto Osuna 2016-05-10 TOR W 4-0 3 3 Y Jarrett Parker strikeout
Jake McGee 2016-05-27 COL W 5-2 1 1 N Kelby Tomlinson pop fly
Trevor Rosenthal 2016-06-04 STL W 7-4 0 0 N Jarrett Parker strikeout
Trevor Rosenthal 2016-06-05 STL W 6-3 1 0 N Denard Span groundout
Craig Kimbrel 2016-06-07 BOS W 5-3 1 1 Y Denard Span fly ball
Kenley Jansen 2016-06-10 LAD W 3-2 2 2 Y Brandon Crawford strikeout
Mark Melancon 2016-06-20 PIT W 1-0 1 0 Y Brandon Crawford fly ball
Jeanmar Gomez 2016-06-25 PHI W 3-2 0 0 Y Conor Gillaspie pop fly
Ryan Madson 2016-06-28 OAK W 13-11 3 1 Y Brandon Crawford strikeout
Brad Ziegler 2016-07-02 ARI W 6-5 1 1 Y Conor Gillaspie groundout
Brandon Maurer 2016-07-15 SDP W 4-1 0 0 N Buster Posey groundout
Brandon Maurer 2016-07-17 SDP W 5-3 1 1 Y Denard Span groundout
Aroldis Chapman 2016-07-22 NYY W 3-2 1 1 Y Brandon Belt strikeout
Chad Green 2016-07-24 NYY W 5-2 1 1 N Brandon Belt groundout
Tony Cingrani 2016-07-25 CIN W 7-5 1 1 Y Trevor Brown strikeout
Tony Cingrani 2016-07-27 CIN W 2-1 1 1 Y Brandon Crawford foul pop
Shawn Kelley 2016-07-28 WSN W 4-2 3 3 Y Angel Pagan strikeout
Shawn Kelley 2016-07-29 WSN W 4-1 2 2 Y Eduardo Nunez strikeout
Mark Melancon 2016-08-07 WSN W 1-0 0 0 Y Hunter Pence strikeout
Fernando Rodney 2016-08-09 MIA W 2-0 1 1 Y Joe Panik double play
Zach Britton 2016-08-12 BAL W 5-2 2 1 N Hunter Pence strikeout
Zach Britton 2016-08-14 BAL W 8-7 2 2 Y Denard Span groundout
Tony Watson 2016-08-16 PIT W 4-3 2 2 Y Denard Span groundout
Tony Watson 2016-08-17 PIT W 6-5 1 1 Y Eduardo Nunez strikeout
Jeurys Familia 2016-08-21 NYM W 2-0 1 0 N Angel Pagan pop fly
Kenley Jansen 2016-08-23 LAD W 9-5 0 0 Y Ehire Adrianza strikeout
Kenley Jansen 2016-08-24 LAD W 1-0 0 0 N Eduardo Nunez groundout
Jim Johnson 2016-08-27 ATL W 3-1 2 2 Y Buster Posey groundout
Daniel Hudson 2016-08-30 ARI W 4-3 0 0 Y Joe Panik groundout
Carl Edwards 2016-09-01 CHC W 5-4 0 0 N Brandon Crawford groundout
Kevin Quackenbush 2016-09-13 SDP W 6-4 0 0 N Brandon Crawford groundout
Brandon Maurer 2016-09-14 SDP W 3-1 0 0 N Brandon Crawford groundout
Seung-hwan Oh 2016-09-18 STL W 3-0 0 0 N Joe Panik fly ball
Brad Hand 2016-09-25 SDP W 4-3 0 0 Y Joe Panik fly ball
Adam Ottavino 2016-09-28 COL W 2-0 2 2 Y Buster Posey groundout

The Giants had the tying run at the plate at some point in 32 of the 45 saves recorded against them. I don’t know if that’s an abnormal ratio, and I’m not going to spend a day trying to figure that out. I do know that every team has at least one ninth-inning comeback, though, so I’m comfortable suggesting that this is an unusual season.

Not one homer when it could have tied the game. Not one single with a runner in scoring position, even if it came on a leadoff double. Not against closers who have since been replaced. Not against closers who were just filling in because of an injury.

The list of final outs doesn’t help us a lot, but I made it, so here:

  1. Brandon Crawford - 9
  2. Denard Span - 7
  3. Buster Posey - 4
  4. Eduardo Nuñez - 3
  5. Trevor Brown - 3
  6. Eight players tied with 2

The only player who’s been with the team for most of the year who hasn’t made the final out of a save situation? Gregor Blanco. So listen to this wacky ninth-inning comeback plan I have, it starts with ...

If you’re not already disgruntled, consider that the Giants have had 41 plate appearances this season with runners in scoring position in a save situation. Here’s what they’ve done:

Three hits
.079 batting average
.146 on-base percentage
.079 slugging percentage
Two runs batted in

Remarkable. Here’s every situation where a single broken-bat bloop or a grounder just under someone’s glove could have tied the game for the Giants in the ninth inning.

Date Batter Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Play Description
2016-04-20 Gregor Blanco ARI Brad Ziegler down 2-1 b9 -2- 1 Groundout: 2B-1B (2B-1B); Duffy to 3B
2016-04-20 Trevor Brown ARI Brad Ziegler down 2-1 b9 --3 2 *ENDED GAME*:Strikeout Looking
2016-06-10 Gregor Blanco LAD Kenley Jansen down 3-2 b9 -2- 2 Walk
2016-06-10 Brandon Crawford LAD Kenley Jansen down 3-2 b9 12- 2 *ENDED GAME*:Strikeout Swinging
2016-07-22 Denard Span @NYY Aroldis Chapman down 3-2 t9 -2- 0 Groundout: SS-1B
2016-07-22 Angel Pagan @NYY Aroldis Chapman down 3-2 t9 -2- 1 Lineout: 2B
2016-07-22 Brandon Belt @NYY Aroldis Chapman down 3-2 t9 -2- 2 *ENDED GAME*:Strikeout Swinging
2016-07-28 Denard Span WSN Oliver Perez down 4-2 b9 123 1 Strikeout Swinging
2016-07-28 Angel Pagan WSN Shawn Kelley down 4-2 b9 123 2 *ENDED GAME*:Strikeout Swinging
2016-08-14 Buster Posey BAL Zach Britton down 8-7 b9 -2- 2 Intentional Walk
2016-08-14 Denard Span BAL Zach Britton down 8-7 b9 12- 2 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: SS unassisted/Forceout at 2B (SS-2B)
2016-08-16 Ehire Adrianza PIT Tony Watson down 4-3 b9 -23 1 Popfly: 2B (Deep 2B-1B)
2016-08-16 Denard Span PIT Tony Watson down 4-3 b9 -23 2 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: 2B-1B (2B-1B)
2016-08-17 Buster Posey PIT Tony Watson down 6-4 b9 123 0 Ground Ball Double Play: SS-2B-1B; Nunez Scores; Pagan to 3B
2016-08-17 Brandon Crawford PIT Tony Watson down 6-5 b9 --3 2 *ENDED GAME*:Flyball: CF
2016-09-17 Conor Gillaspie STL Seung-hwan Oh down 3-2 b9 12- 2 *ENDED GAME*:Popfly: 2B (2B-1B)

Also remarkable! There is no solution, other than "get a hit with a runner in scoring position next time." This is a team with players who have come back in the past, who will come back again.

This should be a good team, you know. I can't stress that enough, so I'll just keep typing the words.

It’s just not a team that’s come back once in the ninth inning this year. And I can’t explain it, probably because it doesn’t want to be explained. There are four games left in the regular season. Somehow this team is still in charge of a postseason slot, too. So don’t wallow in your own misery just yet.

Just marvel at what a special team this is. You’ll never see another one like it, and that’s probably for the best.