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Giants can’t hit, lose to Dodgers in 10th

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The bullpen had a ghastly 10th inning, but the game shouldn’t have gone to extra innings in the first place.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
“Have you tried not staring at the sun before every pitch?”
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There is room to complain about the bullpen, to yell loudly about the dumb 10th inning. It was a very, very dumb 10th inning, after all. The Giants allowed four runs on three hits, and one of those hits was a squirb off the bat of a player in the middle of a death slump. Four runs on three hits is another way to say somebody screwed up.

The Giants screwed up.

But before we get to our regularly scheduled bullpen sniping, I would like to draw your attention to the idea that the Giants shouldn’t have needed to play a 10th inning. The starting pitcher threw seven strong innings. The setup man in the eighth inning was perfect. The closer was perfect in the ninth.

Lemme just ... hang on a second ...

The starting pitcher threw seven strong innings. The setup man in the eighth inning was perfect. The closer was perfect in the ninth.

There we go. That paragraph is the story of the game because it’s a paragraph that usually describes a jolly win. But before the bullpen screwed up, the hitters screwed up. Continually. With great fervor and zeal! The Night of Morserroyo seems like it was many moons ago, and I regret to inform you that the Giants screwed up.

Christian Arroyo is cool, of course. He had two hits and the only RBI of the game, and the only reason he didn’t have three hits was because he hit a laser right to the center fielder.

Kelby Tomlinson had two hits, including a glorious opposite-field poke against Kenley Jansen before stealing second, giving the Giants a chance to walk off. Before the talent-eating lice burrowed into Eduardo Nuñez’s scalp, that was what we were expecting from him. It was nice to see it, if briefly, from Tomlinson.

Everyone else needs to apologize to Matt Moore, George Kontos, and Mark Melancon. Because there was some ugly baseballing in the bottom halves of every inning.

I don’t want to pick on Buster Posey, who is hitting .357 and helping the team win with his defense behind the plate, but he looks uncomfortable in most of his at-bats lately. He took a walk (and was intentionally told to go to first base), but he hit into two miserably timed double plays, too, and it’s hard to remember the last time he got more than one-and-a-half cheeks into a ball. It’s an odd thing to write about someone coming off a 12-game hitting streak, but then again, he hasn’t had an extra-base hit since April 9, which was 10 games ago.

While runs batted in aren’t a very good stat for evaluating a player, it’s still amazing (and telling) that Posey has three RBI, even though he’s hitting .357 and has come up to bat with 40 runners on base this season. Part of that is dodgy luck and dastardly sequencing. Part of that is he just isn’t driving the ball.

He’s still the best, and I’m being hard on him. But those double plays made me itch.

Hunter Pence is hitting .291 ... with a .716 OPS, which is something I would expect to see from Tomlinson. The power isn’t there. Brandon Belt had a hit and a walk, and I’m in the tank for him, so he gets a pass, but you get where this is going. When no one on the team is driving the ball, that leaves it up to Nuñez, Nick Hundley, and Gorkys Hernandez, all of whom are having an absolutely miserable time at the plate right now.

Eduardo Nuñez should keep hitting third because it’s gonna work one of these times, you’ll see, you’ll all see.

The Giants scored one run, in other words, and they were lucky to get it. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and I can’t believe they even had eight baserunners.

Now we can move on to the bullpen-grousing section because the 10th inning was a debacle. Cory Gearrin walked his seventh batter of the season in just 6⅔ innings. His stuff is sentient and unresponsive to its master’s cries. He walked the leadoff batter in the 10th inning of a tie game, even though Adrian Gonzalez helped him out by chasing the first ball four. I’m not going to say that it was the worst relief outing of the year, but I will say that it was tied for the worst leadoff walk in extra innings, and those things are poison.

Then Steven Okert started walking people, and then Hunter Strickland, and then the umpires were just telling people to go straight to first base for some reason, IT WAS CHAOS. When it was over, the Dodgers had scored four runs, which is a weekend’s worth for the Giants.

Mostly, though, I keep coming back to that paragraph. The starting pitcher threw seven strong innings. The setup man in the eighth inning was perfect. The closer was perfect in the ninth. The Giants win those games, usually. Everyone wins those games, usually.

Everyone except the team with a lineup that can’t do anything right. That would be the Giants right now, and we should probably be thrilled they split a four-game series in which they scored just eight runs.

They should probably hit better is what I’m getting at. If they were just bad instead of awful today, they would have taken a series they desperately wanted.