The Royals and Giants came into this series as the two of the three worst offenses in the majors. The other team in the bottom three, the Padres, basically came into 2017 not intending to be a major league team and they succeeded in that, which sounds like an insult until you realize that I’m saying the Giants and Royals tried to be major league teams but failed, which is much worse. The Giants and Royals are by accident what the Padres planned on being as part of their rebuilding process.
Yesterday, the Royals hit well and scored a lot of runs, and if you read Grant’s recap, which is very good, he talked about how the Royals had a lot of players who should have been better and they eventually were, and that’s what we should expect from the Giants at some point this year. Maybe it won’t last very long, but there will be a day when the Giants hit like a major league baseball team should hit, and that will be nice.
Today, against Jason Hammel, who came into the game with a 5.43 ERA and 4.55 FIP, was not that day. It’s hard to figure out when that day will be and it’s hard to see this lineup playing on that day. As the game started, Mike Krukow made a point of saying that he watched the Royals take batting practice and that the ball was flying and it was a good day to hit. The Giants didn’t take batting practice today, and you know, maybe they should have. The offense fell down on the job, like it has so many times this year, which was especially galling in comparison to the Royals, who had so many formerly effective hitters who fell on hard times and then recovered. If you were an outside observer, wouldn’t you expect that from Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik and possibly Denard Span?
You’re not an outside observer, though. You’ve been watching this team all year and feeling more and more hopeless about them with every 1-2-3 inning. That’s okay. Let it wash over you. Give in to it. The Giants are going to lose a lot of games because a lot of players who used to be good are bad now and that’s just how things are. Here’s Hank Schulman summing up this homestand:
If #SFGiants don't score in ninth, they will have finished homestand with four runs in four losses, 13 runs in one win vs. minors journeyman— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 14, 2017
Joke’s on you, Hank! They scored FIVE runs in those four losses, sucker.
The Royals hit three home runs this afternoon and the Giants hit zero. The Royals hit three home runs and the Giants scored two runs. Hard to win like that, which we know, because it’s been happening all year.
Of course, the other half of this game was the pitching, which also didn’t measure up. Turns out, Johnny Cueto is having some issues this year. He gave up those three home runs in the space of two innings, with Mike Moustakas destroying a changeup down and in, Jorge Bonifacio crushing a fastball down the middle, and Lorenzo Cain hitting a line shot that just got out of the park on a changeup also down the middle.
This season is lost at this point, but Johnny Cueto’s success is still important. If he turns it around immediately, the team can trade him for prospects. If not, but he still ends the year on a high note, then he can opt out and go sign a deal somewhere else. If he is this bad through the end of the year, and he’s currently up to a 4.57 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and a HR/FB rate that’s making Jeff Samardzija turn to a teammate and say, “Wow, that’s really high,” if that continues, he might stick around for four more years, and the Giants do not want four more years of 2017 Johnny Cueto.
In the fifth inning, Mike Krukow talked about how it’s an advantage to pitch the last game of a series, because you get to watch how opposing batters take their at bats and pitch accordingly. At the time, Johnny Cueto had given up four runs in 4.1 innings, which made it seem kind of silly. But in that inning, after the Royals got guys on second and third with no one out, Cueto didn’t give up any runs. He struck out Moustakas, struck out Alcides Escobar, and after a walk to Alex Gordon, struck out Drew Butera. It was an impressive way to end the inning and escape a jam, and it was just one tiny reason to be optimistic about Cueto in the face of everything that’s gone wrong this year.
Then he went out for another inning and gave up another run, and it was like, oh yeah, that’s the Giants for you.
This loss dropped the Giants to 2-5 on Michael Milken Day since 2011.
I don’t like Michael Milken Day.