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Giants lose third in a row, 5-4

Jeff Samardzija made some mistakes, but still pitched deep into the game to get a tough loss. Again.

MLB: Miami Marlins at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants won six games out of seven. Last week. That was fun. Can we go back to last week? Maybe three years ago, when the Giants were championship contenders and there were fewer existential crises? I’m open to suggestions.

The Giants lost 5-4, and they’re 56 games behind the Dodgers, don’t even pay attention to them, look at me, LOOK AT ME, not at the standings, don’t do that to yourself. The Giants made sure to tease everyone in the ninth inning, scoring their patented one-run-when-down-by-two-against-a-closer. If you think that’s hyperbole, let’s check the tape:

  • Ryan Buchter (4/8) allowed a run. The Giants needed two.
  • Fernando Rodney (4/11) allowed two runs. The Giants needed three.
  • Wade Davis (5/24) allowed two runs. The Giants needed three.
  • Greg Holland (6/16) allowed a run. The Giants needed three. Hey!
  • Jim Johnson (6/22) allowed two runs. The Giants needed three.

They’ve come back against a closer this season, at least, so it stings slightly less. But let this be the only tweet you need from the last two years:

The reason the Giants were down by two runs is because George Kontos was (rightfully) terrified of hanging a slider to Giancarlo Stanton, so he buried a ball that Buster Posey came up too soon on. While it’s easy to suggest that cost the Giants the game, you know me and my butterfly effect fascination. If they were down by one run, Brandon Crawford would have fell down running on a dropped third strike, and Conor Gillaspie and Joe Panik would have swallowed each other’s batting gloves during their at-bats (don’t ask). I have complete confidence that the Giants would have lost without that wild pitch.

Or they would play 19 innings. They could still be playing. Aren’t you glad they aren’t still playing? Really, that wild pitch was a gift.

The Giants are back on track, tied with the 1985 Giants of 100-loss fame for the worst start in San Francisco history. This is trending in the wrong direction again.

We’ll always have the 1902 Giants to make sure this isn’t the worst season, though. Bless them. But at least they had the invention of flight to look forward to.

In the first inning, Jeff Samardzija was unlucky. Christian Yelich hit a double that was just out of Gorkys Hernandez’s reach. That was followed by a single that was just out of Joe Panik’s reach. Hernandez is average, at the very least, in left field, and Panik is a Gold Glover who usually makes that play, so this isn’t to call either of them out. It’s just that on a different day, with different positioning, either of those could have been outs. And the game would have proceeded like nothing was out of place.

In subsequent innings, Samardzija was occasionally hittable. He pumped a two-seamer down the middle to Justin Bour, and the baseball was shot angrily into the night, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. He hung a slider to Giancarlo Stanton that was hit so hard into left field that made Hernandez duck six minutes later when the sound of the line drive reached him.

In between, Samardzija got a bunch of outs, which allowed him to pitch deep into the game.

This has been your Jeff Samardzija update. It is the same update as last time, and the time before that. If events should change, you will be notified.

Chris O’Grady allowed fewer runs, of course, because he got to face the Giants, who do not have Justin Bour or Giancarlo Stanton. O’Grady had another advantage, in that he was making his major league debut against the Giants. Here are the last 10 starters who made their major league debut against them:

Starting pitchers making MLB debuts vs. Giants

Name Year IP H ER BB K Quality start? Giants lose?
Name Year IP H ER BB K Quality start? Giants lose?
Chris O'Grady 2017 5.2 5 3 2 4 N Y
Nik Turley 2017 4 8 4 0 4 N N
Ben Lively 2017 7 4 1 3 0 Y Y
Ross Stripling 2016 7.1 0 1 4 4 Y N
Odrisamer Despaigne 2014 7 4 0 0 1 Y Y
Gerrit Cole 2013 6.1 7 2 0 2 Y Y
Hyun-jin Ryu 2013 6.1 10 1 0 5 Y N
A.J. Griffin 2012 6 3 2 1 4 Y Y
Lance Lynn 2011 5.1 4 5 0 5 N N
Sean O'Sullivan 2009 7 5 1 1 5 Y Y

Do the Giants fare poorly against starting pitchers making their major league debut against them? Mmmmnnrryyyeah, kind of, but nothing that can’t be a random pattern. It seems like they’re letting any pitcher go seven strong innings with an earned run, not just the rookies.

Just because I have it up, here’s the ranking of the best pitchers in baseball history to make their major league debut in a start against the Giants:

  1. Kirk Rueter
  2. J.R. Richard
  3. Hideo Nomo
  4. Larry Dierker
  5. Johnny Podres/Dan Haren/John Candelaria

Note that in the ‘60s, eight different starters made their debut against the Giants, and none of them made a quality start. Most of them were pummeled.

The Giants should probably find the Willie Mays and Willie McCovey of today, in other words. Seems like that would help a bit.

I’ve been watching this for an hour now, send help.