Before we get into everything, the furious ninth-inning comeback that wasn’t quite furious enough, the bullpen, Ty Blach’s slump, the Giants scoring at least nine runs and losing for the third time this season, we have to agree on something uncontroversial.
Whenever a team hits a leadoff inside-the-park home run, the game should immediately end.
That’s it. It’s automatic. Baseball needs a nuclear option like this, the equivalent of rolling 10 snake-eyes with 10 dice. It needs an “Extraordinary Occurrences Chart" from The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Hit a leadoff inside-the-parker, win the game. It’s like sinking the 8-ball on the break, depending on where you’re playing. It’s a win.
So what happens when the game ends after 20 minutes, and you have 30,000 ticked-off people who paid cash money to be entertained? Well, guess what, Huey Lewis has to attend every Giants home game, just in case, and he performs the concert of his life if this specific occurrence ever happens.
We can all agree on this.
As is, the Giants lost because Bud Selig and Rob Manfred lacked the vision to make this happen. Which means the guy who should have been the walkoff-leadoff hero lived long enough to become the villain, borking a catch in the sixth inning that indirectly led to seven runs and utter misery. Denard Span had a game he’ll remember, alright.
(Also, it was a total error. There’s no kicking in baseball. But, whatever, let us have this.)
Also, the Giants lost because they allowed 12 runs. They’ve won three of those games since moving to San Francisco. They should probably not allow 12 runs if they’re looking to win baseball games.
But in a similar vein, the Giants scored nine runs, and they usually win those games. They’ve now lost four of those games this year, all since June 15. To put that in perspective, that means the 2017 Giants have lost more games after scoring nine runs than they did from 2011 through 2016 combined. Heck, in the last two months.
The delicious irony is that this isn’t a very good offensive team, so they shouldn’t have this many opportunities to score nine runs and lose. We’re just blessed, I guess.
Those runs were a treat, though. The Giants made a 12-4 loss interesting, and I’m always here for that. Getting the tying run at the plate after being down by eight is one of baseball’s greatest gifts. Maybe not that specific permutation, but the general idea. There were about 3,000 people left, and they earned every throaty cheer. Cheers to those cheers.
Yes, it was, overall, a stupid baseball game. Do you know how hard the Giants had to work to turn a game with a leadoff inside-the-park home run and a five-run rally in the ninth inning into a stupid baseball game? Exceptionally hard. Let’s look for some culprits.
Ty Blach probably isn’t Mark Buehrle. We knew that, I guess, but it’s worth the occasional reminder. Every time I pointed out that he had the lowest HR/9 rate in the National League, it was essentially a carrier pigeon to the baseball gods, begging them to take action. They did. It wasn’t pretty.
The damage was mostly done when Blach fell behind in the count. He can’t do that. He knows it. Dave Righetti knows it. When it happens, something is wrong. Here’s hoping that something can be fixed in four days.
Josh Osich is bad. I see the stuff. I dream on the stuff. It’s freaky-filthy stuff. But the command within the strike zone is a straight 20 on the 20-to-80 scale. There are different kinds of wild out there. One of them is the pitcher that has absolutely no idea where the ball is going, and he’ll walk six batters for every nine innings he pitches. Then there’s the pitcher who can kind of get the plate more often than not. If it goes right over the middle of the plate, hey, at least it wasn’t a ball.
Osich is the latter. And he’s sporting a 6.14 ERA on the season, with way too many walks and way too many home runs allowed. It’s a cruel twist on the season that Bruce Bochy, Mr. Matchup, has just one left-hander, and it’s someone having one of the worst left-handed relief seasons in Giants history.
I guess it’s kind of funny that Righetti has two of the worse seasons. I can get into Josh Osich, magic pitching coach with three World Series rings.
Denard Span, oh, well, we’ll always have the inside-the-parker. His muff on an easy fly ball was the missing out in the Phillies’ seven-run sixth inning. Just to give you an idea of how lopsided his season has been, he entered Saturday night with a .745 OPS, which isn’t bad at all for someone who plays half his games at AT&T Park. And yet he’s worth a cool -1.0 WAR according to Baseball-Reference, which means he’s on pace to be one of the worst center fielders in Giants history. I’m not sure if I buy the defensive stats that make up rWAR, but I’m pretty sure I know that Span has giveth and taketh with alarming frequency.
It’s worth noting that the two San Francisco Giants ahead of him on that list sure didn’t play a lot of center field the following year. It’s coming. And I hate myself for being so negative because he really drove the ball well tonight. He’s an HR wizard stuck in accounts payable. Someone help him realize his potential, please.
The Giants outhit the Phillies. They just didn’t out-homer them. As such, the Giants lost a home game in which they scored nine runs. That was just the ninth time they’ve scored that many and lost in AT&T Park history. It was just the 26th such home game in San Francisco history. There were thrills and spills, and some players screwed up, but the real story was the friends we met along the way.
The Giants have scored 19 runs over their last two games, and they’re .500 in those games. I love that. Keep entertaining me in weird ways, 2017 Giants. Just keep it coming.