The Giants fell short against the Angels on Saturday 4-3. It didn’t feel like they were only down a run, however because they struck out 17 times. It was the most the Giants have struck out in a nine-inning game since August 31st, 1959, where Sandy Koufax struck out 18. (h/t Andrew Baggarly via Twitter)
Let’s put that in some perspective and line them up end to end. Those 17 strikeouts amount to 5.2 innings. That’s nearly two per inning of a nine-inning game. It is 17 non-productive outs out of 27. It’s bad, folks.
And some amount of blame, or credit, goes to Joe West’s very generous strike zone, but if you’re striking out 17 times in a game, you don’t get to blame the umpire. You need to adjust. They did not. The only player who did not strike out in this game was Mac Williamson.
Here’s how it broke down:
- 1st - 1 K
- 2nd - 3 K
- 3rd - 2 K
- 4th - 0 K
- 5th - 2 K
- 6th - 3 K
- 7th - 2 K
- 8th - 2 K
- 9th - 2 K
Sure, you can get other offense going before, between and after those strike outs, but it doesn’t leave much room for error.
Pablo Sandoval initially struck out in the second inning, but made it to first on a wild pitch (and stole second on a wild pitch as well) before Brandon Belt hit a home run - his third in the last three games he’s played. Evan Longoria and Nick Hundley both had singles after that, sprinkled in between two strike outs that left them stranded.
In the top of the eighth with two outs, Andrew McCutchen walked and was doubled in by Sandoval, followed by an intentional walk of Belt. This was, of course, followed by a strike out.
Surprisingly, the Giants actually got more hits than the Angels. Unfortunately, three of the Angels’ hits were home runs. Jefry Marte in the second, Mike Trout in the third and Albert Pujols’ two-run shot in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, Trout hit a double and then stole third. Catcher Nick Hundley threw to Longoria at third, but the ball went by him. And here’s where I had an issue with this play. Mike Trout is a big dude. At 6’2”, 235 pounds, you don’t just not see that he’s right in front of you when you turn around to go after the ball. But apparently that’s what happened to Longoria as he turned and fell on top of Trout, effectively hurting him enough to keep him from scoring. I don’t like it. Sure, it was effective in not allowing him to score, but I don’t like needlessly hurting another player as a form of defense. Never have, never will.
In the following at-bat, there was a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Pujols. Justin Upton (who was at the plate when Trout stole third, and ultimately walked) slid into Joe Panik to try to break up the double play. Another play I don’t like, but one that could be seen as retaliatory. Both are dumb, even when they’re effective. We’ve seen far too many people get injured on things like this and it’s just unnecessarily risky and dumb.
Going back to Brandon Belt’s home run, it was an interesting one in that it didn’t look like it was initially going to count. At first, it looked like Mike Trout might catch it. Then it looked like it might not have gone high enough to count as more than a ground rule double. That’s certainly what Trout thought afterwards. A year ago, it wouldn’t have. They changed the rules this year so that the ball doesn’t have to reach the seats. Finally, Belt can laugh at the ballpark instead of the other way around.
Here’s a wild thought, maybe they should stop benching Belt every few games and let him properly heat up. It is still wild that Belt hit two home runs in two games and was benched on Friday night. At least we can be sure he’ll play tomorrow, since the Giants are facing a right handed pitcher.
Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the Giants tomorrow against Jaime Barria, who will be making his second major league start. Cueto has been excellent this season, so hopefully the Giants can take advantage and win their first series of the year.
**Side note: Sean Manaea of the Oakland A’s pitched a no-hitter tonight against the Boston Red Sox that ended shortly before this game did. Now there’s a game in which you could imagine a team striking out 17 times. The Red Sox only struck out 10 times. Anyway, Manaea wears number 55. Respect.