The Giants lost a game they either had a great chance of winning or they lost a game they had no business winning. Or maybe the Cubs won a game they had no business winning. Look, I don’t know. Both teams played like trash. This was like a remake of Eight Men Out but both teams were trying to lose. This was Loris Karius doinking one off an opponent into his own goal for four hours.
The final score was 8 to 3 but it really could have been 14 to 12. There was a lot of dumb that happened in this game and I’m not really sure where to begin. I guess I’ll start with what the story was before the game.
Pablo Sandoval started at second base for the first time in his major league career, and the baseball gods cranked the difficulty up to Very Hard. In the inning, he got a ball that deflected off Blach, a ball hit far to his left (which he made a good play on), a ball that pinballed between Blach and the umpire, and another ball that Blach knocked down. Sandoval had a shot at the first one, but I don’t know if Joe Panik makes that play. It’s just unfair to Pablo that he didn’t get an easy grounder to give proof of concept before he had to get his uniform dirty.
But that wasn’t even close to the dumbest thing that happened tonight. If anything, that was the highlight of the game. This wasn’t Aubrey Huff starting at second. Sandoval actually looked like a viable option at second.
The dumbest thing was how the Giants couldn’t truly take advantage of Tyler Chatwood pitching like a nincompoop.
Chatwood looked god awful tonight. He couldn’t throw his pitches anywhere near the plate, and it soon became apparent that the Giants needed to get as many runs out of him before he got yanked out of the game. There was a feeling that if the Giants couldn’t take advantage of Chatwood, the bullpen would come in and shut the door. (SPOILER ALERT: That’s exactly what happened).
Nick Hundley had a chance to break the game open after the Giants took a 3-0 lead with the help of some misplays by the Cubs and a two-run single by Mac Williamson. Instead, he rolled a grounder to second base. Hundley being the best hitting catcher on the Giants was fun while it lasted but that’s over now. Since May 5, Hundley is hitting .139/.162/.306, and he’s 2 for his last 20. It would be super cool if Buster Posey’s hip pain didn’t put him on the DL, because the Giants can’t afford to have Nick Hundley not even hitting like Nick Hundley.
The Giants wound up giving away their three-run lead immediately. They were the victims of some bad luck when a ball heading straight for Brandon Crawford deflected off an umpire. But Ty Blach wasn’t fooling anyone and the Cubs were spraying the ball all over the place.
In the second inning, Chatwood walked Blach to lead off the inning and gave up a single on a hanging curve to Gorkys Hernandez. Andrew McCutchen walked to create a bases-loaded, nobody out situation. Not only had Chatwood prompted boos from the crowd, but Willson Contreras came out to yell at him. Chatwood continued to pitch like garbage so naturally Brandon Belt struck out, Evan Longoria struck out, and Brandon Crawford lined out to left.
The Giants loaded the bases against Chatwood again in the third inning and knocked him out of the game. In 2.2 innings, Chatwood walked five batters and gave up six hits, but the Giants only scraped three runs out of it. With that many baserunners in such a short amount of time, it’s hard to imagine scoring any fewer than that.
Not to be outdone, Ty Blach began the bottom of the third with eleven straight balls. He managed to work a full count to Contreras but walked him, too. The Cubs, though, were committed to the bit. Kyle Schwarber struck out. Addison Russell struck out. Jason Heyward lined out to left. It’s almost creepy how symmetrically terrible these two teams played in the first four innings.
Ty Blach finally got knocked out of the game in the fourth inning. He started it by walking Randy Rosario, a relief pitcher who had absolutely no intention of swinging. Then, Blach gave up a double that would have been a triple had there not been a relief pitcher who had never run the bases in a major league game clogging up the basepaths.
This brought in Pierce Johnson, Bruce Bochy’s IDGAF anymore pitcher. Johnson threw Javier Baez a cutter down and away, which isn’t a bad pitch to a normal hitter, but Baez is not a normal hitter. Baez hit a three-run dinger and it almost felt like a mercy. At least one team was doing something right.
Surprisingly, this was the first time Pierce Johnson had allowed an inherited runner to score. In the six previous games Johnson had come in with a runner on, he managed to work out of the jam. It’s surprising because Johnson hasn’t been very good. In 27.1 innings, he’s given up 19 runs on 15 walks and 18 strikeouts. It seems like his role is to eat innings in games that are out of hand, but when the rotation is this bad that’s a role that has to exist.
The Cubs eventually won because after four innings, they decided to stop playing like doofazoids. That’s all it took to win this game.