This may come as a shock. The Giants are not the only team that struggles against pitchers you’ve never heard of. The Cubs struggle against the Odrisamer Despaignes of the world. The Nationals can also be nearly no-hit by the Ross Striplings. Hell, the actual Dodgers can’t hit the actual Ty Blach.
It doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating the Giants couldn’t get to Nick Pivetta. They at least got a run against Aaron Nola. Pivetta is a guy who is probably headed for the bullpen at some point in his career, since he only has two good pitches: the fastball and the slider. That was all he needed to get through the Giants, though.
After a seventeen-strikeout game the night before, the Giants struck out seven times against Pivetta and four times against the bullpen for eleven on the night. Pivetta had a problem last year with walks and home runs, so really, he matches up well against the Giants because he doesn’t have to worry about anyone walking and he really doesn’t have to worry about anyone hitting a dinger.
This is the third day in a row the Giants starting pitcher couldn’t make it to the sixth inning. The way Chris Stratton started the game made it seem like he’d get a tough luck, quality start loss. He pitched better than the results indicated. At least until the fifth inning.
Through the first four innings, he gave up three runs on four baserunners with six strikeouts and one walk. The curveball looked sharp and he was locating the fastball well. He made a couple mistakes to Maikel Franco and Carlos Santana, but other than that, he looked good.
Then I kind of blacked out for a while and the Phillies were up 11-1.
This would have been the fourth time the 2018 Giants have been beaten by ten runs or more if Gabe Kapler hadn’t left Zac Curtis in to eat innings in a game his team had already won. The 2015 Giants never lost by ten runs. The 2014 Giants lost by seventeen runs once but that was it. The 2017 Giants lost by ten runs or more four times all season. These Giants are one game away from being as bad as the 2017 in getting blown out. It’s not even Mother’s Day.
I’m not going to do a lot of second-guessing of managers. I don’t think in-game decisions make that much of a difference. The difficult part of managing isn’t making the lineup or making pitching changes. It’s more about managing personalities and being a spokesperson for the team.
Still, I have to wonder if Bruce Bochy has been too quick to throw in the towel. When Stratton began the fifth inning, he looked gassed. But Bochy let him pitch to Santana even after walking Odubel Herrara on four pitches to load the bases.
I see the value in allowing Stratton a chance to get out of the inning. Every inning the bullpen doesn’t have to pitch in May is an inning they could theoretically pitch in August or September.
But isn’t there also value in trying to keep the game close? Maybe if Stratton comes out before facing Odubel Herrara, maybe the Giants hold the Phillies at three or four runs.
Or even in the sixth when Pierce Johnson was left out to try to finish the inning even though it was clear he didn’t have it. What if Bochy came to get Johnson before the first run scored? A four-run deficit is manageable. A ten run deficit takes a once-a-decade level comeback.
Though perhaps Bochy recognizes that in order to keep the game close he would need relievers capable of preventing runs. And even if the Giants could keep the game close, they would still need an offense capable of scoring more than three runs in a game.
If you’re going to be mad at somebody, be mad at this guy:
No, not Nick Hundley. This guy:
Dude was pointing at the camera all night. Gave me the heebie jeebies. The only solace came when he left in the seventh inning to get a hot dog.
Also be mad at the offense. Which I guess includes Nick Hundley, but until baseball implements the Multi-ball rule and ten-run homers are a thing, this wasn’t his fault.
I was ready to cut them some slack for getting shut down by Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola, but tonight’s game has shown that the lineup, all at once, has gone cold. Evan Longoria had two doubles and Brandon Belt has been getting on base, so they’re cool, but everyone else has looked lost this series. Buster Posey has been flailing at pitches. Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez have been hitting like Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez.
We’ll always have Atlanta.
Now it’s up to Ty Blach to avoid the sweep. All he has to do is not allow the Phillies to score any runs. If he does that, maybe this offense can pick him up.