It figures that after the Giants shutout the Nationals in a Derek Holland start, they would get lit up by the Marlins in a Madison Bumgarner start. Well, it wasn’t all the Marlins. It was Brian Anderson, JT Realmuto, and Lewis Brinson specifically. Combined, those three hitters went 8-for-12 with three doubles, a triple, and two home runs. No other Marlin got a hit.
Bumgarner again didn’t have his best stuff. His command wasn’t there, and he flew open on a few changeups. Still, he pitched three hitless innings to start the night, so it looked like it wouldn’t matter. He was pitching against the Marlins after all. What was the worst that could happen?
Brian Anderson was the worst thing that could happen. The pitch Anderson homered on wasn’t a bad pitch. Hundley set up on the outside part of the plate and Bumgarner threw a cutter right to the glove, but Anderson took it the other way. It never looked like a homer until it finally landed beyond the wall.
Meanwhile, the Giants had hit about 13 fly balls that all looked gone off the bat but died at the warning track.
After Anderson hit his home run, he returned to the dugout to bro-down hard with Justin Bour, but Justin Bour only wanted to bro-down a little. Anderson, slighted by Bour’s refusal, did what anyone would do in that situation and punched Bour in the butt.
The Giants got beat by a team so unaccustomed to winning that they can’t even celebrate right.
Even when the Marlins jumped ahead, I never thought the Giants would lose this game. At least until Realmuto’s homer in the seventh. Bumgarner may have gotten beat on a good pitch by Anderson, but Sam Dyson threw a garbage fastball to JT Realmuto. On a 2-2 count, he tried to go down and away with a fastball but left it middle-middle, and Realmuto did unspeakable things to it.
Reyes Moronta also didn’t look good. He couldn’t work out his way out of the sixth without allowing a run to score, and he opened up the seventh with a four-pitch walk. The bullpen has been so good lately, but Moronta and Dyson had some of their worst outings in months.
This is all Doug’s fault. He failed to curse the bullpen with his trust power rankings, and he couldn’t leave well enough alone. He just had to write an article praising the bullpen’s work in Washington.
If there’s one thing that’s different about Longoria’s approach at the plate, it’s that he’s swinging more than ever before. Wei-Yin Chen and the Marlins probably knew that because in Longoria’s first at-bat, Chen never backed up his location. The final four pitches of the at-bat were thrown outside, inside, up, and down.
Longoria swung at all of them. He didn’t hit the last one especially hard, but it made its way through the infield to score the Giants’ first run.
Longoria isn’t up there looking for a specific pitch or location. He’s just up there to swing at anything close. Sometimes it works. Usually, it hasn’t.
That run was also made possible by some smart, aggressive baserunning from Gorkys Hernandez. With Hernandez on first, Buster Posey hit a deep fly ball to left field. It hung in the air long enough that Gorkys knew if it weren’t caught, it’d be because it went over the fence. Instead of going half way, he tagged up and took second.
Mac Williamson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. One of those strikeouts came with the bases loaded and one out after a four-pitch walk. Seems like he could use a day off.
The fifth inning was not a good inning for Don Mattingly. Mattingly lost a challenge on a play at second base. He then Intentionally walked Longoria to load the bases for Brandon Crawford. Wei-Yin Chen immediately balked in a run. Because he was so intent at keeping a force at every base, he then intentionally walked Crawford and brought it Brad Ziegler to face Nick Hundley. Ziegler walked in another run on four pitches.
To evaluate managerial decisions, it’s important to isolate intent from results. For instance, Longoria knocked in another run when he hit a groundball to the right side with an overshift on. It’s a good move to shift in that situation because Longoria pulls 67% of his ground balls.
It’s not Mattingly’s fault Chen balked in a run or that Ziegler couldn’t throw strikes or that Miami’s cameras aren’t fast enough to prove Gorkys Hernandez should have been out. Stuff like that happens when you’re managing one of the worst teams in the majors and your old bosses spent the city’s money on aquariums and your new bosses sold the espresso machine in the breakroom to pay Dan Straily.
What made this a weird inning was his decision to face Brandon Crawford over Evan Longoria. Instead of having his left-hander pitch to Longoria (.914 OPS v LHP) with runners at second and third, he opted to have his left-hander pitch to Crawford (.949 OPS v LHP) with the bases loaded. He also could have brought in Ziegler to face Longoria since Longoria can’t hit righties. Trying to go for platoon advantage with Chen doesn’t make sense here.
Nor does it make sense to load the bases intentionally with one out. The chances of preventing a run go up about 2% when you go from a second and third, one out situation to a bases-loaded situation, but the odds of giving up multiple runs goes up significantly. This is something you want to do in extra innings with the winning run at third, not in the fifth inning of a tie game.
I liked it better when Mattingly did weird, dumb stuff when he was managing the Dodgers. It just makes me itchy now.
It makes me even itchier knowing the Giants couldn’t fully take advantage of it.