Playing against lousy teams is terrible because there’s no result where you can be happy. If the Giants lose, that’s a win they should have had. It stings more than a loss against the Astros or the Nationals or the Cubs. If the Giants win, you can’t feel proud of what they did. They should have won. It shouldn’t be this hard. The Giants shouldn’t have to go to extra innings just to scrape to win one measly game against a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of.
And they couldn’t even do that.
The game began with echoes of last night. The Giants jumped out again in the first against a pitcher who looked lost. The difference is the Giants managed to hit the ball hard against Smith. Most of the baserunners they got off Trevor Richards last night came by way of the walk. Caleb Smith threw the first three pitches well out of the strike zone. Buster Posey doubled and Andrew McCutchen homered off a lousy fastball.
The Giants managed to add on with RBI singles from Evan Longoria and Austin Jackson in the sixth and seventh innings respectively. Like Monday’s game, however, every time the Giants gained a lead, they gave it right back. The Giants took three leads on Monday night and lost. They took one lead last night and lost. They took three leads tonight and lost.
Before the game, Bryan Murphy wondered if Andrew Suarez would use his curveball and slider more often instead of relying on his fastball. Well, it appeared that Suarez tried to use his secondary pitches more often in the first few innings, but he couldn’t throw a strike with his changeup or his curveball.
He threw just six curves all night, two of them for strikes, and four changeups, one of which was a strike.
For the first few innings, this didn’t present a problem because he was able to locate his fastball well enough to eek through the order one time. In the fourth inning, things started to unravel. He walked Brian Anderson to start off the inning, and the Marlins hitters could sit on fastballs in the zone. After allowing just one hit, in the first three innings, he allowed three in four batters following the walk to Anderson.
Suarez wasn’t the only one with a rough fourth.
I don’t know whether Gorkys Hernandez lost his balance or the Marlins Park outfield is riddled with gopher holes, but Hernandez sure did fall down in the middle of a pretty normal play. I’m surprised the runner at third didn’t score, but this did allow Cameron Maybin to take second.
It wasn’t counted as an error even though an error is a physical goof that allows a baserunner to take a base they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. He fell down in the middle of the play! That’s the biggest physical goof I can think of aside from throwing the ball into the stands or running around in circles because whoever is controlling the outfielder doesn’t know what the throw button is.
It wound up being a good thing Gorkys fell down because that set up a Maybin TOOTBLAN at home. Maybin tried to score from second on a ground ball up the middle that Brandon Crawford knocked down.
The only member of the bullpen who pitched a scoreless inning was Tony Watson, and he gave up a 450-foot foul ball. The bullpen had been a major strength until Monday, and now they can’t get anyone out. It’s a little weird that everyone became bad at the same time. I don’t know if they’re all still gassed from Washington or if they made a pact out of solidarity to Cory Gearrin, but they have not instilled the same amount of confidence they once did.
Mark Melancon gave up the second lead on a single by Justin Bour. The Giants’ plan with Bour was to attack him inside. That’s how Suarez struck him out in the middle of his rocky fourth. Melancon threw him a cutter in on the hands, but Bour turned on it. Bour didn’t hit it especially hard—just 77 MPH—but he took a balanced swing at it. Melancon’s given up a run in two of his last three outings, and he hasn’t struck anyone out in that time. Out of the 12 pitches he threw tonight, he got just one swing and miss.
Sam Dyson gave up another run after giving up a home run on Monday night. This was only partially his fault. He couldn’t throw anything close to Brian Anderson and giving up a lead-off walk is never good. It’s not his fault Nick Hundley couldn’t catch a slider or that Will Smith couldn’t get a fastball by Justin Bour. That’s not to absolve Dyson; it’s to ensure Smith and Hundley get their share of the blame.
Reyes Moronta gave up a bloop single and then couldn’t throw a strike to a guy trying to bunt. That left Hunter Strickland in a nigh-impossible situation: two one, nobody out. I’m just glad he didn’t walk in the winning run.
Mac Williamson sat tonight for the second game in a row. This time, Austin Jackson took his place. When I wrote in my recap after Monday night’s game that maybe Williamson was due for a day off, I didn’t want him to get outright benched. I’m a little worried that Jackson’s timely hitting tonight will take another start from Williamson.
Though if someone is going to take time from Williamson, better Jackson than Hunter Pence. Over the last 30 days, Jackson is hitting .289/.341/.368. That’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. In fact, it’s perfectly average going by his 100 wRC+. Jackson needs playing time to get things going, too.
Pence, on the other hand, still looks lost at the plate, and Pence got a pinch-hit appearance tonight over Williamson. It feels gross writing that Pence shouldn’t be playing for all the obvious reasons, but he hasn’t shown anything to be optimistic about.
It’s up to Dereck Rodriguez to help the Giants avoid the sweep and avoid using the bullpen.