Jeremy Affeldt and Jon Miller couldn’t even pretend the Battle of the Bay trophy matters. After Amy G explained the tiebreaker that’s not an actual tiebreaker, Affeldt’s reaction was essentially, “Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense. You didn’t win anything.”
That trophy may be a meaningless marketing ploy, but the Giants’ hopes of winning the stupid thing are still alive. This game had echoes of last Friday’s game which the Giants won 7-1. Like last Friday, the Giants struggled to get anything going against Edwin Jackson in the early goings. Tonight, they took another one run lead into the seventh and finally added on.
Although this wound up being a comfortable win devoid of any late-inning comebacks or serious threats, it was a smidge frustrating in the first three innings. The Giants didn’t have a hit until Andrew McCutchen’s double in the fourth. Their only baserunner until that point was Pablo Sandoval who drew a walk. If the only baserunner comes the way of Pablo Sandoval drawing a walk, one must wonder: what the hell was everyone else doing?
Edwin Jackson didn’t give the Giants a lot to hit in the first few innings, but he also wasn’t painting the black. He couldn’t seem to throw anything close to the strike zone, but that didn’t matter because the Giants were going to swing anyway. Alen Hanson swung at a ball a foot outside the strike zone. Ryder Jones struck out on a pitch at his eyes. Gorkys Hernández check-swing fouled off a pitch that almost hit him—something he’s done about 400 times this year—right before he check-swing grounded out to first.
Second time through, the Giants had much better at-bats. Andrew McCutchen fouled away enough pitches that he eventually got a grooved fastball and just missed a home run. Buster Posey swung at a bad ball, but he managed to flip it over the infield.
After looking overmatched in his first appearance, Jones hit a big boy dinger off the top of the foul pole.
Jones was likely only up for the day with Brandon Belt on paternity leave. He only hit two dingers in 53 games last year, so he only needed two plate appearances to get halfway to last year’s mark. It was a welcome surprise, for sure. I’m interested to see what Ryder Jones would do with another shot in the big leagues. He just turned 24, and he’s hit well in AAA this year. I’m just not sure where the Giants would play him this year unless Hanson falls into an open manhole.
Jones might be going back to Sacramento tomorrow, but he made Bruce Bochy happier than I’ve ever seen him.
Look how happy!
Curt Young was not impressed, however.
Perhaps Young knew that with the way Jackson was pitching, the Giants should have been able to score more than two measly runs against him.
The Giants eventually did score more than two measly runs against Jackson. Well, they only scored three. But three is more than two. The third run came on a Pablo Sandoval no-doubter.
He nearly added another in the eighth inning, this time batting from the right side. But he got the Oakland Coliseum equivalent of AT&T’d because it hit off the top of the high wall in left-center. It was roughly the same spot where McCutchen hit his double earlier in the game. When the Giants go on the road, they’re not supposed to have the ballparks take away home runs. They’re supposed to hit cheapies that have 10% hit probabilities.
But they didn’t need a ton of offense tonight because Dereck Rodriguez and the bullpen pitched so well. He finished with five strikeouts with just one walk and three hits over 6.1 innings. He hit two batters, so the line is slightly misleading. On one of those, Matt Chapman didn’t try to get out of the way, so it shouldn’t really count.
Rodriguez had the opposite problem as Jackson if you want to look for faults. He perhaps stayed too close to the strike zone and gave the A’s plenty to hit. Rodriguez has pitched better than he did tonight, but I don’t know if he ever had the results to match it. What a blessing it is to be nonplussed with a pitcher’s performance and still have him pitch that well.
Rodriguez benefitted from some nice defensive plays behind him. McCutchen made two sliding catches in right field, and Hernández chased down a fly ball in the left field corner. It’s incredible how even a competent outfield looks head and shoulders better than last year’s iteration.
After an uneventful All-Star appearance, Brandon Crawford finally got a chance to show off two batters into Rodriguez’s start.
Off the bat, I didn’t think that Crawford had a shot. Not only did he get to the ball, but he got his body in front of it. With his momentum carrying him toward right field, he threw across his body to get it to first. Pablo Sandoval had to bail him out at the end of the play, but that shouldn’t discredit Crawford’s footwork.
Mark Melancon threw a scoreless inning, but it was one of the least convincing outings I’ve seen from him this year. The A’s lined the ball all over the field against him, and they didn’t take an unbalanced swing against him. Melancon’s season is still young, but this would be his lowest K/9 since 2009. He’s shown flashes of his pre-Giants performance this year, so there’s still hope for him to be good. Tonight, however, was not encouraging.
Steven Duggar Doubles Watch
Tonight: 1-for-4, No Doubles
On the season: 5 doubles in 32 plate appearances.
That’s still a lot of doubles!