Ray Black gets the loss for this one, and he threw a pretty bad curveball to Phillip Ervin to do it. That pitch deserved to get hit to the moon, but Black probably shouldn’t have been in that situation. He was asked to pitch another inning because he was the fifth relief pitcher and the long man in the bullpen started the game. The other long man in the bullpen, Ty Blach, threw 35 pitches on Wednesday, and that was four days after he threw 67 pitches. Had Black made it through the 11th, it would have been the eighth shutout inning the bullpen had thrown, and they had to throw that many because the Giants couldn’t score more than one run against the Reds.
If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the offense. I don’t know how one could be mad about this outcome. For anger to exist, there needs to be some sort of denial, some amount of disbelief e.g. “What the fork?”, “Are you shirting me?” etc. It’s not at all shocking that the Giants flailed at Reds pitching all night and managed just one measly run. Being mad at the Giants right now is kind of like juggling knives and getting mad when you get cut. What did you think was going to happen? That they were going to score runs?
Casey Kelly only started today because Yasiel Puig overreacted to something Nick Hundley said. Or because Hundley goaded Puig. Wherever your chain of events ends up, one of the points on the timeline is that Dereck Rodríguez pulled his hamstring running out of the dugout to help break up a fight. I’m beginning to think it would be safer to follow hockey rules for fighting and just let the two goons hash it out for a few seconds. If benches don’t clear, Rodríguez doesn’t pull a hammy, Michael Morse doesn’t get a concussion, that guy Johnny Cueto kicked in the neck doesn’t get kicked in the neck.
At any rate, Kelly pitched tonight, and he pitched pretty well. He didn’t miss a lot of bats, but he only walked one batter. The pitch-to-contact strategy is a precarious one, especially in the Great American Ballpark because it’s a stadium built for babies.
Kelly gave up nine hits in 4 1/3 innings and somehow only gave up one run. A lot of that was sequencing, but it was also Kelly’s ability to control the running game. In the first inning, he picked off Billy Hamilton with a move that’s better than anyone on the Giants except for maybe Derek Holland and his borderline balk move. He also has a quick delivery out of the stretch, so he actually gave Buster Posey time to throw out José Peraza trying to steal.
He also did what no other Giants starter has been able to do: bunt. His sacrifice bunt in the third set up the only run the Giants would score off Anthony DeSclafani.
The Giants’ inability is frustrating for two reasons. First, he’s not any good. Second, because I have to talk about him and because I have to talk about him, I had to learn how to spell DeSclafani which I misspelled when I looked him up on Fangraphs and continued to misspell until this sentence.
In 12 starts this year, DeSclafani has a 4.46 ERA and a 5.17 FIP. Nearly 20 percent of the fly balls he allows go over the fence. That’s in part because his home field is teeny tiny but also because he’s not very good.
Still, the Giants mustered just six hits against him and over 7 2/3 innings. Now I know how fans of other teams feel when Derek Holland shuts them down. The only reason DeSclafani didn’t finish the eighth is because he fooled Alen Hanson too badly. On his final pitch, DeSclafani bounced a 3-2 curve off the plate and Hanson swung over the top of it. It got past Tucker Barnhart, so Hanson was allowed to reach via the dumbest rule in all of sports. The at-bat started with Hanson swinging at a fastball that was already in the catcher’s glove. DeSclafani completely dominated Hanson, and Hanson got to reach first because he swung at a pitch so far out of the zone the catcher couldn’t catch it.
Even with the gift out in the eighth that brought a runner to third, the Giants couldn’t score. It doesn’t surprise me that the Giants failed to score. They only average 4.03 runs per game. The only teams who score fewer runs are last place teams or the Tigers. The Giants’ mode score is two. The number two. They score two runs a game more often than any other amount of runs. Two is still more than they scored tonight. That is, well, what you would associate with the number two.
But the pitching was as good as the hitting was bad. Reyes Moronta did Reyes Moronta things. Tony Watson looked like the guy he was before the All-Star break. Mark Melancon got through an inning without giving up a run.
Perhaps most impressive was Sam Dyson. Dyson’s sinker had as much movement as some pitchers’ split and he kept it down at the bottom of the zone. If Dyson could throw his sinker like that every time he’d be unhittable.
Steven Duggar Doubles Watch:
Nine doubles in 107 plate appearances.
That’s an acceptable amount of doubles!