The Giants almost did something that’s never happened in the 137 year history of the franchise:
But they didn’t, thanks to this late blast:
THE GIANTS SCORED A RUN! I REPEAT: THE GIANTS SCORED A RUN pic.twitter.com/O18MhboQr4— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 30, 2019
I had a bunch of stuff queued up about how the Giants had failed to score a run in their past 27 innings — they were shut out in the final game of last season — and how as much as it made sense to come into this season with an open mind and a clean slate, the 2019 team had, in effect, inextricably linked itself to its recent past. But, who cares?
None of the players you’re seeing right now will be wearing a Giants uniform the next time the Giants are good. That’s not an overtly cynical thought or a guess at some grand design on Zaidi’s part, it’s reality. The batters are toast and good pitching doesn’t matter if the team can’t score. They’ll need those quality arms to be used in trades to acquire potential pieces that can be either used to acquire other pieces or used on the next good Giants team, which could be... well... who knows how many years from now. These games are just marking time.
The Giants did put together a rally at the end of the game, and much like everything we’ve come to expect of this team since the second half of 2016, a bases loaded, one out situation in a 4-1 game led to two strikeouts looking to end the game, the last one coming with Brandon Belt at the plate, because of course it did. Belt’s strikeout not only ended the game, but prevented the rally from extending to a Madison Bumgarner pinch hit appearance with the game on the line. This game is cruel.
Anyway, these Giants aren’t doing anything different than the previous Giants. These Padres, though... humm baby, they’re doing things they’ve never done before —
The Padres' much maligned pitching staff has pitched 15 scoreless innings this season, which is the longest season-opening streak in franchise history. Of course.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 30, 2019
with stuff their fans have never seen before —
Fernando Tatis just missed his first dinger by a foot and a half. Instead it's a double off the center field wall. 103 mph exit velo.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 30, 2019
— and as annoying as it is to have to watch the Giants eat turds for the next who knows how many years, at least the Padres are in a position to rise. You remember those days. It used to be that beating the world champs was a big deal and proved your team had arrived, but the Giants are so bad that a team like the Padres should beat them easily if they really think they’re setup to improve this year.
They made their big free agent addition — and Manny Machado had his first hits tonight — to supplement a young, talented core developed through savvy trades, keen evaluations, and a whole lotta losing. The Giants are a third of the way to have their own Fernando Tatis, Franmil Reyes, and et cetera. We’ve just got to detach outcome from process. The process of losing lots and lots and lots and lots of baseball games in really dumbbad ways.
So, we already know the Giants aren’t going to be good. Let’s pivot to the good stuff:
Zaidi is a moron— Steve Heston (@HestonBuzz) March 30, 2019
Objectively, he’s much smarter than a lot of us, but Steve said something that did inspire this following thought: I worked in TV for a good chunk of my career, so the Zaidi takeover feels somewhat analogous to a new showrunner coming in late in a show’s run. TV shows are weird organisms — a collection of overlapping talents with complimentary pieces covering where it doesn’t overlap; a strange alchemy of personalities and skill sets. A baseball clubhouse is very much the same kind of thing.
Zaidi inherited Evans’ team, and Evans learned from Sabean, meaning the personality of the team is inherently not a reflection of his philosophies, nor is it likely to be until Bochy, Bochy’s staff, and all of the players he didn’t draft or trade for prior to 2019 are gone and then some set group of the next wave get a year or two under their belts. At least, that feels the most correct way to look at this. Zaidi is known for tinkering, but he’s tinkering with somebody else’s thing.
And that thing isn’t very good, so if his add-ins don’t look good, it seems like everything’s even worse, even though nothing’s really changed. We saw Connor Joe’s throwing arm in action yesterday and a repeat performance tonight and between that, his soft contact, and Michael Reed’s lack of contact and average-ish arm, some people might be grousing about Mac being waived (which, by the way, we’ll find out if he cleared waivers some time tomorrow). We also had our first look at reliever Trevor Gott — the thirteenth pitcher.
These three didn’t look all that great, but we’re talking a sample size of two games, and they all showed something positive to help understand why the Giants went with them over Mac. Sure, Mac has power potential and is a solid defender, but Joe has versatility and works a count and Michael Reed can work a count while being a solid defender. Trevor Gott has no command of his curveball, but does have a 94 mph fastball with movement. They’re all also much younger than Williamson, suggesting an achievable ceiling.
Zaidi is working to build something, and that takes time. Until the Giants are good again, expect to see a lot of random players enter the Farhan Zaidi Fellowship Program, a 1-week to 6-month program where players with interesting skills and upside potential will learn to play baseball under the usage rates and platoon scenarios prescribed by advanced scouting and analytics. These Farhan Fellows won’t be Bochy Boys or Sabean Serfs, and until we get used to having them around, they’re going to feel like total randos at best and seem really frustrating at worst, which is when they don’t play better than players we’re used to seeing. But don’t worry — if they don’t work out, they won’t be around for long.
This month’s Farhan Fellows, by the way:
Connor Joe: 0-for-3 with two Ks but worked the count; Padres were unafraid to run on his arm, but Farhan Zaidi doesn’t care about left field defense.
Michael Reed: 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts and didn’t really make a great throw home in the second as Fernando Tatis Jr scored. He overthrew his cutoff later on but sort of fading away from his man while at the wall in right field — a much better throw. Looked like he was nervous and pressing at the plate.
Trevor Gott: 3 hits and 2 walks allowed in 1.2 innings, but struck out two and allowed just 1 run, even though it could’ve been more had it not been for Brandon Crawford’s throw to nail Ian Kinsler at home plate in the bottom of the fifth. Was throwing 94 consistently.
Travis Bergen: cleaned up Trevor Gott’s mess by facing Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the sixth and getting him to ground out. He was 90-91 with the fastball, but looked like he was putting it wherever he wanted and with movement.
Erik Kratz: 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch. His hit by pitch loaded the bases in the top of the 9th. Otherwise, he played like a 38-year old backup catcher.
Yangervis Solarte: 1-for-4 and some big swings. He looked like one of the few players who could get on top of a high fastball.
Gerardo Parra: 0-for-2 with a strikeout looking in the ninth that got him heated. He has not had an above average major league season at the plate since 2015.
Who was tonight’s Farhan Fellow?
This poll is closed
Meanwhile, it’s fair to say that every single player on the Giants’ roster is being showcased. If we view the game through that lens, let’s look at how the showroom stock improved itself:
- Evan Longoria broke the Giants’ scoreless drought with a booming home run in the 9th and he looks re-energized at the plate. He’s also one of the few veteran players without a no-trade clause and the amount the Giants owe on his deal by AAV isn’t outrageous (around $11.4 million), so he could be a trade piece if he keeps it up.
- Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless inning and recorded a strikeout. He looked calm, cool, and collected, no sign of his disastrous spring. He has a full no-trade clause, but if the Giants win, like, five games in April, maybe he’ll reconsider?
- Sam Dyson threw 93 mph with lots of movement and looked sharp. Whatever the Giants have done with him since acquiring him in 2017 has really paid off.
- Derek Holland didn’t look great, but he didn’t look terrible, and still struck out 5 in 4 innings of work. His strikeouts per 9 was 8.9 last season. It looks like he might be able to hold on to whatever tweaks he’s made since signing with the Giants last offseason, which could give them a great trade piece this year.
It took Evan Longoria’s home run in the ninth to finally give the Giants more extra base hits (4) than outs made on the base paths (3) in their first two games. It looked really rough until that ninth inning, and even then, it was still pretty rough and figures to be for the rest of the year. Which brings me to this:
The Giants would need to win 74 games to bring Bruce Bochy to 2,000 career wins. They’d need to win 90 games just to end his managerial record at .500. Do you feel that either scenario is plausible? That’s why I’m suggesting that Bruce Bochy not retire at season’s end. He should sign a two-year deal with some other team out there, one he doesn’t have to endure such pain and suffering while watching.
The Nationals seem like a safe bet to toss their manager, if only because the job of Nationals manager seems like a high turnover position. Two years two try to get that team out of the first round of the playoffs seems like a fine idea. After all the success, I agree that Bruce Bochy should go out on his own terms, but also feel he deserves to leave the stage on a winning note. Sure, his Hall of Fame resume is set, but why not lead the Nationals, Mets, or, like, the Mariners to greater heights, just to show them how it’s done?