This was a game the Giants were always supposed to lose. The Nationals had Patrick Corbin starting and it was a rubber match. The Giants are incapable of beating Corbin and they’re equally incapable of winning the final game of a split-series.
Patrick Corbin made six starts against the Giants in 2018. In those six starts, Corbin pitched to a 2.27 ERA in 39 2/3 innings. He struck out 46 and walked just 7. That the Giants were held to two baserunners in Corbin’s outing is expected. The Giants’ only hope against him was that they could force him to throw a lot of pitches, and get to the wreckage of the Nationals bullpen, but they couldn’t even do that.
Through the first five innings, Corbin had only thrown 60 pitches. At that point, they were more likely to get Madduxed than to get Trevor Rosenthal into the game. Corbin ended his day with nine strikeouts, two hits, and a walk. The Giants somehow brought a run across in the eighth inning when Erik Kratz hit double after a spirited at-bat.
The Giants only barely put up a fight in the later innings, but they really flailed at the outset.
Never mind that the Giants still haven’t scored in 20 first innings, this is the second time since Sunday that the Giants went down in order the first time through. On the season, the Giants are hitting .158/.198/.200 in the first three innings. That’s a wRC+ of 8. After the third inning, the Giants have a 91 wRC+. That’s not good, but it’s not terrible.
The Giants have done nothing to put pressure on starters in the first three innings. I hope that this is just a fluke and it’s not indicative of a deeper issue. It has to be a fluke. I don’t even know what the deeper issue would be. That the Giants don’t have any sort of advanced scouting? That the Giants begin every game hungover and they need an hour to kick it?
Drew Pomeranz split the difference between getting a lot of whiffs and giving up a ton of hard contact. The story is that Bruce Bochy told Pomeranz to air it out and let the bullpen cover the last half of the game. His fastball maxed out at 94, and he threw more curves than any other pitch. On 36 swings, he got 11 swing and misses. He struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings.
That sounds like a guy who was hard to square up, but no. He gave up five doubles and a dinger in his brief outing. He also mixed in three walks. He was perhaps fortunate to get through with only four runs allowed. He can thank Trevor Gott for bailing him out of a bases loaded situation in the fifth.
Travis Bergen struggled again. He gave up a double to the first batter he faced, and he walked a guy who was trying to bunt on four pitches. I’m not really sure why Bergen was pitching in the first place considering he threw 25 pitches last night, and there were four pitchers who hadn’t thrown a pitch since Tuesday. Tony Watson, for instance, had only thrown three pitches in the last six days.
I understand the Giants want to give him an opportunity to get back on that pony after a meltdown, but wouldn’t they also want to set him up for success?
You can say this about Belt’s defense in left: he doesn’t try to do too much. I don’t know if he could have caught Anthony Rendon’s double in the third, but he sure decided early that he was going to play the carom off the wall. On one hand, I’m glad that Belt didn’t pull a Marcel Ozuna or that he hurt himself colliding with the wall. On the other, he maybe could have caught it.
Steven Duggar made his second TOOTBLAN (thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop) of the series. Last night, he made a third out at third base. (Had the Giants reviewed that play, he might have been safe, but also, maybe don’t make it that close?) Today, he was the first Giant to reach base, drawing a walk in the fourth inning. He promptly got picked off.
Duggar is the fastest Giant by a lot, so if there’s one guy who should be aggressive on the basepaths, it’s him. Really, his only chance of scoring after that walk was trying to steal his way to third. His baserunning should be good, but so far it hasn’t.
This is the at-bat that got Bruce Bochy ejected from the game.
The higher of the orange dots outside the zone was the 3-2 pitch. I’ve been on the umpire’s side the last couple times there have been gripes, but these were terrible calls. Umpires, in general, are quite good at their jobs. But Belt walked twice in that at-bat. Bochy had every right to inform Ryan Additon that he screwed up.
But it didn’t end there. This is the pitch that got Brandon Belt ejected:
That pitch was a ball width closer than the pitch he got rung up on in the fifth, but it was still well outside. Of course, Belt was upset. Those calls were absolute garbage.
And it’s not as if Additon had been calling the outside strike all day. He missed four pitches on the outside to lefties through the first seven innings. Three of them came against Belt.
I’m not going to pretend that those calls were the difference between the Giants winning or losing this game, or that umpires aren’t allowed to blow a call every once in a while, but it’s frustrating to watch the bat get taken out of someone’s hands.