Admit it: you expected this.
You expected the San Francisco Giants to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers. You probably even expected it to occur in this fashion - with the Dodgers hitters, no longer anemic against left-handed pitchers, mashing balls all over the field, and Walker Buehler, the type of pitching prospect the Giants executives see only during those mystical moments of half-hearted shut-eye on cross country flights, mowing down the hitters.
I expected it.
The Dodgers entered the game with a record of 19-12. The Giants were a chill 12-17.
We all expected it.
Bruce Bochy expected it.
That’s where the record scratches a little bit. Okay, sure, you and I expected it. Sure the players in the Dodgers dugout and the fans lining the cold plastic seats expected it.
But Bruce Bochy? Well, he’s not supposed to expect it.
And yet, he did. Or at least we can deduce as much from his managerial style.
Bochy pulled Drew Pomeranz after just four innings, after the lefty gave up a three-run dinger to David Freese which put the Dodgers up 3-1. Okay. Good. We’re doing all right so far.
In came Trevor Gott for the fifth inning. That’ll do. Nice one, skipper.
Now comes the sixth inning and with it . . . Ty Blach?
Blach was just called up because Derek Holland was placed on the Injured List. He won’t start for Holland - that will likely be Tyler Beede - but Blach is here for some depth until Holland’s spot rolls around. He’s clearly ninth on the nine-man bullpen totem pole.
And yet . . . in the sixth inning of a two-run game, in came Blach for the token “you’re here!” appearance.
It didn’t go so well.
Two walks and a single later, and the bases were loaded with one out.
Hey, probably a good time to bring in Mark Melancon or something.
Instead, Blach stayed in and gave up a two-run double.
Hey, probably a good time to bring in Travis Bergen or something.
Instead, Blach stayed in and gave up another two-run double.
Hey, probably a good time to bring in Nick Vincent or something.
Instead, Blach stayed in and gave up a two-run home run.
Now here’s where I’ll give Bochy credit: The score was now 9-1, which is exactly the type of situation that Blach is there to pitch in. So Bochy let him stay in and pitch.
And then Bochy let him stay in and pitch the seventh inning, because that’s what long relievers do in blow-out games. And sure, he gave up a home run to dead center to Justin Turner (his first of the year), but that’s okay. You’re a long reliever. You’re just there to eat up innings. Just pretend the first six runs didn’t happen and the management there was b-e-a-utiful.
By the way, the Giants scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning, meaning if Bochy had used one of his other seven relievers, we might have had a tie going to the seventh.
It’s hard to imagine Blach having many days left in this organization. The Giants are re-building, and modernizing. Blach is 28, with a career 4.75 strikeouts per nine innings. The chance of Farhan Zaidi having an ounce of enthusiasm about Blach is somewhere between zero and none.
And that’s before the whole giving up seven runs to the Dodgers thing.
You have to imagine that the next time the Giants need to clear space off the 40-man roster, Blach will be the one to go.
We interrupt this depressing recap to bring you Brandon Belt hitting just the second triple of the season for the Giants.
Belt showin' @TriplesAlleySFG some love pic.twitter.com/fzyzy5vWRI— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 1, 2019
I am not as pessimistic about the Giants as many.
While it’s true that the team has been one of the absolute worst in the league for the last two and a half years, they still have three World Series trophies more recently than anyone else. And while it’s true that they’re unlikely to make any noise this season, they recently hired one of the most respected minds in baseball to turn things around.
On the whole, the last decade has been very successful, and I expect the next decade to be very successful as well.
And yet, if you want to take the temperature of just how sad the current state of the team is, that was on wide display on Tuesday night if you’re a fan of Bay Area sports.
Not only did the Giants get thoroughly outclassed by their rivals, but across the bay the Golden State Warriors hosted a big-time playoff game. At the same darn time. And it all happened while the San Jose Sharks skated around in a huge playoff contest.
It’s not the Giants fault, of course, that their schedule conflicted with two much more important, much more exciting sporting events in the area.
But it certainly is representative of the current state of the team
Blach, by the way, almost stuck around until the end of the game. He made it to one out in the ninth before Bochy finally relented and brought in Bergen.
But Bochy was right when he brought Blach in, in the sixth inning of a close game: the game was over.