How did you like the new 6:45 pm start time? I found it refreshing to have the 10pm hour open. There’s always a weird rush of energy right after the home games — at least, for me there usually is — and I found it nice to have that surge come an hour earlier. There’s being alert and awake and there’s being just “awake”, when you’re really half asleep. Early wrap up times means a lot more of us will be coherent when the Giants lose.
Tonight, Derek Holland takes his 5.56 FIP and throws against this lineup for the Padres:
Franmil Reyes gets a start tonight after hitting a BUH-ooming home run off of Reyes Moronta last night to crush the Giants’ spirits and after I had told you to watch out for Hunter Renfroe instead of Franmil in the latest series preview. Reyes was my hitter to watch in the season opening review, and it’s solely because he’s a scary presence in the batter’s box.
The Padres filled up the box score against Holland in the second game of the season: 4 hits (including a double and a home run) along with two walks and a hit by pitch in just 4 innings. Holland managed to strike out five, but it hardly mattered as the Giants scored just a single run (which staved off the team from being shutout in consecutive games to open a season for the first time in franchise history).
The Giants struggled in part because their lineup isn’t very good and in part because Joey Lucchesi had their number. The left-handed starter hasn’t allowed a run, earned or otherwise, in his two starters — a total of 10.1 innings — and just seven hits and three walks along with 13 strikeouts. He has been very good.
But the Giants have a new weapon: Tyler Austin. The 1B/DH/LF? has the Statcast numbers of a slugger and the contact and strikeout rates of an all or nothing softball hitter. He has also hit the ball very hard against left-handed pitching, posting a slash of .236 / .307 / .539 with 8 home runs in 101 PA against LHP. He’ll be batting second tonight against Lucchesi:
4.9.19 #SFGiants lineup:— Amy Gutierrez (@AmyGGiants) April 9, 2019
A positive development for Gerardo Parra here after he got hit in the jaw last night with an errant fastball. Per the post game pool, he cut his lip but didn’t seem to suffer any additional damage. Encouraging sign there.
Meanwhile... let us gaze upon the top of the batting order. Ah yes. The famous Pillar-Austin Belt, awarded to the batter who demonstrates the greatest disregard for the strike zone.
Actually, the Giants might have two advantages tonight. As Andrew Baggarly and Eno Sarris wrote on The Athletic today (subscription required), the new start time could lead to a very small weather-related boost to fly balls... adding on average three whole inches to flight distance. Negligible in the aggregate, but as Baggarly notes:
There is a chance that this is more meaningful for a certain band of games than it is in sum. Early in the season, there can be a dramatic change in the temperature just around sunset, and starting early might mean as much as a 5- to 10-degree difference, at least for the first few innings.
The Giants have scored a total of 2 runs in the first three innings of games this season.