The good thing about this game is that at least the Giants let you know they were going to get blown out early. The night before, the Giants pretended to play a close game, and maybe you felt compelled to watch. If you did, maybe you felt a little deceived. Maybe you felt that your time had been wasted. But if you watched this entire game, you have no one to blame but yourself. You knew what this was.
I regret to inform you that first-inning runs are still a thing. I hadn’t been paying attention to them for the past few weeks because I lost interest and figured they would go away at some point. Alas! They have not gone away.
Chris Taylor parked a three-run shot off Drew Pomeranz. It came with two strikes and two outs. The Giants have now been outscored SEVENTY ONE to 19 in the first inning this season.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) June 20, 2019
Stats entering play on June 19: OPS against in the first inning of games.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 20, 2019
The gap between the best team and the 29th team is smaller than the gap between the 29th team and the #SFGiants.
Pomeranz’s first started out promisingly enough. He got the first two outs quickly, and he racked up as many whiffs as Shaun Anderson had in his entire start last night before Chris Taylor stepped into the box. Pomeranz just couldn’t get that third out. He got both Cody Bellinger and Taylor to two-strike counts but failed to put either away.
In Pomeranz’s defense, Taylor’s home run just barely snuck out, but it was the worst possible outcome for an inning that began fairly well. But things fell apart all at once. We saw in real-time as the baseball gods took whatever pitching competency Pomeranz had left.
Pomeranz has been pitching to keep his spot in the rotation, and his last two outings were decent enough to keep him around, but tonight was just another step back. His ERA is back above 7.00 after giving up a second home run to Chris Taylor in the fifth inning.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather watch Andrew Suárez every fifth day. It’s hard to imagine that he’ll be any worse. On June 25, Pomeranz will meet a $250,000 incentive for time on the roster. I don’t know if that amount of money is a consideration for a team that practically prints it, but I’d imagine the Giants would prefer not to spend money on a player who isn’t providing them any value. They’ll need someone to pitch after Bumgarner is traded, but they should be able to fill out a rotation without Pomeranz.
Rich Hill has to stand the farthest to the glove-side part of the rubber as any pitcher in baseball. Shaun Anderson sets up far to one side, but both of his feet still stay within the rubber. Hill doesn’t even keep a full foot on the slab. Here’s him mid-wind-up to Tyler Austin in the first inning:
Only his toes are touching. If he were any farther out, his delivery would be illegal. I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t think it gives him an unfair advantage or anything. I just think it’s weird because doesn’t a pitcher need to drive off the rubber? Is that a myth that I just don’t know has been debunked because I haven’t finished The MVP Machine?
Hill only made it through one inning because he tweaked something in the first inning. The initial report was that he left the game with left forearm tightness, but that was later amended to left forearm discomfort. So, whew?
The Dodgers were forced to play a bullpen game which should have put them at a disadvantage, but Pomeranz made sure there would be no coming back. To be fair, the Giants offense also made sure there would be no coming back. The Giants collected four hits including a pair of solo home runs from Tyler Austin and Mike Yastrzemski. Austin hit his to the opposite field around the same spot where he nearly went yard last night.
Austin is one of the few Giants who has looked somewhat capable the last two days. He had the near-dinger last night as well as a diving catch. Tonight, he had an actual dinger and made another diving catch. He even picked up an outfield assist when he threw out Justin Turner.
I should add that Austin also added a hat trick at the plate, and the diving catch Austin made tonight might have been a routine play for another fielder. Austin initially broke back on the ball, and his average speed doesn’t allow him to make up for mistakes.
Still, there’s something to be said for completely laying out for a ball. Being surehanded counts for something. He may not get to all the balls hit to him, but he looks like he can catch the ones he gets to.
Yastrzemski hit his third home run of year in the fifth inning, and he’s lucky Alex Verdugo forgot how to jump. Yastrzemski’s homer doinked off the top of the wall.
That homer brought Yastrzemski’s wOBA up to .315 which is perfectly league-average. It might be too much to ask for an outfielder to hit well, but if Yastrzemski can be average, it will be an improvement. Heck, if he could continue being replacement it would make the outfield loads better. This may come as a shock, but the Giants have the worst outfield in the majors at -1.8 fWAR. If they even had a replacement-level outfield, they’d be about two wins better. In their 173 combined plate appearances coming into the game, Yastrzemski and Austin have combined for 0.0 fWAR.
Austin and Yastrzemski haven’t been good necessarily, but they’ve been at least replacement. That’s something to look forward to, I guess.