Never underestimate a team on a losing streak, that’s what I always say. The Padres were on quite a lengthy home losing streak going into this series, and it seemed almost inevitable that they would pick up at least one win this weekend, to spite us personally.
That is exactly what they did, unfortunately. Shaun Anderson had been averaging about four earned runs per game and had really been saved by the Giants offense going nuclear. Both teams have very good bullpens, so if the Giants were hoping to have any kind of a shot in this game, it was going to have to be done against starting pitcher Cal Quantrill.
Quantrill had been strong in his last couple of outings, both of which were scoreless and against competitive teams, and the Giants’ bats have been cooling off this week. So, despite plenty of scoring opportunities, the Giants never made it work, aside from one run in the sixth that was knocked in by Pablo Sandoval to score Mike Yastrzemski.
Anderson had a great slider going for him, as he went five innings, allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and striking out seven. This included three in the second inning where he struck out the side in just a glorious manner. But it’s tough to win if you give up four runs and your team has forgotten how to score any of their own.
Going back to the Padres’ losing streak, there’s a certain kind of thing that happens when you know you’re going to win a game, or lose a game in the Giants’ case. Something like a guy like Luis Urias, who is batting .068 for the season, getting on base four times (three walks and a hit by pitch). When that happens, you know things aren’t going to go your way. Whereas if you’re the Padres, that’s a pretty good sign that your luck is about to turn around.
Another example, Quantrill walked three batters in the fourth inning. Two of which were on four-pitches. The Padres lost a challenge when Yastrzemski tried for third after Stephen Vogt flied out. Yastrzemski was initially called out, but the call on the field was overturned. After Brandon Crawford walked to load the bases, it looked a little hopeless for the Padres. And yet, with two outs, Kevin Pillar grounded out to end the inning and save Quantrill’s butt.
Add to that the ball hit by Joe Panik that looked so much like a home run that it fooled even Jon Miller on the radio broadcast, but was sneakily caught by Hunter Renfroe over the wall, who kind of acted like he didn’t catch it before tossing it in the air. Show off.
Anyway, it was little things like that that kind of made it a foregone conclusion that the Padres would inevitable win this game. Things like Anderson walking Quantrill, throwing up and in at Fernando Tatis, Jr., only to immediately give him one to hit out of the park.
Anderson would end up giving up exactly the four runs I predicted from him. He was pulled after a double to Wil Myers in the sixth inning. Trevor Gott came in and cashed in Anderson’s last run before adding one of his own, for good measure. One of which was Urias, who scored after his second walk of the night.
After Gott’s rocky inning, Drew Pomeranz and Sam Coonrod came in for fairly uneventful innings to wrap it up, but the offense was unable to get any clutch hits, something they’ve been relying on a lot lately, and thus the game ended with the Giants leaving nine men on base, and going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Could this be the start of the foretold regression everyone’s been growing more and more dramatically ominous about, with dire warnings about run differentials and one-run game percentages? Maybe. Is the sky falling? Not yet. Should we take this for what it is, a single loss with some weird happenings? Probably. But I’m not the boss of any of you. With four games left until the trade deadline, every game feels a bit more meaningful than it actually is, so feel however you want to feel about it. I’ll be over here watching the San Diego Chicken.