The August swoon continued Friday night leaving the Giants winless in the month. The triumph of July seems like nothing more than a dream forgotten before your morning coffee is poured. So much time has passed since that glorious time, so much has changed. Alex Dickerson has a strained oblique, Scooter Gennett is a Giant now, Sam Dyson is one of the worst relievers in Twins history.
Okay, fine it’s been two days, but this was a game the Giants of two weeks ago win 12-3. Instead, this is the first time the Giants have lost two games in a row since June 27. We haven’t seen a losing streak this long in over a month. The Giants are a measly 5-5 over their last ten games. I’m not ready for the Giants to turn back into pumpkins just quite yet, so it would be great if they could back to winning.
Scooter Gennett’s first two acts as a Giant were a pair of would-be double plays. The big add of the trade deadline hit the ball hard in his first at bat, but Ryan McMahon made a nice play and almost started a pretty double play. In the bottom half of the inning, Gennett had an opportunity to turn an inning-ending double play but bobbled the ball and only got the out at first.
No biggie. Those things happen. Besides, Tony Wolters and Peter Lambert were coming up. Wolters is a glove-first, bat-never catcher who posted a 77 wRC+ in his best season at the plate. Peter Lambert is pitcher. Shaun Anderson should have been able to pitch out of that.
Shaun Anderson did not pitch out of it.
Wolters singled in a run and Lambert walked on five pitches. Anderson, who only got one whiff the first time through the order, had survived by letting the Rockies hammer balls into gloves at the wall. He escaped further damage in the second inning the same way. Charlie Blackmon came within a few feet of making it a 4-0 game, but Mike Yastrzemski camped under it.
With the amount of hard contact Anderson was allowing, you figured something had to give eventually. It didn’t take long. Trevor Story finally got one over the wall (and Steven Duggar’s glove) to make it 2-0. The pitch that Story hit out was one of many sliders that didn’t go where Anderson wanted them to. His command improved as the game went on, but in the first few innings, he wasn’t burying the slider or extending it beyond the zone. It was simply spinning out over the plate, and the Giants were lucky Story was the only one to do damage.
That kept the deficit at one even the Dickersonless Giants could overcome. Anderson may not have been missing bats, but neither was Peter Lambert. The difference is that Lambert kept things on the ground until the fifth inning.
Austin Slater just missed a home run and an inside the parker. Blackmon misplayed the carom and had to chase the ball all the way back to the infield. It was a weird looking play because Blackmon wasn’t scrambling for the ball. He looked like he was going ¾ speed like he didn’t know Slater was speeding around the basepaths. Slater had to settle for a triple. He very nearly made an acrobatic play to evade Tony Wolters on a play at the plate but was thrown out because Brandon Belt hit the ball too hard.
The Giants lost a runner in scoring position, but Mike Yastrzemski came to the plate and anyone that’s on is in scoring position when he’s in the box. Lambert grooved a fastball and Yastrzemski took a third decker on it.
At 472 feet, that’s the longest home run hit by a Giant in 2019. The previous record was held by Alex Dickerson who hit a 458-foot grand slam in his Giants debut. It was just three feet away from tying Brandon Belt’s Giants record for longest home run in the Statcast era.
Yastrzemski’s whole season has been a delightful surprise, but I never expected him to hit the kind of homers that make all of baseball Twitter stop what they’re doing to ogle his majesty.
The two-run homer gave the Giants a tenuous lead. They had a chance to add on in the sixth, but Shaun Anderson was left to hit for himself in a two-on, two-out situation. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but Anderson was taken out after giving up a lead-off single in the bottom half of the inning. I suppose there’s value in stretching out a pitcher for as many outs as they can give you. The Giants are carrying 12 pitchers as opposed to their new standard of 13. But if you’re going to take him out the next time he allows a baserunner, why not just pinch-hit for him?
That brought in Sam Selman. Selman’s debut didn’t go to plan. He gave up a cheap home run to the light hitting Roman Quinn. Tonight was to be the night that he showed off that arm that led the PCL in strikeout rate.
Except then he gave up a two-run homer to Ryan McMahon. The whole season in Triple-A, Selman had given up just three home runs all season. He’s given up two in two innings. Maybe the next time he pitches he won’t be in a ballpark built for children or a stadium on the moon.
Dealing from the middle of the bullpen was supposed to be the best of both going for it and selling for the future. The ‘pen is deep enough that they should remain as competitive as they were before the deadline. They still have Reyes Moronta after all.
But not even Moronta looked good tonight. The fastball was juuust missing and the slider wasn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Moronta quickly gave up the lead and gave way to Andrew Suárez with runners at second and third with one out. Suárez hasn’t pitched well at Coors historically or anywhere recently, but to his credit, he worked his way through a mess. He was the sharpest pitcher the Giants threw out tonight. It’s just too bad the game was already lost when he came in.