The Giants dropped a highly winnable game to get swept and lose the season series to the Diamondbacks. The Giants took an early lead with some groundballs through the infield, but that run was the gift of a monkey’s paw. Sure, the Giants could score a run with some soft contact, but every hard-hit ball would go right to a defender. The Giants had 13 hard hit balls on-the night, but only collected five hits as a team and three after the first inning.
Their best chance to score was thwarted by a hard-hit ball hit right at a defender leaving the runner at first, Evan Longoria, with nowhere to go.
This might have been Jeff Samardzija’s least impressive start in a while, but as the saying goes: when you’re hot you’re hot. Samardzija held the Diamondbacks to one run through five innings. The lone run came on a solo homer from Ketel Marte, but there probably should have been more damage than that. The Diamondbacks hit the ball hard but often had nothing to show for it. The batter immediately after Marte barreled a ball that died at the warning track, for instance.
Samardzija had to labor from the start. It took him 20 pitches to get through the first inning as his command didn’t seem as sharp. He fell behind 3-0 to the first batter he faced, and he eventually walked him.
He navigated the walks well enough with some help from the defense. Some prescient positioning of Donovan Solano kept an RBI single from getting through. That might have been a double play if Solano had executed the feed. Duane Kuiper suggested that he should have thrown it behind his back, and that’s the first time I’ve heard a baseball announced advocate for the “flashy” move.
The pitch count eventually got to Samardzija, and he had to come out of the game after the fifth.
Sam Coonrod was the first out of the Giants bullpen, but his outing was one to forget. The first three batters he faced all slapped singles through the infield. The pitch to Adam Jones was especially bad. Coonrod grooved a 97-mph fastball and we should consider ourselves lucky that Adam Jones didn’t hit his third home run since June 13.
Even with the run he gave up in his brief outing tonight, Coonrod has a 2.84 ERA after 19 innings. That’s good! He’s only struck out 12 batters in that time. That’s less good! He’s also walked 10 batters. That’s, uh, the opposite of good.
Coonrod left runners at first and third for Fernando Abad who did a good job of bailing him out. Abad’s curveball looked especially crisp. In a 1-0 count to Alex Avila, Abad snapped a perfect curve at the knees but didn’t get the call. Not to be deterred, Abad threw another perfect curve to get Avila to swing over it. Abad ultimately got out of the jam without any further damage.
Tyler Rogers made his major league debut, so we got a chance to see the submariner in action. I haven’t looked into the numbers, but I feel like sidewinders and submariners are far less common than they used to be. It’s probably hard to hit max spin efficiency when your arm is upside down, so I can see why they’ve fallen out of vogue. (The analytics really are sapping the joy out of the game.)
How low does Tyler Rogers get? Real low.
Tyler Rogers is a lot of fun to watch: pic.twitter.com/5nEvAXlqxB— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 28, 2019
True to his nature, Rogers kept everything at the bottom of the strike zone and the Diamondbacks couldn’t get off the ground. Rogers induced three soft ground balls to finish off a perfect inning. He’s now tied with Pablo Sandoval and Chase d’Arnaud for the all-time Giants lead in ERA.
Giants pitching held the Diamondbacks to just three runs, but with Mike Leake on the mound, this might as well have been a ten-run rout. The Giants managed to sneak a run through with seeing-eye grounders in the first inning, but for the rest of the game it was a lot of at ‘em balls and AT&Tings.
The most egregious AT&Ting came at the expense of Mike Yastrzemski who barreled a 102.8 mph moonshot right into Adam Jones’ glove. It was the exact spot where Ketel Marte hit his homer, so it’s hard to bemoan Yaz’s misfortunes too much. Marte’s dinger provided proof of concept; Yastrzemski just didn’t hit his hard enough.
The most egregious at ‘em ball came in the eighth inning. The Giants finally got a run courtesy of Brandon Belt who did the impossible: hit a ball over Jarrod Dyson’s head. With Belt on second, Evan Longoria drew a four-pitch walk. That brought Alex Dickerson to the plate with runners at first and second with one out. Dickerson hit a line drive right at second base and Evan Longoria got doubled up at first.
I’m not sure that Longoria could have played that any differently. You’re taught to freeze on a line drive, and that’s what Longoria did. His secondary lead just brought him far enough off that he had no hope of getting back safely. If the ball wasn’t hit right at Ildemaro Vargas, Belt has a chance to score from second and at the very least, Longoria has a chance to get back to first. That would have given Stephen Vogt a chance to tie the game or put the Giants ahead.
The Giants are now 0-1 in the Tyler Rogers era which just goes to prove the Mike Trout doctrine: one incredible player cannot carry a team to greatness on their own.