I listed one player to watch from the Giants, and one player to watch from the 60 available names currently on the Padres and Rangers active rosters.
For the Giants I chose pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who was making his season debut on Tuesday. I said that his absence in LA probably suggested that the Giants weren’t thrilled with what they’ve seen from him, and to keep an eye on him.
For the opposing teams, I chose Padres 21-year old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Here’s what I said:
He’s one of the few opposing players who can single handedly beat the Giants while also making your face flirt with smiling.
Well I really fumbled that one, didn’t I.
In the third inning, with the Giants leading 1-0 and Samardzija giving up long fly balls that kept finding mitts, Tatis stepped into the batter’s box with two runners on and effortlessly flicked a ball over the right field wall.
On the broadcast, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow later pointed out that with the area behind the park barricaded from fans, the wind isn’t able to make its way up and knock down fly balls quite as easily as in past years.
I don’t care. Look at that again. Look at the location of the pitch! Down and in. Tatis dropped his bat level and then inside-out swung a ball over the right field fence, from the right side. Who does that?
Fernando Tatis Jr. hit this pitch into the arcade, which tells you a lot about Fernando Tatis Jr., and also maybe about this ballpark with all the gates closed. pic.twitter.com/I7uYYYh1bG— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 29, 2020
I don’t know who is going to be the first right-handed batter to hit the ball into McCovey Cove, but Tatis has as good a chance as anyone.
One inning later, Wil Myers did this:
Yeesh. In the span of two innings, the Padres hit as many home runs as the Giants have all season. And it’s why they won the game 5-3.
Samardzija has a home run problem. I don’t know what else to say on this matter, since we all knew it going into the season, and since the Giants rather overtly told us it when they flatly refused to let him see a single pitch at Dodger Stadium.
But just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. After all, it says explicitly in my contract that my job is to “Entertain and inform the fans with Giants facts (both accurate and otherwise) and humor (both funny and otherwise), while reminding them that Jeff Samardzija gives up way too many dingers.”
It’s a testament to how futile the Giants bats were that they scored 3 runs and I have to keep returning to my notes to see how they happened. Like, seriously, I’ve done this at least five times.
The short answer is that they scored in the ways that required the least amount of actual baseball skill. In the first inning, with Mike Yastrzemski on second, Wilmer Flores lined a ball right at Manny Machado, who decided to simply not catch it. Because Yastrzemski had froze on the line drive, he didn’t initially have any shot at scoring, but left fielder Tommy Pham pulled the ol’ “let go of the ball before you throw it” trick and Yaz trotted home.
Then in the sixth inning the Giants had the silliest rally you can imagine. Mauricio Dubón had a weakly-hit seeing eye double. Then Yastrzemski followed it up with a bloop double. The Padres brought in a left-handed pitcher, which forced Pablo Sandoval to his weak side, but the pitcher went ahead and plunked the Panda on the first pitch.
Bases loaded, no outs. They got two runs out of it, on a fielder’s choice by Flores and a single by Tyler Heineman, but it was still ridiculous. It was the closest thing they had to offense all day.
The Giants have had at least one inning a game that’s the baseball equivalent of tripping on your untied shoelace, falling face first down the stairs, landing in the garbage bag you put at the base of the stairs as a reminder to take out the garbage because it’s starting to get stinky, and then promptly soiling your pants.
They’ve been good for one every single game, except maybe Sunday, which I’m going to conveniently ignore because I have a narrative to depict.
That inning was the eighth inning on Tuesday. Here’s the probably-incomplete list of wonky failures the Giants got up to:
- Heineman interfered with the batter on a 1-2 count, resulting in a free pass.
- Jaylin Davis dropped a popup in foul territory.
- They couldn’t turn a double play, missing the back end by at least half a step.
- They challenged the call, even though the missed the back end by at least half a step.
- Sam Coonrod caught Machado sleeping and/or leaning at first, but soft-tossed the ball to Sandoval and Machado got back in time.
- Coonrod hit a batter in a dangly bits.
Somehow they got out of the inning unscathed, but my goodness was that a doofus of an inning.
A few notes before I mercifully let you go:
- Joe McCarthy got the start and struck out in both at-bats. He’s now 0-10 with 5 strikeouts, and increasingly looking like he’ll go the way of Connor Joe and Michael Reed. The Giants showed that they’d lost faith in him when they pinch-hit a right-handed batter for him, with a right-handed pitcher on the mound.
- Hunter Pence was 0-2, which brings him up to 0-13 on the year.
- Old friend Drew Pomeranz struck out the side to record the save.
- The Giants are now 2-3.