We knew a week ago, when the San Francisco Giants embarked on a stretch of playing the Los Angeles Dodgers seven times in nine games, that we’d learn something about how the Giants would stack up against the top teams in the division/league (same thing, it would seem).
There aren’t a lot of data points yet, but booking a seven-game series loss when you still have three games left is not ideal.
The Giants did look much more competent on Thursday than they did over the weekend. It didn’t look like a baseball game where one team was substantially better than the other. It just looked like a baseball game between fairly even teams, with one team better at finding ways to win games. That kind of checks out. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I posit that, even after their hot start, the Giants are not quite as good and finding ways to win baseball games as the Dodgers are.
This particular game was lost because the Giants were not as competitive in the home run derby that took place at Chavez Ravine on a warm Thursday evening. It was lost because three is a bigger number than two, as NBA teams have only recently discovered.
The Dodgers struck first, taking the lead in the third inning on a two-run blast by Justin Turner who, I’m fairly certain, is quickly becoming Giants fans least-favorite Dodger, which is a highly coveted title. I’m not sure what Turner did to become so unlikable, so you’ll have to mask, I mean ask him.
The Giants countered in the fourth inning, cutting the lead in half with a solo shot by Evan Longoria who is once again hot hot hot.
Hitting a home run the day after Austin Slater hit the one he did is kind of like following Dave Chappelle at the comedy club, but even so, it was an impressive dinger from Longoria.
The Dodgers got it right back in the fifth inning, courtesy of the first career home run by DJ Peters. Peters is on the roster, in his debut season, because the Dodgers have so many injuries to All-Star players, so you’re allowed to feel some wrath at LA’s never-ending pit of functional depth.
I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse that Peters is, according to Fangraphs, the team’s No. 49 prospect.
Either way, the Giants erased his homer and then some in the sixth inning, when Donovan Solano had his first home run of the year, which scored Mike Yastrzemski and tied the game. And I once again find myself saluting the Giants social team. They’re firing on all cylinders with their captions these days.
But you know how this story ends, because I already told you it in the headline and the intro, and you probably watched the game, too. Why are you reliving this?
Max Muncy — probably the only Dodger not named Trevor Bauer who can compete with Turner in the Giants dislike category — put a ball over the fence (not into the water, mind you ... that would be difficult) in the bottom half of the inning, and the Dodgers were once again on top.
It was the third home run of the game allowed by Wood, which is the same amount that he had given up in his first nine starts combined. And after the game, he had an explanation.
Alex Wood says he “got too cute” against the Dodgers, threw too many fastballs, didn’t locate a few well enough.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 28, 2021
You know what, Alex? I’m pretty damn cute too, and you don’t see me giving up any home runs. So I don’t think your theory holds too much water.
Despite the dingers, Wood was solid. He did let a few too many fastballs chill over the plate, and against almost any team in baseball that will pass. The Dodgers — even with Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger sidelined — are not any team in baseball.
Wood gave up just 6 hits in 6 innings, but 5 went for extra bases. He didn’t walk anyone, and struck out 8. It was far from a dominant performance, but it was the type of game where, watching from the outside, you credit the Dodgers and move on. He still looked like a darn good pitcher.
Unfortunately, the Giants were all out of dingers, and didn’t have any other means for scoring. Solano and Longo’s homers, and Yaz’s single to get on base for Donnie Barrels were the only hits the Giants had, and the only hits they would have.
And so they fell 4-3, dropping their fourth straight against the Dodgers.
They have to win one eventually ... right?