We’ve all had it happen to us. You’re rushing around the house like a chicken that just pounded a Four Loko, trying to get your affairs in order so you can watch the baseball game. You check your phone, or your oven, or whatever device you use to tell time, and realize oh crap basket, the game’s started! and rush to turn it on.
My particular excuse? Trying to get dressed after a shower (what, you don’t take your morning showers at 6:30 p.m.?), switch over my sheets from my washer to my dryer, and fire off a tweet about the upcoming Golden State Warriors game (I won’t spoil it, but there were more points scored in that game than in this one).
Suddenly it was 6:46. The San Francisco Giants game had started. I pulled up MLB TV on my laptop. It showed me the box score while the video loaded. It told me the first batter of the game, the Oakland Athletics Chad Pinder, was still in the batter’s box. He’d seen five pitches from Sammy Long. I hadn’t missed much.
In the time it took for the video to load, Long’s sixth pitch had been thrown. The video and audio picked up right as the following ball was reaching its apex:
And that was the game.
The A’s hitters would record 27 outs without scoring again. The Giants hitters would record 27 outs without scoring at all. Eleven pitchers would combine to throw 272 more pitches, and none of them would do anything that impacted the score of the game.
It was 1-0 then, and it’s 1-0 now, and it will be 1-0 when you wake up tomorrow, and it will be 1-0 forever. It was always going to be 1-0.
If you think that’s remarkable, well ... it is!
Leadoff HR by 1st overall batter of game (T1), team won game 1-0, since 1974:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 28, 2022
Chad Pinder, OAK, Tonight
Gerardo Parra, ARI, 5/18/13
Jimmy Rollins, PHI, 8/14/12
Kaz Matsui, NYM, 5/12/04
Carlos Garcia, PIT, 9/14/93
Greg Briley, SEA, 6/19/92
Darren Lewis, SF, 8/7/91
The Giants played poor offense, as one could surmise given the fact that they got shut out, but they still had their opportunities, which they appreciated by hitting into double plays in each of the first three innings. The first inning one was brutal, as Brandon Belt hit a 101.5 mph rocket of a line drive that was caught and turned into a two-outer as Joc Pederson wept silently and helplessly from the infield dirt.
The expected batting average on Belt’s double play, which likely would have scored a run had it not been caught? .670. The expected batting average on Pinder’s home run? .350.
In the third inning it was again Belt hitting into a double play, and this one hurt more. The Giants had loaded the bases, almost entirely as a common courtesy by their across the bay neighbors. Jason Vosler had walked. Curt Casali had reached on an error. And Joc Pederson reached on an infield single that was hit so slowly that catcher Sean Murphy literally kicked it while chasing after it because it didn’t roll fast enough to stay ahead of him, like a hound puppy tripping on its own ears.
But Belt grounded into a double play, and while it was close at first, the Giants had already squandered their review. The inning was over.
They still had 21 outs to play with, though. Not that it actually mattered, of course. We’ve covered why.
They tried again in the fifth, when Luis González — who is emphatically passing the he’s a thing test — hit a leadoff double. Leadoff doubles are best followed up by hits and, if lacking those, a pair of productive outs, but the Giants opted for an unproductive groundout, a strikeout, and a second groundout, while González got to become very acclimated with the second base rubber at Oracle Park.
Speaking of González and Oracle Park, he was playing just his second game there. Jumping into Oracle ice cold as an outfielder is a terrifying game, and González showed why ... while also showing off.
luis gonzález actually meant to catch this ball from his knees. don’t be bamboozled. pic.twitter.com/KvoFVearkh— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 28, 2022
There were other silver linings. Jakob Junis was excellent, allowing five baserunners in as many innings while striking out six.
Small sample size emphatically applies, but the Giants seem to be working their magic on Junis, who was mostly bad with the Kansas City Royals, was downright awful with AAA Sacramento, and has, naturally, began his career with the Giants by throwing 10 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.
Not that I’m complaining.
I am, however, complaining about Joc Pederson coming up a little lame during one of the aforementioned double plays and leaving the game in the third inning. I’m not sure whether to feel encouraged or disheartened by the post-game update:
Joc Pederson will undergo an MRI tomorrow. Gabe Kapler said "there's a chance" Pederson could land on the IL.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) April 28, 2022
The Giants will take advantage of a much-needed day off on Thursday, during which time they’ll recharge the bats that apparently ran out of juice on Wednesday.
And if you need some perspective? The Giants waiting until the 19th game of the season to be shut out for the first time is the longest they’ve gone to start a season since ... crap, I was really anticipating this being an optimistic number, but they somehow didn’t get shut out until their 32nd game of the season in 2020.
Oh well. I tried. So did the Giants. It’s just that we both failed.