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Ugly defensive inning sinks Giants in rubber match

Do yourself a favor: don’t read this recap. Nothing good happens in this recap.

Thairo Estrada hurries to collect baseball he just misplayed at second base Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This is a visual representation of how Thursday’s rubber match with the Colorado Rockies went for our Giants.

Joc Pederson’s bat ends up tucked in the arms of the Colorado catcher after he lost his grip during the back swing.

If you finish a swing with your bat tucked under the opposing catcher’s arm, things are a little off. It being there probably isn’t going to do you much good, right? It feels a little bit unfocused, careless, not the best use of your materials.

Maybe the most generous way to frame the San Francisco Giants game on Thursday is just that: “not the best use of their materials.”

Sure, they only lost 4-2, but the way the offense was hitting and the defense was fielding those two runs might as well have been twenty.

It was a bad game. No other way to slice it or dice it or julienne it. A frustrating loss because Logan Webb was pitching well with a lead; especially frustrating because the defense played so well yesterday; especially especially frustrating because it was against a division rival with a sub-.500 record; especially especially especially frustrating because the Los Angeles Dodgers are coming into town for a weekend series. If this game was played against LA the score would’ve legitimately been 20 - 2 (just ask the Chicago White Sox).

Let’s get another look at this.

Wide angle.

This whole series has been punctuated by moments of backwardness: Defensive miscues, beaten shifts, mental lapses. The Giants arms finally logged consecutive well-pitched games, yet received little to no support.

Yesterday’s winning run was a gift from Colorado. And today, signs of the end times: bats found their way into gloves, grounders avoided like the plague.

It was a perfect afternoon in San Francisco and the fans were rewarded with a comedy. 3 errors before an out recorded in the 4th—the last time the Giants defense had a worse inning was 12 years ago.

The bleachers sarcastically burst into applause after a routine 4-6-3 double play was turned without a hitch to end the 5th. Logan Webb earned an empathetic ovation when he was pulled from the game after Darin Ruf couldn’t field a grounder (albeit, a sharply hit one) at first.

It was San Francisco’s fourth error of the day.

This is how Logan Webb’s day fell apart.

A knuckling line drive popped out of Thairo Estrada’s glove to start the inning. The next batter, C.J. Cron “singled” on a double-play ball that both middle infielders thought best not to approach. Cron advanced to second on an overly enthusiastic throw from Austin Slater to third.

The first Rockies run scored on this ground ball—a hit for sure, but if positioned differently or if Donovan Walton was actually Brandon Crawford, the results may have varied. The tying run came in on another E-4: a boot by Estrada weighing his options of what to do with a ball he never ended up fielding.

A justifiably rattled Webb tried to white-knuckle through the fourth’s traffic, but the next batter Yonathan Daza flared a single to right, bringing in Colorado’s third run. It’d prove to be the winning one.

Though there was a lot of baseball left to play at the time and Webb miraculously navigated out of the inning with just the 1 run deficit, it felt like whatever aneurysm the Giants defense had just suffered would decide the game.

It did.

The one bright spot? Our new back-up catcher Austin Wynns got 2 hits, an RBI and threw out a runner trying to steal second. How about Curt Casali joining in on the fun in the 8th?

Siri: When was the last time the Giants had two different catchers throw out base runners in a single game?

Dave Fleming after Ruf’s error in the 6th in which Webb walked back to the mound with his teeth clenched to his Rawlings: “And Logan might eat his glove.” I’m impressed he hadn’t sooner—or made a meal out of it by Werner Herzog-ing his cleats as well.