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Winning streak snapped at 1

Giants unraveled late in a 4-2 loss to Chicago in which the offense couldn’t find a way to support a dominant performance from Alex Cobb

A gathering of San Francisco Giants at the mound during Friday night’s game. Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants collected 7 hits and 1 walk in the first four innings of Friday night’s game against Chicago Cubs starter Marcus Stroman. They hit 2 singles against him with runners in scoring position, yet were unable to convert base runners into runs. At the end of 9 innings, having lost 4-2, they had knocked 13 hits but left 13 men on base. The Giants did a lot of great things in this game—yet struggled when it came to the essential baseball act.

It was a night in which everyone set the table but no one cooked the meal.

In the 1st, Mike Yastrzemski sent a two out single to left, but Ian Happ threw out a less than fleet Wilmer Flores tumbling down the baseline towards home.

In the 2nd, recently recalled Jason Vosler smoked a two-out double over the center fielder Rafael Ortega. Joey Bart mustered a hard hit grounder that ricocheted off Stroman for an infield single. Vosler had to settle for third before Tommy La Stella struck out to end the inning.

In the 4th, after LaMonte Wade Jr. walked with one out, Vosler again lifted a sky high fly to deep right center that somehow avoided both Ortega’s and Seiya Suzuki’s gloves just shy of the warning track. Wade, who could’ve cartwheeled home on the double if it came in a two-out situation, had to pump the brakes at third. With runners in scoring position and less than two outs, the Giants did…nothing. Bart flied out to shallow right on the first pitch of his at-bat and La Stella sent another one to Suzuki for the third out.

And of course, after the Giants scoring threat came up short, Cobb gave up a solo shot to Patrick Wisdom to start the 5th. It was Wisdom’s 19th of the season and his second in the series. Cobb had him at 0-2 and miraculously the notoriously free swinging Wisdom kept the bat on his shoulder for the next three pitches. In a full count, a lateral sinker scooted into the righty’s wheelhouse.

It was the worst pitch Cobb threw all night and it wasn’t all that bad. Wisdom was just able to get the ball high enough into the prevailing winds to sail it out to left. Believe it or not, Cobb wasn’t too pleased with where that baseball ended up. He had been pissed all evening. Any missed pitch sent him pacing, kicking at the rubber, snapping at the ball—not because he was struggling, but because he was pitching the best he had all season.

While the rest of the country sweated through their shorts in a midsummer heat wave, Cobb’s backdoor sinker and splitter combination cooled bats and froze hitters. He notched a season high 11 strikeouts and retired the side with the K in both the 3rd and the 6th. His splitter was especially slippery, sliding into the strike zone with backdoor movement that stunned righties.

In the 7th, after walking Nico Hoerner to lead off the inning, Cobb was pulled for Dominic Leone to face Wisdom. Leone abruptly took umbrage with the umpire’s strike zone, yanked his sliders, tore up all his good will with his manager and the Oracle faithful by throwing 8 straight balls to Wisdom and Frank Scwindel to load the bases with nobody out.

Game 2 in the top of the 7th was shaping up to be a 2022 special. Inexplicably, Chicago didn’t score. Leone struck out Alfonso Rivas with a slider and then induced a 6-5-3 double play to skirt damage.

In their half of the inning with Stroman out of the game, San Francisco put together a bases loaded opportunity of their own after Yermin Mercedes walked, then barreled to third on a Wilmer Flores two-out double. Brandon Belt worked a walk before Mike Yastrzemski rolled a grounder to first for the final out.

All night, the San Francisco offense couldn’t quite get the order of things. Their doubles came an out too early or too late, or their “clutch” hits came with the wrong person on base. Even when the elements got involved and the wind turned a routine LaMonte pop up in the 8th into a postmodern dance of defensive ineptitude, the Giants couldn’t cash in.

But these Giants are these Giants and what was potentially shaping up to be a silver-lining loss, turned into a brutal onslaught of bad breaks, bad choices and bad defense.

Camilo Doval came in to preserve the slim margin in the 9th and didn’t. After retiring the first batter he faced, Doval walked Hoerner and then gave up a double to Patrick Wisdom that was ruled fair on the field before the call was challenged by Kapler. After an onslaught of zoomed in slowed down pixelated replays that showed the ball hooking just just just just (IN MY OPINION) foul, the faceless purveyors of judgment in New York deemed that the call on the field would “stand.”

The decision led to 3 additional runs (and New York is to be blamed for all of them!) and proved to be the death blow for our Giants—on this Friday, yes, but maybe for the 2022 season as well?

In the face of a lot of ineptitude, the San Francisco front office is still rumored to not be major sellers come Tuesday. I can’t help but admire the mindset: it’s proud, a little stubborn, and as a fan, I appreciate that the organization I follow won’t so blatantly throw in the towel on a season. Who knows, we might be a reliever away from really figuring this whole baseball thing out!

But after tonight’s 4-2 loss…man, I just don’t know anymore. If that Wisdom line drive was ruled foul, maybe Doval gets out of that inning, maybe Flores hits a walk-off two run homer and maybe San Francisco uses this win to turn their season around. But that’s a lot of maybes to build a playoff team off of.