If I had asked you on Thursday morning how you thought the San Francisco Giants game against the San Diego Padres would go, you probably would have offered up two predictions.
The first is that Logan Webb would play very good baseball.
The second is that the rest of the Giants would play very bad baseball.
If it sounds like I’m commending your prediction skills, I’m not. An impressive prediction would be Buster Posey coming out of retirement and hitting a grand slam left-handed. It doesn’t even need to happen, it would be impressive just predicting it.
Predicting that Logan Webb would play good baseball and the rest of the Giants would not is like predicting that Guy Fieri will say “righteous” sometime within the first 15 minutes of a DDD episode.
Logan Webb’s been playing good baseball for a while. The Giants have been playing bad baseball for a while. Some things are too easy.
So yeah. You probably don’t need much more of a recap than that, but I’m here to provide it anyway.
Webb was spectacular, albeit rather unconventional, as has been his approach this season. A year after striking out 9.59 batters per nine innings, Webb entered Thursday’s game with just 7.92 ... a number that will take a sizable hit after recording a mere two strikeouts in eight innings against the Padres.
That’s not really how they tell you to pitch in 2022, but eight innings of one-run ball against one of the top teams in baseball is eight innings of one-run ball against one of the top teams in baseball. There are conventional ways and flashy ways to throw eight innings of one-run ball against one of the top teams in baseball, but there’s no wrong way to throw eight innings of one-run ball against one of the top teams in baseball.
And it wasn’t that Webb got lucky. It was that he simply was hard to hit, despite only nine of his 103 pitches being swinging strikes.
Here’s a breakdown of the 29 batters he faced:
7 soft-hit groundouts
4 soft-hit flyouts
3 soft-hit singles
3 hard-hit groundouts
2 hard-hit flyouts
2 hard-hit singles
1 soft-hit lineout
1 Manny Machado home run
That’s good pitching, even if it would look a little more at home in a decade that Webb was not alive for.
Unfortunately the Padres countered with good pitching of their own, and it was a bit more in place in this era: Joe Musgrove struck out six in seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit but walking four batters.
The Giants were useless against him. They’re useless against most people at the moment, but let’s give Musgrove some credit here. It wasn’t until LaMonte Wade Jr. led off the sixth inning with a double that they broke up Musgrove’s quest to become the first two players in Padres history to throw a no-hitter, and even after that they looked truly foolish trying (and failing) to score that run.
But in the ninth they found life. It was once again Austin Slater leading a rally, this time by taking one for the team in the form of a plunking, and stealing second. After Yermin Mercedes and David Villar were retired, the Giants were down to their final out, and had still recorded but a single hit all day.
In stepped Brandon Crawford, a lefty, to face Taylor Rogers, a lefty (as well as a former Twin of Minnesota, and a current twin of Tyler Rogers). He laid off on an 80-mph slider that just missed, then laid off on an 80-mph slider that just missed, then got an 80-mph slider that floated towards the middle of the zone.
He blasted that one into the outfield to tie the game.
CRAWFORD COMES THROUGH pic.twitter.com/5d64ObJIUQ— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 8, 2022
Then Mauricio Llovera had a truly excellent ninth.
From San Diego with Llov pic.twitter.com/wjN6fCcnem— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 8, 2022
But you forgot about it quickly because the Giants reminded you as to how much they’re struggling. They made no real attempt to move the Manfred Man past second base, opting instead for three swinging strikeouts.
You knew what awaited the Giants in the bottom half of the inning. Good teams don’t miss when things are teed up for them, especially when it’s a struggling team doing the teeing up.
The Giants intentionally walked Austin Nola to create a force play, than Jarlin García did the ol’ look-at-every-base-but-don’t-throw-anyone-out-on-a-bunt trick. The bases were loaded with no outs for Jorge Alfaro.
García tested him with a changeup right over the plate. Alfaro fouled it off. García, who indubitably has an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” sign from Etsy hanging on the wall of his home, fired another changeup right over the plate. Alfaro did not foul this one off.
Instead he fired it 384 feet, giving the Padres a walk-off win.
Giants baseball! It’s just like you, in that you question its decisions daily.
Oh, and while I have you here, hold a good thought for Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar, who had a terrifying collision with shortstop C.J. Abrams. Profar tried to walk off the field, but collapsed and appeared to lose consciousness. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, though he waved to the fans and smiled as it happened. It took the medical team about five minutes to get a cart and stretcher onto the field, which seems like way too long?
Anyway, the Padres said he was transferred to the hospital for further evaluation. Hold him in your thoughts.