It’s a shame, really. Sean Manaea pitched a heck of a game, allowing just one run on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in six innings. And his offense gave him run support, something some of his fellow starting pitchers would be envious of, scoring four runs in the fourth inning alone.
But it wasn’t enough.
Now, let’s take a look at what happened. In the bottom of the fourth, LaMonte Wade, Jr. started things off with a splash hit to McCovey Cove.
LaMonte CRUSHES one to the Cove pic.twitter.com/WVcZK7h4pT— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 8, 2023
This was followed by a single from Michael Conforto and a double from J.D. Davis, before Joc Pederson hit a sac fly to score Conforto. Thairo Estrada then doubled to left and Davis had a truly impressive slide into home.
What a slide by Davis to avoid the tag pic.twitter.com/riOECIlyk5— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 8, 2023
Brandon Crawford got in on the action after that with a double of his own, scoring Estrada, which maybe gave Crawford a little too much confidence, but more on that later. The Giants were up 4-0 and everything looked set to continue their recent loss, win, loss, win pattern.
Manaea allowed his only run of the game in the sixth inning on a solo home run to Bobby Witt, Jr.
The Giants would go on to get that run back in the bottom of the inning, after Estrada doubled again and scored on a single from Crawford, who was then thrown out attempting to stretch that single into a double.
That’s when the metaphorical wheels started to come off. Ross Stripling entered to start the seventh inning and immediately allowed a home run to Franmil Reyes, but got through the rest of the inning unscathed.
Now, there’s been a lot of talk about whether Stripling should have started the eighth inning, but his intended role on the team seems to be in long relief at the moment, so I don’t fault that decision. And Stripling got two outs before things started to go downhill quickly, one of which is thanks to catcher Blake Sabol’s amazing pop up catch.
Where things start to get questionable is whether, after then allowing two singles in a row with Salvador Perez coming up to bat, Stripling should have been pulled at that point. I’m no manager and I can’t pretend to know what would have happened if they had. But we know what happened when they didn’t.
Honestly, I blame myself for this a little bit. Early in the game, I was having a conversation with my dad. I said I wouldn’t mind if Matt Duffy (Forever Good Giant) did some damage because he’s Matt Duffy, Forever Good Giant. At which point my dad disagreed and said he wanted it to be Perez instead. Because of his fantasy team.
This started a bit of a light-hearted rant from me about how fantasy sports are skewing rooting interests to be more for personal gain rather than the enjoyment of rooting for your team. It was at that point that I had a That’s So Raven like vision of the conversation I would end up having in the eighth inning, when I informed him I had good news and bad news.
That bad news, of course, was for the Giants. Because Perez hit a home run over the head of Mike Yastrzemski in left field to tie the game.
It was at this point that John Brebbia entered to relieve Stripling, who would end his day with four runs on four hits in one and two thirds innings. Two of which being home runs. Which continues a less than exciting pattern in his two appearances thus far.
Not a great start for Ross Stripling, who has already yielded 5 home runs this year.— Jeff Young (@BaseballJeff1) April 8, 2023
He allowed just 12 home runs in 134.1 innings for the Toronto Blue Jays last year.
Brebbia quickly got the third out that had been eluding Stripling.
Things seemed poised to go the Giants’ way in the bottom of the inning, however. Davis, Pederson and Yastrzemski all singled successively to load the bases for a winning run that would never come, as the next three batters struck out in order.
I still had hope, though, because Camilo Doval entered for the ninth. That hope started to wane as he allowed a double to Vinnie Pasquantino to lead off the inning. But he got a pop up and groundout and would ultimately strike out Kyle Isbel. Unfortunately, during that at-bat, Doval threw a wild pitch that got away from Sabol, allowing Nate Eaton (who had entered to pinch-run for Pasquantino) to score the winning run.
Facing Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth, the Giants naturally went down in order to end the game.