The good news: they were not shut out. That’s it. That’s your good news. The Nationals scored six runs in the second inning, and the Giants managed to band together to get one back in the third. LaMonte Wade, Jr. walked with one out, and Joc Pederson doubled him to third before J.D. Davis brought him home with a sac fly. Golf claps.
Which is funny, because at the start of the game, it felt like things were going to go the opposite way. Nationals starter Josiah Gray threw seven straight balls to start the game before finally throwing a strike and receiving sarcastic applause from Nationals fans. The Giants weren’t able to capitalize on those free base runners, though. Nor again when the second inning started off with a walk to Mike Yastrzemski, who stole second as well, before the next three batters went down in order.
And then the bloodshed began.
Let me preface this: You will read the box score for Logan Webb and think this was maybe one of his worst starts. But it was not. What that box score isn’t going to tell you is how long each at bat of the second inning was. How well the Nationals batters battled and fouled off every good pitch, pushing Webb’s pitch count sky high. It won’t tell you how Webb was pitching for soft contact, only to see said contact consistently find holes in the defense.
Let’s go through it.
Joey Meneses was the first Nationals batter of the inning, turning nine pitches into a line drive single to right. Keibert Ruiz followed with a 10-pitch battle for a walk. Dominic Smith saw 10 pitches as well before hitting a groundball that split the defense between second and third, allowing Meneses to score. Corey Dickerson only saw three pitches before doing the exact same thing but on the right side, scoring Ruiz. Luis García struck out on four pitches, which was a much needed but short lived break for Webb.
Alex Call tripled on his third pitch, scoring both Smith and Dickerson. Before CJ Abrams hit a two-run homer to right center field, scoring Call as well. Personally, I can’t feel too bad about that last one. It was Abrams’ bobblehead night. Good for him.
Anyway, that was it for Webb. With 51 pitches and having only recorded one out in the second inning, he was pulled for Sean Manaea, who got the other two outs in pretty quick succession.
But the pain did not end there. Things started to feel frighteningly familiar as García singled to lead off the fourth inning, before Call walked. It felt like the beginning of the second inning all over again. But the Giants were able to get Call out on a fielder’s choice that saw Abrams reach first. Thomas then doubled up the left field line, Yastrzemski never had a chance to get it, and that scored the Nationals’ seventh run of the game. A string of three singles after that would knock in the final three. It was like every ball hit by the Nationals rolled a natural 20 on evading the Giants’ defense. Just brutal to watch.
Manaea, however, ended up being the hero the Giants needed tonight, saving the bullpen by eating five and two thirds innings. Sure, he allowed four runs, but... (/gestures vaguely at the weirdness of this game) I’ll take it. As Hunter Pence said during the broadcast, that’s baseball. Sometimes all the cards are stacked against you and you just have to shrug it off and move on.