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Meckler debuts, doesn’t solve offense

Maybe tomorrow?

Tampa Bay Rays v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Patrick Bailey’s heroics from yesterday’s win over Texas induced a fugue state that crippled most of the Bay Area, incapacitating fans with the warm-and-fuzzies, the feel-goods, delusions of slump-busts and corners-turned.

But elation or bliss never lasts—especially in a 162-game season.

At about 6:45 PM on Monday night, thousands of confused fans came-to as their televisions and radios kicked on, scratching their heads as the San Francisco Giants took the field to face Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay Rays. Didn’t we just do this? We barely made it out the last game, why subject ourselves to this again?

Even with the fresh faces of Johan Camargo and rising-star Wade Meckler shaking up the cast, the Giants returned to their regularly scheduled programming in the 10-2 loss.

The offense managed only 3 hits and 1 run (6 hits and 2 runs total) over 6 innings against starter Tyler Glasnow, while Rays bats countered with 5 runs on 10 hits against Tristan Beck in the middle innings.

It was the bottom of Tampa’s all-righty lineup that proved decisive against Beck: Oslevis Basabe, hitting in the 9 spot, rolled a 2-out, 2 RBI single into right field in the 4th to kick-off the scoring; number 7 hitter Christian Bethancourt tacked on another run with a weakly-hit-but-well-placed RBI single in the 5th and a solo home run in the 7th; and Manuel Margot in the 8 hole knocked in another run in the 5th.

Only 4 of the Rays’ 18 total hits went for extra-bases, and 4 of their first 5 runs were brought in by way of ground ball singles hit against the shift. The exit velocity on Bethancourt’s single clocked in at a languorous 64 MPH. Putting the ball in play...go figure.

The Rays’ hot start has cooled off significantly. They’ve played .500 baseball over their past 66 games, and since July 1st—the ill-fated turn of the calendar that seems to have precipitated the Giants offensive freefall—the Rays .659 OPS with runners in scoring position is only slightly better than SF’s .607. They’ve dealt with injuries to their starting rotation, a slip in the standings, and now will have to weather a developing controversy around their young All-Star shortstop Wander Franco who did not travel to San Francisco with the team.

All in all, the Giants are kind of catching the Rays at an ideal time—unfortunately, the same can be said for the Rays. This series might be a contest of who can get on top of the other’s shoulders first to climb out of the hole they’re both in—an especially complicated task given Tyler Glasnow’s 6 foot 8 frame.

The right-handed starter had given up 5 runs in 27 innings pitched over his last four starts, and much like the Yankees, Marlins, Orioles, and Royals, the Giants hitters had mustered little of note against the right-hander’s fastball-slider pairing.

Glasnow faced the minimum through 4 innings of work, striking out 5 his first time through the lineup and 7 overall. Joc Pederson’s single to lead off the 5th was San Francisco’s second hit of the day and eventually led to their first run on Thairo Estrada’s RBI single (he’d add an RBI double in the 8th).

The inning started with promise, a deliberate build of increasing noise: single, walk, single, walk—but the crescendo flat flat.

With the bases loaded and less than two outs, the opportunity to make serious gains on the Rays lead with a hit, or a medium-deep flyball, or a measly ball in play came and went. Glasnow K’ed Camargo on three pitches and got LaMonte Wade Jr. to line out to left to end the inning.

Again in the 7th, a bases loaded opportunity went kaput—this time with Wade Meckler in the box. The 23 year old had already shown a discerning eye at the plate by working a walk against Glasnow in the previous inning, and during the left-on-left matchup against fellow debutante Jacob Lopez, Meckler worked an 0-2 count to full by spitting on a pair of tantalizing sliders and a letter high fastball.

Disciplined takes, but when it mattered most, he couldn’t hold up on another bottoming-out slider and struck out to end the threat.

Meckler went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, and Camargo 1-for-4 with a single and 2 K’s. Not exactly a banner day for the newest Giants, or the Giants in general.

At least Dave Flemming had a good time.