Although fans and sports talk radio hosts will still reference it, “rock bottom” isn’t an applicable idiom for the Giants anymore. This team didn’t hit rock bottom when they got handled by the Marlins. They didn’t hit rock bottom when they got swept by the Dodgers. They didn’t hit rock bottom when they got no-hit by Homer Bailey and they didn’t hit rock bottom when they fell apart in the 8th inning of an admirable-but-losing effort to the Mets tonight.
The truth is, things can always get worse, and everyday it seems the Giants are finding new and unique ways to lose. Tonight it was seven walks, only one of which was intentional and five of which resulted in runs. Four of those came at the hands of Barry Zito, who wasn’t in his usually sharp home form. Zito pitched fairly well for his first three innings before walking David Wright and Josh Satin, who both scored. Then, in the sixth, Satin walked again, only to touch home plate minutes later when the .161-hittin’, backup-catchin’ Anthony Recker took Zito deep.
The Giants offense was significantly more promising than it’s been lately. Sandoval seemed to finally find his stride — banging out a double in the first and walking in his second appearance. Gregor Blanco cranked out two hits and scored a run while Hunter Pence got two knocks and Brandon Belt recorded one (before being double-switched out late, /LOL Belt).
Still, the team went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine men on base. While the signs of offensive life were promising, the results weren’t there.
Meanwhile, Zito simply didn’t do enough to keep the Giants’ exhausted bullpen at bay, and it came back to bite them when Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt and Jake Dunning combined to give up five runs late, including a Marlon Byrd grand slam in the top of the eighth to seal the deal.
The Giants dropped their second-straight to the Mets, marking their 15th loss in the last 18 games.
The bright spot
Kensuke Tanaka gave Giants fans plenty to smile about despite the disappointment. Brian Sabean wasn’t phased by the long game last night (maybe he didn’t sleep? Probably he didn’t sleep), because he made a flurry of roster moves before Tuesday’s game, calling up Mike Kickham and Tanaka in lieu of designating Cole Gillespie for assignment and sending Hector Sanchez to the 15-day disabled list.
Tanaka got the start in left field hitting second, and it didn’t take long for fans to warm up to him. In the second inning, he saved a home run by leaping at the left field wall and making one hell of a grab.
The catch sparked pretty much every beat writer in the press box to crank up YouTube and hearken back to this gem:
Tanaka also recorded his first major league hit and his first career run as well. Giants fans are going to love his hustle and attitude, especially if he can contribute to a team that needs all the help it can get right now.