The San Francisco Giants deserve to lose when they can’t score more than a run off an anonymous Miami Marlins pitcher. If you must know, the pitcher’s name on Thursday night was Tom Koehler. Koehler kept the Giants hitless through 5.1 innings, although truth be told Sandy Rosario came pretty damned close to hitting a double to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Then again, if “close” counted, Nick Noonan would’ve had a splash hit homer. “Close” isn’t something to cling to in baseball. It’s best forgotten, otherwise it’ll gnaw at you.
Rosario would end up striking out, but he was in line for the win (I know, I know, but I’m pretty sure pitchers do care about these things) until he made the mistake of walking the leadoff hitter in the eighth.
Jeremy Affeldt’s turn.
Affeldt hit Derek Dietrich with the first pitch he threw, almost as if he saw Jesus Guzman standing in the box instead. After
Adeiny Hechavarria bunted the runners to second and third, Affeldt struck out Jeff Mathis on three pitches. He then got ahead of Marcell Ozuna, but Ozuna dumped an 0-2 fastball that was a good foot off the plate into right field for a two-run single.
Affeldt didn’t cover home plate, but that was the least of his problems. For the third time in 14 days, Affeldt gave up a lead in the eighth inning, the inning that Affeldt was supposed to claim as his and his alone with Santiago Casilla on the disabled list. Afterward he walked to his locker, turned and faced the media. Affeldt was frustrated, but not beaten.
“I didn’t make a lot of mistakes that inning. Yeah, if I don’t hit the first guy he doesn’t score the winning run and we don’t have that issue,” Affeldt said. “The pitch I got beat on was a pitch I wanted. It was exactly where I wanted it but it still fell in. It’s the kind of rut I’m in.”
Affeldt was “close” to getting out of the eighth with the lead. Instead, all he could do afterward was say this:
“I’m not going to change anything. I felt good out there tonight. Just play it out and hopefully things start to go my way a little bit,” he said. “Right now I’m the guy that seems to be not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
The Giants’ bullpen is nothing close to deep, despite Rosario coming in and performing well in his outing (which lasted a career-high 2.2 innings). If Affeldt’s problem is that he’s dealing with some bad breaks, then Bruce Bochy will probably keep running him out there in the eighth … at least until Casilla returns. But if Affeldt gives up another big hit to a right-hander to lose a lead, he may become a lefty specialist for a while. The only problem is the Giants are pretty well stocked in that area.
– So much for the talk before today’s game about the team getting back to almost full strength in a matter of a few days. News spread during the middle of this game that Angel Pagan, playing in his first minor league rehab game in Stockton with the San Jose Giants on Thursday evening, suffered an injury to his left leg that looked fairly serious. I asked Bochy if he was aware of the injury, and here’s what he said:
“He had to come out of the game. We’ll have to check on him tomorrow, see where he’s at and exactly what’s going on there. He was running down the line and felt something so he had to come out. They had to cart him off, I guess. It’s a setback, but that’s all I can give you right now and I’ll have more on him tomorrow.”
– Pagan’s injury, plus how the Giants lost this game, almost masks the first noteworthy bit of news from this evening: Chad Gaudin took a sharp grounder off the top of his right forearm and had to leave in the fifth inning. X-rays came back negative, and starting tomorrow he and the training staff will treat the injury in hopes that the bruise won’t keep him from taking his next turn in the rotation.
Gaudin made a few warmup pitches before leaving the game for good. I asked him whether he knew from the moment he threw the first warmup pitch that his night was over.
“I just know in a situation like that it’s going to tighten up. If it’s tight already, I’m not going to take a chance and hurt myself worse,” he said.
Gaudin also took a shot off his body in the first inning. I asked him where he got hit that time, and he couldn’t remember.
– “I’ll be honest, I don’t think we were aggressive enough. We were behind the ball a lot. I think he has good stuff, but at the same time it seems like we were late quite a bit. If I had my preference, I want the guys to be aggressive when the ball’s in the strike zone,” said Bochy of the Giants’ approach against Koehler. “We were a little too passive tonight.”
– The loss also masked the good work Joaquin Arias has done in Pablo Sandoval’s absence. Sandoval’s last game was on June 8, and since then Arias has picked up at least a hit in each of the last 11 games (hitting .364 in the process), and his triple in the seventh capped a two-out rally that started with a double from Brandon Belt.
– The Giants are 22-12 against the NL West … and 15-23 against everyone else.
– Eric Surkamp threw four shutout innings in that game in Stockton, by the way. He allowed two hits, no walks and struck out three.
– The crowd booed when the final score of Game 7 of the NBA Finals was flashed on the scoreboard. Great night for Miami — I wonder how many people were happier about the Marlins winning than the Heat repeating as NBA Champions. 10 people? Fewer?
– Undeniably the best part of this game: