This was the kind of San Francisco Giants loss we’re all used to. Madison Bumgarner pitched pretty well but got nothing in the way of support or luck; Buster Posey had 3 hits; the team walked zero times instead of 10. Those 10 walks last night led to a game that took 213 minutes to complete. Wednesday’s game, in even colder and foggier conditions, mercifully finished in 164.
Last night, the Giants went 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, striking out 10 times in those situations. Tonight, they went 2-for-11 with 5 strikeouts with RISP. It’s a known problem, and the fact that the Giants keep battling themselves whenever they see their teammates on second and/or third base seems to be making it worse.
“Tonight was probably our worst night, I thought, the at-bats with runners in scoring position,” Bruce Bochy said. “We’re just getting too anxious, too aggressive, really chasing pitches.”
Tonight Melky Cabrera was a late scratch due to a toe injury, and even though he pinch hit in the 9th and grounded out on the first pitch, an already questionable lineup looked even sadder than usual without his presence. “I think he should be okay to go tomorrow,” according to Bruce Bochy. “It’s a corn thing, something that flared up.”
Without Cabrera, the team’s most productive hitter this season, the Giants pressed even more than usual. That added pressure the Giants are feeling at the plate was a recurring theme during the postgame interviews after a 4-1 loss to St. Louis. The more they say they need to relax and enjoy the game, the more it seems like they’re dreading each at-bat.
“We lost Pablo, and Melky today. Hopefully he’s better tomorrow. We just have to back up each other,” Gregor Blanco said. “We just have to not have any pressure on ourselves and have fun. We need to have fun and play baseball.”
The Giants are so shallow at third base that the man who started there (Emmanuel Burriss) hit 9th, behind Bumgarner. Even worse, nobody thought much of it. Bruce Bochy said the move was probably “a one-time deal” to give the Giants “two speed guys, back-to-back.” But anyone who’s watched Bumgarner (some power) and Burriss (no power) hit know the deal: Bumgarner may be the best bottom-of-the-order hitter the Giants have these days.
— Bumgarner isn’t much of a talker anyway, even less so when the Giants lose. And with that incredible lead-in, here’s Bumgarner’s postgame interview!
— With more playing time, Blanco’s getting more attention from reporters. He deserves it too, not just because of his play but also because he’s a fairly decent interview. Nothing flashy, but he doesn’t speak in clichés either.
— Another injury? Blanco was wearing a wrap around his ankle after the game after tweaking it while rounding third on Buster Posey’s RBI single, but he said he’d be fine.
— Joaquin Arias had his wrist wrapped and iced in the clubhouse afterwards, but it sounds like he’ll be in the lineup at third base tomorrow afternoon.
— It was a night to forget for Brett Pill, who came up with men on base in all 3 of his plate appearances (he went 0-for-3 with a K and grounded into a double play) before Bochy sent Cabrera in to hit for Pill in the 8th.
— Aubrey Huff ranks 6th on the team in walks (with 7) and has the lowest K% on the team. With the Giants’ offense looking so awful, it might not be that long until he gets his first start since coming off the DL. I doubt “#FreeHuff” will catch on as a hashtag, though.
— Carlos Beltran told Alex Pavlovic before the game that the Giants never talked to him during the off-season, which caused a bit of a kerfuffle. The Giants maintain that they spoke with Beltran’s agent(s) multiple times, but not Beltran directly.
— My own two cents on Beltran: while Beltran told Pavlovic that he “enjoyed his time here,” I can guarantee you Beltran (who didn’t play due to a right knee injury wasn’t too upset about leaving this place. Especially on a night like tonight when it was around 50 degrees and felt colder. Remember, last August Beltran admitted, “When I came to San Francisco as a visiting team, it was uncomfortable to play here. Because everywhere you were before it’s kind of warm, you get loose. Here, you play the whole game and you don’t get loose.”
— In case you missed it earlier, this afternoon I shot video of Brian Wilson’s 20-minute interview session in the clubhouse. Wilson talked about his rehab process and how long it’ll take him to return to action, what it’s like watching the games and interacting with his teammates while he’s unable to play, and of course there were the requisite silly comments (the phrase “laying carpet” was uttered several times) and beard updates.