Thank you, Evan Longoria. Before his ninth-inning homer, the title of this post was going to be “Will the 2019 Giants Ever Score a Run?” Here it is.
🚨 THE GIANTS SCORED A RUN! I REPEAT: THE GIANTS SCORED A RUN 🚨 pic.twitter.com/O18MhboQr4
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 30, 2019
The 2019 Giants are already in several record books: first Giants team since the 1940s to score just one run in its first two games, the victim of the first Padres team ever to throw 15 straight scoreless innings to start a season. They narrowly, thanks to Longoria, avoided being the first Giants team since 1908 to be shut out in two straight games to start a season. (That was actually a World Series team…the Merkle’s Boner team. A rookie making a brutal base-running mistake? Good thing we didn’t have anything like that last night…oh, wait.)
The game continued to expose the glaring flaws in the roster. Too left-handed. Too few hitters on the bench. In the ninth inning, with the bases loaded and Belt up, who was in the on-deck circle to pinch-hit for the pitcher? You guessed it.
Bumgarner sprinting to get ready to pinch-hit in the ninth inning is the highlight of the season so far. pic.twitter.com/ZU0iF6P75J
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 30, 2019
You could quibble with the strange-looking lineup Bochy put out there last night or him using up arguably his best pinch-hitter, Pablo Sandoval, in the fifth inning, but clearly he doesn’t have many options to play with, and maybe it doesn’t much matter, anyway, what order he puts them in.
Still, there were two specific points at which you had to wince. One was in the second inning when the Padres scored their first two runs. Manny Margot’s two-run single might have been knocked down by Belt at first base, but it got by Buster Posey. Yangervis Solarte made a terrible tag at second base on a throw that clearly beat the runner, and the Giants were just lucky that it was the second inning and the Padres chose not to challenge the call. Oh, and about that throw…from Henry Schulman’s gamer:
The Giants knew that Joe had a weak arm. If they are going to keep the natural infielder in left, they will need to strengthen it.
I’m not sure how you “strengthen” a major leaguer’s “weak arm,” but good luck with that. Anyway, the downside of trying to stack righties against a lefty starter is weakening the defense, with Belt, Panik, and Parra, all lefty hitters and better defenders, and all on the bench. And when you’re not scoring, you can’t afford a weak defense. So…yeah. Problems.
The other was the strange decision to bat Michael Reed in the leadoff spot. Reed looked absolutely helpless at the plate all night, and he killed a modest two-out rally in the fifth by flailing at three pitches after Sandoval’s pinch-hit double put runners at second and third. Reed did, however, team up with Brandon Crawford for the best defensive play of the night.
Derek Holland had a great second half of 2018 for the Giants–after Evan Longoria of all people suggested he change his delivery–earning a new contract. In the first half, though, his first couple months of starts looked a lot like last night’s: He got an inept offense into an early insurmountable hole and he was out of the game early, burning up the bench and the bullpen. He did have five strikeouts in four innings, but generally he looked pretty bad. Trevor Gott’s Giants debut was nothing to write home about–three hits, two walks, and a run allowed in 1.2 innings pitched.
Congratulations to the other Rule 5 Guy, Travis Bergen, on making his major league debut last night and inducing his only batter to ground out with a couple runners on and end an inning.
I was too numbed already from the awfulness of these two games to even be upset when I saw Mark Melancon come into the game, but he did OK. Sort of. He gave up a one-out single and then a hard-hit liner that Crawford make a nice play on and then doubled the runner off first.
BCraw makes it look easy 👏 pic.twitter.com/XBZciCp57F
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 30, 2019
So I have to wrap this up because in a few minutes here, we need to start heading for showers, packing, breakfast, and the airport. We’ve had a great time hanging out with our kids for a couple days, the San Diego weather has not disappointed, and the Gaslamp is always a fun place to be. I’ve said it before, but if you’re looking for a getaway trip connected with a Giants roadie, look no further. I can also recommend the surf-and-turf taco (steak, shrimp, avocado, chipotle crema) in the park.
As for the Giants…well, disheartened would be an understatement. I’m sure there will be plenty more to say about this as we go along this year, but all I can say right now is that there is nowhere to go but up. We could be looking at a franchise record for losses this season. I hope not, but things are pretty grim here.
OK, signing off for now. Lefty out.