In yesterday’s 5-0 Season-Opening loss at Yankee Stadium the Giants recorded four hits and were never really in the game. Gerritt Cole out-dueled Logan Webb in a game that set a Major League record for strikeouts by starting pitchers on Opening Day that saw temperatures in the mid-40s and sunshine. The Giant bats got Coled. Cole had a 100 MPH fastball mixed with a killer slider and locations up and down, in and out of the zone that the Giant bats could not figure out. After going six innings and recording eleven strikeouts, Cole was lifted for a trio of Yankee relievers who kept the Giants scoreless (Peralta, Loaisiga, and Marinaccio).
Records Are Set
Game one and already in the record books 🕸️ pic.twitter.com/8uxjEDI0BD
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) March 30, 2023
Logan Webb also pitched six innings and recorded twelve strikeouts, a Giants record for an Opening Day starting pitching performance. Webb was fabulous except for two pitches that left the ball park. The first was a homer by Aaron Judge no less, picking up where he left off in 2022 and sending a rocket to center field in the bottom of the first inning to get the Yankees on the scoreboard first. The second homer, the one that put the game out of reach, was a two-run long fly over the right field wall by Glayber Torres. Both pitches came of tailing fastballs that found too much of home plate. Well, on second thought, re-watching the Judge homer and you see Webb threw a very good pitch on the outside corner of the plate. The problem for the Giants however, is that Judge’s is so big, so strong and with a deep wingspan that he can hit homers on pitches in the opposite batter’s box.
Giant Strike Out Numbers
For the Giants offense, well, there was none, unless you count the four aforementioned singles, two of which came from Thairo Estrada’s lumber. Joc Pederson struck out three times. Brandon Crawford struck out twice. In all the Giants struck out a grand total of sixteen times in the game! That’s just terrible and the Yankee pitching staff is not that good!
The Matt Beaty Acquisition
New guy Beaty on the block 👋 pic.twitter.com/weTQKehARU
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) March 30, 2023
Just before Opening Day the Giants acquired Matt Beaty after he was cut by the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations, which is Baseball speak for “getting a player the other guys did not even want to keep so they won’t even ask for another player in return”. The move is a head-scratcher for a number of reasons except one: It keeps Bryce Johnson in the Minors and prevents the Giants from activating his Major League salary and service time. If this smacks of cynicism then well, just look at how Farhan Zaidi has operated the past four seasons. This year, the Giants were supposed to prioritize defense and athleticism, particularly in the outfield after last year’s defensive fiasco. Well, the Beaty acquisition runs exactly counter to that notion. Johnson would have added another level of speed and glovework in the outfield. It would have made the Giant roster a bit younger and just more energetic. Instead, the Giants acquired a castoff from the Royals and sent a terrible message to their minor leaguers and their Major League clubhouse. I’m sorry, I see zero upside to this move, particularly in the timing.
“Giants president Farhan Zaidi shook up several assumptions held both inside and outside their clubhouse. Speedy outfielder Bryce Johnson did not make the opening-day roster following a strong spring in which he stole 12 bases in 12 attempts. Neither did right-hander Sean Hjelle, who opened eyes with his velocity bump and earned consistent praise. Instead, the club backed away from every public pronouncement in order to acquire first baseman/outfielder Matt Beaty from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations. And because leaving off Johnson gave them zero coverage in center field behind Mike Yastrzemski, the Giants added utilityman Brett Wisely to the group that will stand along the chilly chalk line at Yankee Stadium.
The view from the front office is that both Hjelle and Johnson will play important roles on the team this season. And there’s far too much emphasis placed on the roster composition when the bell rings to start a 162-game season. But the honor of making an opening-day roster isn’t only important to fans and media. It’s important to players, too. And warranted or not, unintentional or not, last-minute upheaval is not anyone’s ideal way to start the season.
But the Beaty transaction was a head-scratcher. He wasn’t going to make the Royals out of spring despite hitting .343 with two home runs. He isn’t considered an average defender at any position. Choosing Beaty over Johnson is seemingly out of step with every winter-long pronouncement from the Giants front office that it would prioritize improved defense and athleticism. But this is also a front office that shows again and again that it values offensive contributions above defensive value. Kapler said he expects the Giants to benefit from Beaty’s left-handed bat off the bench.”
Ok, another streak, that surely must be a record, was kept alive when Blake Sabol, the fairytale story of Spring Training, not only made the Opening Day roster but started in left field. He makes the 17th straight different left fielder to start an Opening Day for the Giants. Here is the complete list:
Giants Opening Day LF since 2007
2007: Barry Bonds
2008: Dave Roberts
2009: Fred Lewis
2010: Mark DeRosa
2011: Pat Burrell
2012: Aubrey Huff
2013: Andres Torres
2014: Mike Morse
2015: Nori Aoki
2016: Angel Pagan
2017: Jarrett Parker
2018: Hunter Pence
2019: Connor Joe
2020: Alex Dickerson
2021: Austin Slater
2022: Joc Pederson
2023: Blake Sabol
Of the bunch, I had forgotten about Mark DeRosa. The Jarrett Parker era did not last long. Aubrey Huff????? hoooo boy…. Somebody, somewhere needs to make a poster or a T-shirt out of this list, or at least a drinking game where everyone takes a shot when Kuiper says “Now playing left field for the Giants….”
The Giants are off today.