The Giants lost a very winnable game last night, 2-1, to the Pirates at Willie Mays Field. In doing so they were lucky it was not 3-1 because the NY replay crew incorrectly called a fifth inning play at the plate “out” in the Giants favor when in fact, the runner was safe. Don’t ask me why but it did not matter in the end because the Giants made errors, misplays, wild pitches, and then stranded far too many runners and missed many hittable pitches in a sloppy performance that began with the Curse of Conor Joe rearing its ugly head again.
The Giants winning trend was Bucc’d by the Pirates last night as a result.
The Bullpen Games Gotta GO!
This time it was in the top of the first inning with Jon Brebbia starting the game in which Gabe Kapler used an arsenal of relief arms as a bullpen game because….. With two outs Brebbia hung a curve ball to Joe who hammered down the ambulance corridor inside the left field foul pole over the wall. Just like that it’s 1-0 Pirates. Gabe Kapler then summoned Sean Manaea who recorded the third out. Manaea had another good outing going four innings and allowing four hits with zero runs and three strikeouts but zero walks. He has turned his season around and he should have started this game. It would have been a better strategy and might saved at least two bullpen appearances, an important detail with Alex, “two times through the order” Wood pitching today’s series finale.
This is another questionable decision by the Giants brain trust. I just don’t get it. I see no upside on this one.
But, back to yesterday’s game.
The Giants answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a Michael Conforto RBI single down the third base line.
Conforto cleaning up 🧼 pic.twitter.com/V0AyG1ndI2
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 31, 2023
It was another lovely example of Conforto’s use of the whole baseball diamond as a hitter. It’s been one of the secrets of his hot streak. Unfortunately, that would be the first and last run the Giants would score, in part because Pirate starter Johan Oviedo was good, despite walking five Giants (I’ll get to that in a minute). Ovideo is a big strong righty with a plus fastball and a sharp slider. When he throws strikes he’s a tough hurler. When he walks people he can get out of jams with his stuff. It’s the big difference with power pitchers versus, say, an Alex Wood. That’s what happened last night, and twice with Mitch Haniger at the plate.
And those Oviedo walks, well it’s no secret the Pirate pitcher has control issues and there were too many times when Giant hitters did not take advantage of being ahead in the count or getting hittable pitches. It’s something to think about going forward.
Haniger’s Bad Night
Mitch Haniger has been one of the better Giants in the past two weeks. Last night he had his worst game in his young San Francisco career. He stranded four runners in his first two at bats, hit into a double play and made a colossal error on a routine hit in left that lead to the winning run. It’s a night I am sure we will not see any time soon from such a talented player. It happens. It just so happens that it coincided with a bad night for the entire Giants hitting attack.
The Pirates, for their measure, scored the winning run in the form of Pirate Rodolfo Castro on third base, on a wild pitch by Sean Manaea in the top of the fifth inning that did not go very far from the Giants catcher. Patrick Bailey hustled and made a good throw to a hard-charging Sean who was covering the plate. The tag was made and Castro would have been out had Manaea held onto the ball but he did not. It was a disaster. Sean is lucky he did not end up in the hospital between the collision and the tumble afterwards.
Speaking of collisions, the Giants and Patrick Bailey were very fortunate there was no sever injury in the aforementioned play at the plate that was called “out” by the blue crew and was upheld in a replay review. That play took place in the top of the fifth inning with one out and Delay at third. A routine chopper to first baseman Wade Jr. was fielded cleanly but the throw was a bit high. Bailey was blocking the plate with his left foot and leg as Delay slid right into those body parts. Bailey evidently blocked the runner legally (I thought that was an illegal play) and made the tag. I cringed watching those replays and thinking of Buster’s 2011 injury.
The Giants did make this nice double play, started by Casey Schmitt:
Casey Schmitt’s defense is Tim Hudson approved 👏 pic.twitter.com/IuAU0934zM
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) May 31, 2023
The Giants and Pirates play the decisive game of their series today at 12:45 PM at Willie Mays Field. Alex Wood pitches for the Giants against Mitch Keller (6-1, 3.01 ERA) of the Pirates.