Greek Giant

n my preview for the 2024 season I mentioned some questions about the Giants middle relief corps. Those question marks became an Achilles heel for the Giants in the Opening Day loss. In yesterday’s 6-4 Opening Day loss at the hands of the Padres in San Diego the Giants were done in by two factors: the inability of relief pitchers Luke Jackson and Ryan Walker to hold leads and the many bloops, seeing-eye grounders and unfortunate bounces that lead to hits and runs off San Diego bats. But before I get into the Giants misfortunes let’s begin with the positives about the game, and there were many.

Logan Webb’s Excellent Start to the Season

Logan Webb was fantastic. He pitched six innings allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. The pitch that most impressed me from his arsenal was his curveball. Yes, the announcers called it a “slider” but it is really a curveball with a 3/4 break down and away to right handed hitters. That pitched had tremendous break and Webb was able to throw it to many hitters at any count and in different locations. Together with his fastball and splitter it made for a devastating three-pitch combination of domination against the Padres. Webb was so dominant to begin the game that he retired the first nine hitters he faced and looked un-hittable. I’ve always maintained that two pitches are not enough to be a dominant starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. It takes three out-pitches to succeed and a pitcher must be able to throw all thee at any location and in any count to maintain long-term success. Logan Webb now has them.

The Runs

The Giants would score first in the top of the third inning when Nick Ahmed hit a high fastball on an 0-2 count down the left field line for a double that drove in Michael Conforto. That hit and run came off Yu Darvish who was nearly as dominant as Logan Webb to start the game. Darvish had a scintillating 95 MPH fastball all game and a curveball that kept the Giants off balance. The Giants would hold that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth when Webb surrendered a slow grounder up the middle to become a hit off the bat of Jurickson Profar (one of my favorite MLB names) to tie the score with nobody out. Then Luis Campusano singled on a fly ball that fell before Yaz for the second run, still with nobody out. It looked like the Padres were going to have a big inning. But Webb recovered nicely as aces do and kept the Padres from scoring again.

With the Padres leading 2-1 the Giants would re-take the lead in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a hit by Ahmed and a sacrifice fly by Jung Ho Lee. That 3-2 Giants lead would not last long however as the Padres rebounded with a four-run bottom of the seventh that turned the game for good. It was a disappointing and critical inning for the Giants. Right after taking the lead in a pitcher’s duel Luke Jackson was unable to get that shutdown inning, immediately surrendering two singles to start the inning and watching as a run scored from a weird play when Patrick Bailey attempted to throw out Campusano at second base on an attempted steal. That throw would hit off Nick Ahmed and bounce into neverland allowing the Padres to tie the game. The error was charged to the Giants catcher but for my money it should have gone to Ahmed who has to stop that throw. The shortstop appeared off balance in covering second base and was unable to prevent the throw from getting away from him. The Padres would then add on. more runs to take a 6-3 lead.

Conforto, Lee and Ahmed

Michael Conforto had a big game with a solo homer in the ninth and a double along with a single to get three hits. Jung Ho Lee had two hits (and got picked off in what was described by Jon Miller as “the most a player has ever been picked off in the history of the game.” Nick Ahmed drove in two runs and made some good plays too. For the Giants it was a disappointing game with bright spots. I’m not one to focus on bright spots in a loss but it’s Opening Day and the Giants have players to give us fans real optimism this season.
Lee’s first hit was his first BIG LEAGUE Knock:

Here is the Conforto Homer:

The Giants Left Field Curse

For the 18th Opening Day in a row the Giants had a different left field starter. Yesterday it was Michael Conforto. That streak goes all the way to 2007 when Barry Bonds roamed the hallowed grounds of left field for the Giants. It’s quite a streak and the Giants are one year away from tying the Major League record that belongs to the Browns/Orioles from 1937 to 1955!

Here is the list of Giant Opening Day Left Fielders:

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
2024: Michael Conforto

Aubrey Huff?! Jarrett Parker!? Connor Joe!????!!!!????!!!!!!!!!!!!????

Today’s Game

It’s Harrison versus Musgrove in game two of the season and the series tonight in San Diego. Game time is 6:40 PM.