The Giants batters struck out ten times and managed only seven hits in last night’s game against the Padres in San Diego. But they won 7-2! That victory was thanks to a couple factors, a Giant six-run inning in the top of the seventh and an overall solid performance by the relief corps and law firm of Junis, Manaea, Walker and Alexander. Jacob Junis started the game and was pitching very well but was lifted after four shutout innings and only 58 pitches by Giant Skipper Gabe Kapler.
Maybe he had some inside information Junis’s condition?
Maybe he saw something we didn’t?
Or maybe it’s the process?
At any rate it was a head-scratching move at the time and in hindsight. Sean Manaea relieved Junis and pitched 3 1/3 innings giving up five walks, flirting with disaster through most of his outing and allowing one run on three hits. He would, of course get the win because Baseball. Because Gabe Kapler. Because Analytics. But I digress.
The Giants big inning came in no small part to absolutely abysmal defense by the San Diego Padres. Manny Machado was charged with a throwing error on a play the first baseman should have made. The second baseman booted a ball. Outfielders did not make all the plays and as a result the Giants profited big time, like they did in their two wins against the Reds in their previous series in San Francisco. In that big inning, the top of the third, Joc Pederson lined a single to left field in a lovely display of opposite field hitting. That drove in the first Giant run, courtesy of LaMonte Wade Jr who was on second base. Yaz singled to center on a bullet to score Estrada. Pederson then scored on Machado’s error on a ball hit by J. D. Davis. Then Wade Meckler executed a beautiful bunt single between the mound and first base. That scored Yaz from first. Casey Schmitt then hit a sac fly to left to score the sixth run of the inning. Schmitt just missed that ball and was ready to launch it into Tijuana.
The Giants added a run on a homer by Yaz, to left, in the fifth inning. It needs to be mentioned that Padres starter Pedro Avila is a talented pitcher. He was cruising after two innings and Giants fans cold be forgiven for thinking this game would not go well for their baseball heroes. But a combination of hustle, good opposite field hitting by the Giants and terrible defense by the Padres was the difference in the game. On paper a bullpen game against Avila in San Diego did not look good for the Giants. But that’s why you play the games. Baseball! Anything can happen!
Also, the Padres are just terrible. They are a bunch of superstars with many holes in their pitching staff playing uninspired baseball. If I were the owner of that club I would fire the GM, trade the hot dogs, and rebuild from the ground up keeping only a few key parts. They are drawing crowds despite being one of the biggest under-achieving clubs in baseball history. It shows you how desperate San Diego fans are for some fun and a winning team.
The Giants play the Padres in game two of the series tonight at 6:40 PM. It will be Tristan Beck versus Michael Wacha. Let’s see how long a leash the Giants Manager gives Beck. I hope he pitches will and gets to throw at least 75 pitches.