It was just a terrible end to June, as the Giants finished it winning only two of the last eight games in the month. The Giants lost a three game series to the Reds at home and only split a brace with the Tigers here as well. They then got swept at home by the Chicago White Sox to lose the first three games of the gauntlet of the ’22 season: seventeen games in the first seventeen days of July. ugh.
Now they’ve lost the first four.
The Giants opened up the road trip in Arizona with Carlos Rodón facing our old friend Madison Bumgarner and the game was a wild one. MadBum got tagged early for a couple of runs and then Rodón had two cross the plate to tie it in the bottom half of the first. Giants 2, Diamondbacks 2.
Then the D-backs scored two more as a result of still more Giants errors. The infield without Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada was out of sorts. Rodón settled down, but never looked really comfortable. But this wasn’t his fault. Two errors in the first three innings of this one gave Arizona the early lead. Giants 2, Diamondbacks 4.
The Giants got a couple of singles from Evan Longoria and Yermin Mercedes in the fourth, which allowed our third back-up shortstop David Villar to knock in Longo and get the Giants within a run. The Giants are beat up. The guys on the field are thus out of sync and the errors are way up. (49 errors in 77 games) Giants 3, Diamondbacks 4.
Rodón and MadBum went at it, throwing 101 and 100 pitches, respectively, to finish their five innings. The game was turned over to the bullpen, where the Giants didn’t fare better. Then Tyler Rogers gave up three hits and two earned runs in the sixth, while the Diamondbacks Sean Poppen held the Giants scoreless for the sixth and Joe Mantiply struck out the side in the seventh. Giants 3, Diamondbacks 6.
To add injury to insult, Curt Casali had to leave the game with a strain. Sigh. This put our second-string catcher Austin Wynns behind the plate. To his credit, he drove a single up the middle facing a 3-2 count when he entered for Casali at the plate. But as bad as the Giants were on defense, the D-backs were good. They turned a ridiculous double play in the top of the sixth to retire Wynns and end the inning.
A bright spot in the Giants bullpen was Mauricio Llovera, who had a three-up, three-down seventh on sixteen pitches. Llovera looks good since his return from the 10-day injured reserve. Newest Giant Yermin Mercedes doubled with two outs in the eighth. But second-newest Giant David Villar struck out and couldn’t bring him in this time.
Gabe Kapler left Llovera out for the eighth inning. Hmmm. Here’s where the new mathemagical system seems suspect. The three-batter rule is one thing, but using a reliever for two innings after the fifth on Kap’s staff seems like a decision made on the fly because we don’t have enough consistent, quality relievers; not like a sabermetrics decision. And Kap does it a lot. That feels like a mix of math and guts, um so … wth are we doing?
Tonight Mauricio Llovera got stuck out there in a three-run game and Kapler and the staff just let him die. He popped up Buddy Kennedy, but then gave up a solidly hit single to Josh Rojas. Then an infield single to Carson Kelly on a high chopper that died on the grass near third. Daulton Varsho then ripped a single to right scoring Rojas and Kelly. sigh. Giants 3, Diamondbacks 8.
Arrrrgh. I am getting really tired of being told that decisions are being made on some kind of batter-by-batter, case-by-case, moneyball basis or sabermetric basis when it is painfully obvious it is because this team simply does not have the talent. We are thirteenth in payroll and do not have a consistent team. At all. I am severely disappointed.
The Giants have now lost five straight and eleven of their last fourteen. They have started the gauntlet of seventeen games in the first seventeen days of July by losing four straight. They are an inconsistent group, not only in performance but in terms of who is actually on the field. There is no consistent lineup. I doubt the way the coaching staff uses the 10-day and 60-day injured reserve and doubt the decision-making around the pitching staff.
Kapler and Co. are fading fast and proving that last year was an absolute fluke. Farhan Zaidi seems to have given up and is using the good will of last year’s record-breaking season to justify not spending any money. This team threatens no one.
Well, at least MadBum got a win.