Our greatest weakness now has become glaring: win or lose, we have a terrible ‘pen, likely to give up one or more runs once they’re handed the ball. Bullpen losses are the worst, gut-punching. They un-do all the good of a game. Hate to say it, Giants fans, but get used to it.
After crushing the rocks, Giants 12, Rockies 4, in game one of the double header, the Giants lost the night game on a three-run, two-out, walkoff home run by Charlie Blackmon, in just such painful fashion. Potential closer Jake McGee, entered the last with a 6-2 lead. He fell apart again, giving up four to tie the game. The pressure of being “the closer” seems to have gotten to McGee.
The bullpen collapse turned a good five-inning performance by, and possible win for, Alex Wood – in a stadium where historically he has not performed well – into a loss for young Camilo Doval, who came into the bottom of the last with only one out to get in his first ever appearance at Coors Field, and he got jacked. With Blackmon’s walkoff, the Giants gave up SIX runs in the final frame. Ugh. Rockies 8, Giants 6.
Gabe Kapler has yet to manage the victory of a double-header. (0-2-2)
Hilariously, the Giants lost the rubber match the next day in the exact opposite manner: starter Logan Webb gave up SIX earned runs in the 4th and, while the bullpen shut out the Rockies the rest of the way, Giants bats could find little purchase against John Gray. Rockies 6, Giants 5. Logan Webb’s inconsistency remains an issue.
The Tauchman trade has been magical on offense, but the loss of Wandy Peralta has clearly weakened the already struggling bullpen. The trade-off was openly apparent in Colorado. It’s time for Mr. Zaidi to swivel his gaze to fixing the ‘pen. Can he continue his methodological, quiet approach and resolve it? Sure hope so. These losses hurt.
It’s the home record that’s keeping the Giants aloft. The boys are 10-3 at home, where bullpen mistakes can be mitigated by Giants bats in the final frame. But that will now be put to the test by a home series against the Padres this weekend, followed by a two-game, interleaguer with the Rangers. Will this be the weekend the Giants lose first place for the rest of the season? Possibly.
But hopefully not. The Giants managed to split the early season series in San Diego and they’ve won at home against inferior competition. A series win against the Padres and a sweep of Texas could be enough to keep the Giants pennant atop all the flagposts in the NL West.
Against the Pads, the Giants will be going with DeSclafani, Gausman and Cueto. Yes! Johnny Cueto will be back and pitching on Sunday! Wood and Webb will face the Rangers.
Injuires have set the Giants back a bit, too, but it’s only early May and that’s the same for everyone in the league. When we squint to imagine what this team could look like full-strength, it’s not bad:
Rotation: Gausman, Cueto, DeSclafani, Wood and Webb (or possibly Sanchez or a rotating fifth starter)
Line-up: Tauchman, LaStella, Yasztremski, Belt/Posey, Longoria, Dickerson, Crawford/Dubon, Slater vs. lefties, Duggar vs. righties, Casali (alt. bench: Flores/Posey/Dubon/Crawford)
Bullpen: ummmm. well here’s where it all falls down. Tyler Rogers as set-up man has been the only reliable element. McGee was rolling along as the closer until his recent collapse. Perhaps he can be serviceable in that role again. Doval is a noob – good, but a noob. Baragar? Wisler? There’s nobody else in the pen I can point to with confidence. Mr. Zaidi, please do the thing you do so well and get us a bullpen.
It’s Willie Mays’ 90th Birthday today!
Mays told Jon Miller that he was most proud that he was a size 32 waist when he started playing in the majors, and he was a size 32 waist when he retired 22 seasons later.
Darren Rovell tweeted:
“He graduated from an industrial high school having earned a degree in cleaning, dyeing and pressing clothes. Instead of working at a laundromat, he became one of the best baseball players of all time. Willie Mays, the oldest living Hall of Famer, turns 90 today.”
Peter Gammo: “Willie Mays’ birthday is a very important holiday in my house.”
Patrick Creighton: “Remembering one of the greatest, most famous plays of all time by an all time player. Game 1 1954 World Series. Willie Mays commits grand larceny on Vic Wertz. #Giants swept #Indians to win WS”
Happy Birthday, Mr. Mays!
Giants Baseball Corner