The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days straight. They’re in Atlanta, where Friday night they lost the first of a three-gamer. Saturday, they won in a shutout. Sunday, the rubber match, is Game Six of the Gauntlet of 16.
This was to be Anthony Desclafani’s return to the rotation from the IL, with Sammy Long prepared to go if DeSclafani couldn’t. Like the Cueto return, or Longoria’s, management’s approach with veterans is methodological and cautious.
Belt back. With Kris Bryant still out, Brandon’s big bat is welcomed – rest in peace, Margaret Peterson, may neither your death, nor the deaths of millions of beloved others from this terrible virus, be forgotten. Your influence on your grandson is apparent and we, his Giants family, are inestimably proud of him.
DeSclafani (11-5, 3.26 ERA, 123 K) faced Ian Anderson (5-5, 3.56 ERA, 98 K), a 23yo, hard-throwing righty, also just off the injured list, who had emerged as a young star for the Braves before he went down back on July 11th.
- LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
- Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
- Darin Ruf (R) LF
- Brandon Belt (L) 1B
- Brandon Crawford (L) SS
- Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
- Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
- Curt Casali (R) C
- Anthony DeSclafani (R) P
Top of the First
With Ian Anderson being a young player, and this being the first time the two sides have faced each other, many Giants had never faced him. Wade popped up on one pitch, La Stella grounded out on three. But Ruf managed a two-out single to get aboard for Belt.
I felt anticipation to see what Brandon would do returned from the bereavement for the woman he dedicated the season to. Patient, smart, unfazed, he drew a walk on seven pitches. Brandon Crawford worked a full count as well, but flied out to center-right. I love back-to-back Brandons with rings and Championship Blood, btw.
Ozzie Albies (S), 2B Jorge Soler (R), RF Freddie Freeman (L), 1B Austin Riley (R), 3B Joc Pederson (L), CF Dansby Swanson (R), SS Eddie Rosario (L), LF Stephen Vogt (L) C, Ian Anderson (R) P
DeSclafani did indeed start the game. He got Albies to ground-out right into the shift. His 94mph sinker induced a ground out to third from Jorge Soler. Freddie Freeman, whom the Giants have silenced to the tune of 3 for 16 in the series, worked a full count. But DeSclafani got him to ground out to Belt at first – three up, three down, 15 pitches.
Wilmer Flores smacked a change-up to left for a lead off single, but was forced out at second on a hard infield hit by Mike Yastrzemski. Curt Casali smashed a shot to short, but so fast it was an easy GIDP to end the inning.
DeSclafani looked steady and workmanlike, unhampered, as he threw two quick strikes to the young stud Austin Riley. He struck him out on the third pitch, a 94mph heater. Sinker, change-up, 4-seam FB and the kid was walking back, sheepishly.
Joc Pederson worked a full count, but flew out to right on a DeSclafani four-seamer that hit 95mph. Dansby Swanson popped out to shallow center. Three up, three down, 14 pitches.
DeSclafani lined out to Peterson. With one out and nobody on, The Man, Wade, Jr., bunted and raced to first for a speedy, gorgeous infield hit. He then stole second. Wow. LaMonte, YOU ARE THE MAN! (the throw was way offline, but he would’ve made it, even if it had been dead-on).
The Man is a perfect five for five on steals.
With Wade in scoring position, and one down, the patient, capable hitter Tommy La Stella came to the plate. I love these guys as our one-two. La Stella grounded out to first, but moved Wade over to third. Anderson tightened up and found his location against Ruf, who hit a screaming liner right back at him that hit Anderson’s jersey and knocked his glove off. The ball went on to Albies who threw out Ruf for the last out.
Eddie Rosario fouled off DeSclafani’s FB and then looped his knuckle curve to center left for a lead off single. He bolted for second and easily stole it, with a good jump and a terrible throw from Casali. Tit for tat baserunning by the Braves, matching Wade.
DeSclafani struck out former Giant Stephen Vogt and pitcher Anderson, back-to-back from the stretch. He was slow, determined and deliberate. Then, on a 2-2 count, he struck out Albies to end the inning. One hit, three Ks, sixteen pitches. Anthony DeSclafani looked like his best self after three.
Belt hit a grounder to third that was hard enough to be trouble and legged it out for a leadoff single. B-Craw grounded into the shift but managed to beat out the throw – Belt down on the force, Craw on for Flores, who popped out to second when Anderson jammed him. Anderson then got Yaz to ground out on a slow roller to first on the next pitch. Kid looked good under duress. Funny how similar the innings were for each side – measuring each other in a rubber match with two pitchers fresh off the IL.
Jorge Soler hammered a DeSclafani 87mph slider that was right over the plate, to the third row of the Hank Aaron terrace for a lead off big fly against DeSclafani. Freeman then rapped a single to shallow right and raced to an infield hit.
DeSclafani’s measured pace was shattered. He responded with two quick strikes to Riley. But Freeman stole second on the next pitch, a four-seam fastball that missed. Two steals behind DeSclafani. Throws weren’t close from Casali. He was havin it.
With a runner in scoring position, DeSclafani missed again … and this time to the kid. Riley ripped a 423-foot, two-run homer off an 88mph slider that was way too high. Braves 3, Giants 0. With nobody out. Worse, DeSclafani then half-heartedly ran to the bag in the heat on an infield hit by Pederson to first. Belt got the ball, and seeing DeSclafani wasn’t going to make it, tried to get there, but Pederson reached.
The wheels looked like they were falling off when DeSclafani threw a wild pitch that allowed Pederson to advance to second. He then gave up an infield single to Swanson. This brought out the trainer and Kap to see whether DeSclafani could even go on. The ankle injury was a liability, but he’d just given up five consecutive hits! DeSclafani was done.
Sammy Long entered with Pederson on second, Swanson on first and nobody out. He got Rosario to line out to first on three pitches and got ahead of Vogt 0-2. Long just missed on that high curve a couple of times, but then he K’d Vogt with a smart 79mph changeup. He’s got a good curve ball. The set up to the change-up showed good command by the young man, who got the opposing pitcher Anderson to ground out to end the inning. Still, the damage had been done and DeSclafani’s exit was worrisome. Cueto, Wood and DeSclafani have struggled all year with going deep in games, and Gausman seems to be joining them. Braves 3, Giants 0.
Anderson settled in with the three run lead, looking for a win upon return. The Giants went quietly in the fifth, three up, three down. But Sammy Long responded with a 14-pitch three up, three down inning of his own. Way to go, rook! Not easy to pick off Albies, Soler and Freeman, the top of the Braves’ potent order.
La Stella grounded out on a comebacker. Ruf walked and Belt flied out to center. But then a wild pitch allowed Ruf to take second and that was the end of the line for young Ian Anderson, who threw a very good 5 and 2/3rd innings of four-hit shutout baseball, coming back from injury.
The Bullpen Match-Up
With two outs, opponents are 1 for 23 against Tyler Matzek, who came in to clean up the sixth for Anderson. Crawford was patient and drew a walk, bringing up Flores, a righty. But righties were 1 for 54 against Matzek coming into this one and Flores went down on three pitches, ending in a check swing strikeout.
Sammy Long got Austin Riley to fly out to right, a solid out. But then he walked Pederson and threw three straight balls to Dansby Swanson. He had thrown seven straight balls when he got a strike looking on a fastball, but then he missed again and walked Swanson. Back-to-back walks with one out in the sixth brought a mound visit but nobody got up to warm up and Kap left Long out there.
Long left the next pitch, a 73mph curve, hanging, and Rosario ripped the ball to deep center where it briefly lodged under the wall. But there was no ground rule, and Wade didn’t throw his hands up. He grabbed the ball and threw it back in, giving Rosario a two-run triple, scoring Pederson and Swanson. To his credit Long struck out Vogt and got the Braves’ pinch-hitting home run leader Adam Duvall to line out to second. Braves 5, Giants 0.
Richard Rodriguez popped out Yaz and Casali and coaxed a weak grounder to first from Long. Braves ‘pen looks good with a lead.
Sammy Long exploded. Braves destroyed.
Braves – Bottom 7th
- Albies doubled to left
- Soler reached on infield single to shortstop, Albies to third
- Freeman singled to shallow right center, Albies scored, Soler to second
- Riley grounded into fielder’s choice to second, Freeman out at second, Soler to third
- Pederson hit sacrifice fly to left, Soler scored
- Swanson struck out swinging
- 2 RUNS, 3 HITS, 0 ERRORS
Braves 7, Giants 0
Giants bats went totally quiet against the Braves’ ‘pen. Matzek, Rodriguez, Minter and Toussaint gave up just one hit over four innings.
Sammy Long was burnt. Albies smashed a two-run homer off him. Kapler didn’t want to exhaust the bullpen in advance of the Brewers series, so Austin Slater pitched! He popped up Freddie Freeman, lol.
Atlanta 9, Giants 0.
Braves get their 15th shutout to tie the Giants for the lead in that category.
Giants end road trip 4-2.
sad day. Giants lose.