Sunday, August 24, 2014

BASTA: Giants Choke In Atrocious Fashion To Drop Series To Nationals

((HT: BASTA their own selves/Ben Leonard))

The Giants came to Washington hoping to take a series victory. They leave undeserving to play in our nation’s capital, more fit to play in Williamsport. Holding a 5-0 lead after three innings, they managed to lay an egg and fall 14-6, representing a 14-1 run for the Nationals after the third.

The Giants tagged the once overhyped Stephen Strasburg for five runs in four innings, forcing him to throw seventy-nine pitches. The five runs he allowed were the most runs he had allowed at home since his last game in 2012 before he was shut down for precautionary reasons. Gregor Blanco set the tone right off the bat, working Strasburg to a 3-2 count, and proceeding to launch a solo homer to right. The light-hitting Blanco’s shot traveled an estimated 399 feet. Travis Ishikawa added another solo shot of his own in the second, putting the score at 2-0. The Giants scored three runs in the third inning behind a Michael Morse RBI double, an Ishikawa sacrifice fly, and a Brandon Crawford RBI single, a rarity these days for the ice cold shortstop. He has posted a 50 wRC+ and a .177 average since the All-Star Break.

How could an atrocity like this happen to a team that lit up Washington’s ace? The game was setting up to be a laugher after three, with the Nationals still not mustering a hit off of Vogelsong. That certainly changed in the fourth, with three doubles off of Vogelsong that scored two runs, cutting the San Francisco lead to 5-2. A blip on the radar, but the Giants still appeared poised to win handily.

Jake Peavy was ejected in the third inning for arguing with the umpiring crew about balls and strikes, even though he wasn’t in the game. He was leaning over the dugout railing, and had been visibly jawing with the crew for the whole game, despite a 5-0 lead. Peavy was a stone’s throw from my position at the yard. Peavy’s passion for the game is appreciated, but he took it too far on Sunday.

It all came apart in the sixth. Hunter Pence added a sacrifice fly, extending the lead to 6-2. That would be all the good news the Giants could conjure up the rest of the game. Jeremy Affeldt came in after Adam LaRoche struck out to start the frame and promptly served up a home run to Ian Desmond and the momentum to Washington. A combination of Affeldt and Jean Machi could not retire any of the next nine Washington hitters, giving up six runs in the process. Affeldt could not get an out, and was charged for four runs on five hits. His offspeed pitches were hanging, and he meated several fastballs, and even threw a “scud” with his heater, a wild pitch that scored a run. A 6-2 lead quickly became a 8-6 deficit.

The wheels came off in the bottom of the eight. Juan Gutierrez found way too much of the plate, making the game a 14-6 laugher. Gutierrez gave up five runs in the frame, including home runs to Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa. Bochy let the righty go thirty-seven pitches, conceding the game to Washington, as he wanted to rest the rest of his bullpen.

The bullpen’s implosion is a troubling sign for this ballclub. The unit gave up eleven runs in only four and two-thirds innings of work. In the month of August, they have posted a 4.04 ERA. (not including Sunday) Pitching and defense are supposedly the core of this team, and it certainly didn’t look like it today. Michael Morse continued his plodding defense in the outfield, making some bad runs on balls that would have been caught by Gregor Blanco. Part of the problem was Angel Pagan’s absence, who has sat out the last two games nursing a calf strain he sustained on Friday.

Duane and Mike discuss the loss
((HT: CSN Bay Area))


Jake Peavy (2-3, 3.58) will look for his third straight victory Monday night against the Rockies, the first game of a seven-game homestand for the club. Peavy will toe the rubber against the young lefty Tyler Matzek. (2-9, 5.38) A pigeon stayed on the field for the latter part of the game, on the outfield grass just behind the shortstop. It made it on the big-screen, causing many Washington fans to dub it the “rally pigeon.”

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