Sunday, August 24, 2014

Game Wrap 8/24/2014: Nationals 12 Giants 6

It's hard to believe that the Giants held a 6-2 lead as late as the 6'th inning, but the bullpen suffered a complete breakdown allowing a flood of Nationals runs in one of the more frustrating losses in recent memory.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 5, 3B, HR(2).  BA= .252.  Blanco has struggled in the leadoff role but not today as he led off the game with a homer into the jet stream in R-CF then later tripled down the 1B line on a ball that got deadened by the ballgirl's chair.

Buster Posey- 2 for 5.  BA= .287.  Buster was as hot as I've ever seen him in the 9'th inning both during a mound conference with Rags and Gutierrez and later in the dugout after his AB in the bottom of the inning.  Not sure what it was about.  Kuip thought he knew, but did not want to say until he talked to Buster.  The general banter seemed to be that maybe the Nationals were stealing signs.  Is stealing signs cheating?  Both Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson were thrown out of the game early after yelling at the ump to call a balk on Strasburg who they thought was not coming to a complete stop out of the stretch.

Travis Ishikawa- 1 for 3, HR(2), SF.  BA= .258.  Travis has been a breath of fresh air at the 1B position this road trip.  Could he be another Giants reclamation success story a la Ryan Vogelsong?

Brandon Crawford= 3 for 4.  BA= .230.  Crawford had a nice day at the plate, but late in the game appeared to be dead on the legs as he stood and watched grounder after grounder go by.  In fairness, it's hard to tell on TV what balls an IF should get to, but it seemed like some of those were fieldable.

Ryan Vogelsong- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.78.  Vogelsong battled a very good Nationals lineup and left the game with a lead he probably expected to hold up.  Alas, it was not to be.

Jeremy Affeldt- 0.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 2.72.  Affeldt relieved Vogey after Desmond's HR and proceeded to get lit up. Don't know if it is fatigue, but Affeldt has now allowed runs in 6 of his last 8 appearances.  The ERA of 2.72 is a testament of just how good he was before that.

All in all, just a really bad loss by an apparently exhausted Giants team, especially the bullpen, but the fielders looked like their legs were dead too.

The Giants now come home and immediately start a 4 games midweek series against the Colorado Rockies that will hopefully go better than the last time the Rockies came to AT&T Park with Jake Peavy facing Tyler Matzek.

Amazingly, the Dodgers, Cardinals, Braves and Pirates all lost today, so the Giants remain 4.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 1 game ahead of the Braves for the second Wild Card playoff spot.

By not announcing whether Tim Lincecum is making his next start, after saying he has discussed the issue with Rags and Brian Sabean but not Timmy yet, Bochy has made it quite clear that Timmy won't be making the start.


  1. Watching Michael Morse play outfield makes me long for Aubrey Huff!

    1. Michael Morse has done some good things with his bat. He has also done about the same number of bad things while playing LF. I've been searching 40 man rosters for OF's who might be acquirable in the offseason who can both hit and play defense. It's not a long list.

    2. What kind of LFer could Brandon Belt bring back in trade?

      I no longer think Starlin Marte is available - or ever was.

    3. Morse, albeit uncharacteristically healthy this year, has run up only 1.1 (r) or 1.2 (f) WAR, on a scale where the normal expectation for a starting position player is 2.0 for a season. We can hope that 2014 will be the last that we will see of him, congenial and hard-working though he seems to be. But DrB is right that finding someone predictably better might be hard, since Morse has outperformed such well-known OFs as Ethier, Swisher, Choo, and Beltran this year. Should we be grateful for small disfavors?

    4. Morse has been a solid pickup this year and I would welcome him back next year.

      It's the Giants lack of depth and the resulting overuse that has exposed him. The first two months, the Morse/Blanco LF platoon was great - Morse hit the dingers and Blanco provided the late inning defense. Pagan going down, moving Blanco to full-time CF (exposed again), and Colvin/Perez (exposed). Belt going down further exposed Morse to the full-time rigor of every day play. Morse hung in but wilted. With Pagan back, Ishi/Buster at 1B and Blanco back for late inning work, Morse is hitting better.

      If the Giants had invested in better depth Morse would not have been exposed this year.

    5. Oh man, Shark! I cannot disagree with you more. Just look at Morse's history. He's always run hot and cold. I also suspect there may have been a lingering injury involved, but I do not think his poor hitting in July had anything at all to do with depth and certainly his poor defense is a constant. You just don't notice it as much when he is hitting or until it leads to an obvious huge inning like it did yesterday.

      As for depth, that seems to be the theme du jour around the internets right now. I'd still like to know just who you think the Giants should/could have signed or traded for that would have given them more depth.

      As for next year, much as I would like an upgrade in LF, I just don't see anything out there that looks like it would be a significant upgrade. Morse, and his defensive flaws along with Blanco or some other defensive OF, might just be the best option available again.

  2. That was the worst loss of the season. The Rockies series is way back when, but that 6th inning was a very curious way to bleed out. If Bochy is so concerned with Vogey, he should have double switched it. Can't, Pagan is hurt. Expanded rosters will take care of the Beast's defensive issues most likely, and Bochy loves to stack pens more than any manager in the show, so he might get some good September help. But that won't help right now. And that loss sucked huge.

    This team has talent, but they just can't sustain or build any momentum. I think part of the issue is a lack of depth, which is something they talked heavy on and came in light on. Brain Trust has nobody to blame but themselves. Its kind of ironic that one of the best stories is Joe Panik after Sabean said he wasn't ready for the show. The other cast of characters have not been so stellar.

    With a lead, the Giants have to start thinking about LF defense. Bochy just seems asleep at the wheel. As does Sabean. I'm sure they believe in their guys, they're hoping like hell they'll catch fire... But if they don't? What's the plan after that? Don't know if anybody noticed that a Hairston put a finishing touch on that 6th inning meltdown...

    1. What players would you have acquired in the offseason for more depth than what they have?

      Who was going to play LF defense with Pagan on the bench? I don't really think it's fair to say Bochy is asleep at the wheel when the move you wanted wasn't available to him. Anyway, Morse was not the only guy out there standing and watching balls go by so I'm not sure replacing him with Blanco, say if Pagan was available, would have made all that much difference.