Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season


SAN FRANCISCO — The promotion of an intriguing prospect can bring a certain buzz to the ballpark. It didn’t last long. 

The debut of Ryder Jones came in the latest flat performance from the Giants, who collapsed late and fell 5-2 to the Mets. The loss was their 50th of the season. They did not lose their 50th game last season until August 12. 

With the score tied in the eighth, Curtis Granderson crushed a leadoff triple into the alley. Sam Dyson walked the next batter and then whiffed Yoenis Cespedes, but Jay Bruce greeted Steven Okert with an RBI single to right. It kept going poorly from there. 

Here are five things to know from a cool day by the water … 

—- Jones grounded out to second in his first at-bat and then flied out to center, grounded out to first, and grounded out to second. He had one chance in the field, starting a double play that ended the second inning.  

—- Johnny Cueto seems to have turned a corner. Over his past two starts, he has allowed just three earned runs over 14 innings. Whether they trade him or not, the Giants certainly could use a nice little hot streak for the next six weeks. 

—- A few seconds after Bruce Bochy shook Cueto’s hand, Brandon Belt got him off the hook for a loss. He hit the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh into the seats in left-center, tying the game. The homer was Belt’s 14th. He’s on pace for 29. 

—- The Mets got eight one-run innings out of Jacob deGrom, who is quietly the most reliable of a star-studded rotation. He struck out seven and gave up just four hits. 

—- If Madison Bumgarner wants another Silver Slugger Award, he’ll have to chase down deGrom, who hit a homer in his last start. His single in the third was his 10th hit, and he finished the day with a .294 average.

Giants lineup: Bochy moves struggling Belt down in the order

Giants lineup: Bochy moves struggling Belt down in the order

As Brandon Belt's rough season at the plate continues, Bruce Bochy has decided to slate him lower in the lineup Sunday vs. the Rockies.

San Francisco Giants (26-44)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Austin Slater (R) LF
7. Aaron Hill (R) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) RF
9. Ty Blach (R) P

Colorado Rockies (45-26)

1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Carlos Gonzalez (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tom Murphy (R) C
9. Tyler Chatwood (R) P

Giants lose once again as big bats continue to struggle

Giants lose once again as big bats continue to struggle

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a long post-game session with reporters, Jeff Samardzija said everyone needs to do more. He included the starting pitchers in his accounting. 

“We can win games 2-1,” he pointed out.

It was nice of Samardzija not to throw teammates under the bus, but the Giants don’t need to win games 2-1. Winning 4-3 is not asking a lot, but the Giants once again failed to hit that mark. They lost 3-2 to the Twins, failing to hit the low three-run mark for the 14th time in 29 home games. At AT&T Park, they are averaging 3.07 runs per game this season. 

Manager Bruce Bochy has clearly seen enough. He rubbed his hand through his hair as he sat down on the podium 10 minutes after the final out, and there was an edge to his voice at times. He seemed annoyed, more than anything. 

“We’ve talked about the need to score four runs,” he said. “We have a hard time doing that here at home. I wish I could put my finger on it. It’s not going to happen until our guys who normally do what they’re good at come around and drive in these runs. You still believe that they will, but right now it’s a challenge for us, and it’s unfortunate because we’ve had a lot of quality starts. We just can’t score enough runs for these guys.”

Samardzija got two runs of support and took his eighth loss because of two Twins homers. He was pitching with no margin for error because the Giants failed to cash in on an early opportunity against Jose Berrios. A double and two walks loaded the bases in the third, but Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence struck out. Both players struck out three times on the day, Crawford’s average dropping to .247 and Pence’s to .228. 

“It’s obvious they’re not seeing the ball right now, either one,” Bochy said. “That makes it tough, when you’re in the heart of the order and you have a couple of guys struggling, that makes it tough to score runs. Those are the guys you lean on. The third inning, that’s the difference in the game.” 

“We couldn’t cash in and take advantage of those things. That’s probably going to come back to haunt you, which it did today.”

Saturday’s story was familiar, and not just because the Giants lost and looked flat while doing so. Once again, they couldn’t get more than a player or two going. That’s been the story all year. On Saturday it was Brandon Belt who led the charge, with a homer in the first and a single and walk later on. Belt, hitting third, needed help from the guys behind him. It wasn’t there, and it hasn’t been. 

Crawford’s OPS is down nearly 100 points from last year. Pence is down to .579, after years of regularly posting an OPS over .800. Joe Panik is down 127 points from two years ago. Belt has 11 homers, but his OPS of .796 is 19 points below his career average. Denard Span (.712) is also well below his previous numbers. 

“There’s a dramatic difference right now for some of these guys,” Bochy said. “That’s part of our issue and that’s why we are where we are.”

While the other regulars have at times looked poised to bust out, Pence’s slump has lasted just about the entire season. He was struggling before he went on the DL with a hamstring strain, and he is 3 for 22 in seven games since returning. Bochy said “it’s evident he’s not seeing the ball well.”

“I’m not hitting the ball well and not having good pitch selection, so you could say that,” Pence said. “At this moment I don’t feel that good, but it could change at any moment.”

The Giants have no shot if it doesn’t, for Pence and others. They believe they’re healthy enough and putting in the proper work. It’s just not leading to anything new. 

“You’ve got to keep plugging away,” Pence said. “If I knew the answer, I’d be doing it.”

--- If you need a different tase in your mouth, I chatted with old friend Chris Heston today. You can listen to the podcast here.