The San Francisco Giants couldn’t overcome a tight strike zone and missed opportunities as they took a 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
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Jeff Samardzija didn’t seem to have the feel for his pitches out of the windup, but gutted out 5+ innings and still gave his team an opportunity to win. He allowed eight hits and walked three, allowing three of the four Brewers runs and leaving with his team down 3-2. It was a mediocre start, but one that showed that he can toe the line without allowing the opposition to take control of the game. Giving this offense a chance is really all that they need.
That offense was able to get the lead off hitter on in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, but could only get one run out of all of those chances. This isn’t indicative of what this team can do, but the key to this team scoring runs is executing when a “baseball play” is needed (i.e. a sac fly, or a ground ball the other way to move the runner over.) Today, as was the case a few times in yesterday’s win, the Giants were unable to capitalize on some good opportunities.
On the flip side, the pitching staff lived on the edge by walking the lead off hitter four times. This creates such a stress on the inning and the defense, but the tight strike zone did play a part in the free passes.
Matt Duffy hit his second home run of the season, launching a shot to center field that traveled 424 feet, a personal best, and gave him his sixth RBI on the young season. Buster Posey also was credited with an RBI with on sacrifice fly in the sixth that plated Angel Pagan (who had a very good ballgame, going 2-4 and scoring twice out of the lead off spot.) Pence also got things going, having a 2-4 game himself.
As far as pace of play, you can add clocks to the mound visits as much as you want. But having a home plate umpire who refuses to call strikes on the corners is more of a problem to the length of games than a pitching coach going out to calm down his pitcher. This game went three hours, nineteen minutes due to the eleven combined walks by both teams. It’s not necessary for the home plate umpire to look for strikes. But once you establish that you aren’t calling anything on the corners, batters are going to be uber-patient, and therefore you get longer at bats, and longer games.
Tomorrow: The home opener is always a special time for Giants fans, but to add the element of playing the Los Angeles Dodgers is extra special. The start time is 1:35 pm and features Jake Peavy against lefty Alex Wood. The game will be available on CSN-BA and KNBR 680.