The San Francisco Giants played four games against the Philadelphia Phillies, and in every game they struck out at an abnormally high rate.
Essentially, the Giants were the blindfolded kid at the party trying to hit the moving pinata. Seldom, did they actually make contact with said pinata.
Thursday the Giants faced off against Vince Velasquez. Prior to that game Velasquez had a 9.8 K/9 rate. That is a lot of strikeouts per 9 innings. How could this number possibly go up, right?
Well, luck was on Velasquez’s side. Why is this good news for Velasquez? Because the Giants, as a team, are striking out an exceptionally high rate. They rank behind only the Padres and the Phillies in strikeouts in the National League.
Strikeouts are increasingly becoming an acceptable part of the game if it leads to more extra-base hits. This is a fair assumption.
And, the Giants appear to be hitting more home runs at least. They are 10th in the National League in home runs. This is much better than their totally inept offense from last season.
However, is being marginally better in the home run department worth all these strikeouts?
There are a few considerations to this question. The Giants are not an offensive juggernaut. They do not rely on the long ball to win ball games.
For years they focused on getting runners on base, and putting the ball in play to move them over. Nice strategy, huh? Well, they are not putting the ball in play anymore.
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The times are changing. And, so are the Giants. They are no longer the tough team to strike out. But, even more concerning, they are not walking much either.
In summation, the Giants are striking out more and not walking nearly enough. But, they are hitting enough home runs to not be last in this category. Perhaps, this leads to more runs.
But, right now, the team looked incapable of making adjustments against the Phillies pitchers. Also, where was Alonzo Powell when this was happening? Where is the coaching?
Back to the Phillies game. The match-up between Velasquez and the Giants seemed like a strikeout avalanche waiting to happen. And, unlike the NBA playoffs, this match-up did not disappoint.
Velasquez gave up two early home runs. However, he allowed few batters to reach base after those home runs.
He finished the game with 12 strike outs and the game even ended on a strike out, which should not have been surprising. Velasquez, like the rest of the Phillies pitchers, shut down the Giants. Hopefully, the strikeout trend comes to an end soon.