SF Giants drop series to Seattle Mariners in underwhelming 4-0 loss

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Logan Webb #62 of the SF Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at T-Mobile Park on April 03, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 03: Logan Webb #62 of the SF Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at T-Mobile Park on April 03, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
SF Giants, Brandon Crawford
Apr 3, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; SF Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) fields a ground ball against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at T-Mobile Park. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) /

0(1-2). 40. W: Chris Flexen (1-0). 4(2-1). 62. . HR: Ty France (1), Mitch Haniger (1). L: Logan Webb (0-1)

* first scoreless game of the season

The SF Giants fell in a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, dropping their first rubber match of the season. San Francisco’s pitching staff kept the team within striking distance, but Seattle’s pitching kept the Giants offense at bay, racking up 12 strikeouts while inducing some timely double plays.

Logan Webb took the mound for the Giants on Saturday to mixed results. He induced 12 swinging strikes, a tally he’s only matched in two of his 21 career big-league appearances, but also replicated some concerning trends from last season. Out of the bullpen, Matt Wisler and Jose Alvarez bounced back from their disastrous Opening Day performances while Reyes Moronta allowed a solo home run in his first appearance of the season.

SF Giants drop series to Seattle Mariners in 4-0 loss

Webb was easily the most dominant Giants pitcher of the preseason. After refining his changeup and working to finetune his command this offseason, Webb struck out 22 and allowed just one run in 17 spring training innings. Webb is the only player currently in the Giants rotation under team control beyond this season. If he could emerge as a foundational piece, it might be the most important development of the season.

In his first inning of work, Webb immediately fell into hot water. Seattle’s leadoff hitter, Mitch Haniger, squeezed a groundball down the right-field line for a double. Two batters later, Kyle Seager beat out an infield single on one of the softest hit balls of the day. With runners on the corners and just one out, Webb was at risk of unraveling early. Instead, he struck out the next two hitters and got out of the inning unscathed.

Webb looked to have command of his changeup early, but as the game wore on, he struggled to keep it low in the zone. Mariners’ second baseman Ty France put Seattle on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the third off a hanger. As Webb’s changeup continued floating over the middle of the plate, Evan White, Taylor Trammell, and Dylan Moore blasted three consecutive doubles in the bottom of the fourth to stretch Seattle’s lead to three.

It was far from a dominant outing, but Webb showed an improved ability to limit his pitch count and work through adversity. There were impressive flashes throughout 2019 and 2020, but Webb always seemed on the brink of falling apart. However, plenty did not go right for the 24-year-old on Saturday, but he limited the damage, allowing just 3 runs across 5.1 innings of work. The Giants obviously have higher expectations for him going forward, but showing he could keep a game close even without his best stuff was a good sign.

On the other side of the ball, Donovan Solano was the only Giant who recorded multiple hits, maintaining his .500 batting average through the first series of the season. Otherwise, the offense struggled to string hits together against any Mariners pitcher. The Giants hitters made their fair share of hard contact and worked a  pair of walks off of starting pitcher Chris Flexen, but he worked around the baserunners well. He finished the day with six strikeouts across five shutout innings.

While Seattle’s bullpen has some serious questions, it did not look like it on Saturday. Kendall Graveman was dominant, recording five strikeouts across two innings, while closer Rafael Montero locked down an easy 1-2-3 ninth inning. Aside from a couple of hits off of Anthony Misiewicz in the top of the eighth, the Giants never threatened to score after Flexen was removed.

Next. 2021 SF Giants Season: 5 Bold Predictions

Considering the heartbreaking loss on Opening Day, the SF Giants will be disappointed to lose their first series of the season. Now just 1-2 on the year, they will have a rare Sunday off tomorrow. Then, on Monday, they will start a three-game series in San Diego against the Padres.