The home stretch has commenced.
The San Francisco Giants (25-25) traveled across the Bay Bridge to face the Oakland Athletics (32-19) for the final series with their cross-town rivals this season. Logan Webb took the mound for the Giants against A’s righty Chris Bassitt.
There wasn’t much to highlight from the Giants in this game. A rough outing from Webb (L, 3-1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) and a quiet night from the offense sent the Giants home with a 6-0 shutout loss in game one of a three-game series.
This is a big series for the Giants, who have had a lot of success against subpar teams as of late. They struggled against the San Diego Padres last week, and they face another playoff team in the A’s.
The Giants went down quietly in the top of the first against Bassitt. Webb has been susceptible to long innings all season long, and he ran into some trouble in the bottom of the first.
Marcus Semien walked with one out in the inning. Mark Canha reached on a fielder’s choice by Donovan Solano that failed to record an out. Two batters later, Jake Lamb knocked in the A’s first run on a single to right field, scoring Semien. The A’s led the Giants 1-0.
After the game, Giants manager Gabe Kapler discussed his starting pitchers rough outing, and the unique example he uses to instill the right mindset in his young pitcher:
“[Logan Webb] and i just got finished with a conversation. I think the main goal for [Logan] is to get his focus external and just compete. I think there are some mechanical things that are going on in his head. He’s thinking about those things and we talked about taking the approach where you’re playing wiffle-ball out in the backyard and you’re just out there competing with somebody that you’re playing with and it loosens you up quite a bit. The focus of the time between tonight and Logan’s next start is going to be about shifting the focus external to compete.”
Webb is also prone to that one inning that gets away from him, where opposing teams do most of their damage. That was the bottom of the third.
The Giants offense didn’t really have an answer for Bassitt, only one runner reached base through four innings, a double from Brandon Crawford.
Webb was hit hard by the A’s. In the bottom of the fourth, he surrendered two hits with a runner on first. La Stella and Semien singled, scoring two runs off three straight hits.
Andrew Suarez replaced Webb in the fourth after a 90-pitch, six-run outing from the Giants rookie.
Webb talked about some of his frustrating starts, including Friday’s, and how he feels bad for making the bullpen work harder when he takes the mound:
“I dont think there was added pressure, i want to do that every time. I feel like lately the bullpen has been worn out, especially some of the times i’ve been pitching. I feel like shit about that. I feel like i keep saying this, i just gotta be better and give the team more innings and put our team in a better position to win, and i really haven’t been doing that. It sucks and its frustrating, i can’t dwell on that and i just got to get back to work and just flush it out of my head.”
Fast-forward to the sixth inning. Suarez had done a nice job in relief, throwing 2-2/3 innings without allowing a run or a hit to an A’s lineup that clobbered Webb.
Shaun Anderson replaced Suarez in the bottom of the seventh inning. A 1-2-3 inning sent this game to the eighth. The Giants were held scoreless with only six outs remaining.
The Giants offense could only muster three hits through eight innings. Caleb Baragar pitched the bottom half of the eighth. An eight-pitch inning sent this game to the ninth.
Evan Longoria walked to lead off the top of the ninth inning. The next three batters were retired, ending an abysmal night for the Giants offense.
If the Giants are to claim a playoff spot at the end of the year, they cannot afford to play like they did Friday night. Giants catcher Joey Bart discussed the team’s mindset heading into the final stretch:
“I just think we need to go have fun and play the game, and not worry about how many games are left, not worry about the playoffs. Just go out there and play as hard as we can, and try and win every game. Not to get too nervous, too tight, just have fun, play the game hard, and i think if we do that, everything will take care of itself.”
- Mike Yastrzemski was removed from Thursday’s game with an injury. Overall it was good news. The Giants will need their best player, an MVP candidate down the stretch.