Logan Webb tried to explain it as best he could.
Webb used the word “complacent” and cited a lack of fire to compete to describe the 2022 San Francisco Giants after Tuesday’s loss to the San Diego Padres. It was pure frustration that had been stored between Webb’s two ears for much of the year.
After a 107-win season in 2021, and a hot start to 2022, Webb’s comments reflect how high expectations had been raised, and how far short this squad has fallen. San Francisco tried to once again change the narrative about their willpower by avoiding a sweep against the Padres Wednesday afternoon, but they couldn’t hang on in a 5-4 loss at Oracle Park.
The Giants have now lost seven games in a row and 11 of their last 13. They have now been swept at Oracle Park by the Padres twice this season. The last time San Diego brought out the brooms for two consecutive sweeps was back in 1995 and 1996 – an era where Candlestick Park still existed as the home of the Giants.
San Francisco played Wednesday in a style that mirrored exactly what Webb was hoping would change, looking completely overmatched against San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove and sharing displeasure with the umpires on a few different occasions.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler noted the high stress levels:
You play below-par baseball for a really long time. Tempers are going to flare up, people are gonna be pissed off, stress levels are going to be high, patience is going to be low. I don’t think that requires much of an explanation. It’s totally obvious.”
Brandon Crawford was ejected after returning to the field in the bottom of the second and arguing with third base umpire Ryan Blakney, who had called Crawford out on a check-swing in the home half of the frame. Crawford swatted his hand in disgust of the call and stared down Blakney on his way back to Giants dugout.
When the inning ended, Crawford’s path to take the field for defense went right through Blakney and the two shared words. After a mildly animated conversation, Blakney had heard enough and enthusiastically threw Crawford out of the game while the San Francisco shortstop had his back turned.
Kapler thought Crawford should have more leeway, given his veteran status:
“I think he’s one of the more in-control individuals that I’ve been around. He very rarely says anything to the umpires, I was actually surprised that that even happened. He was vocal in the dugout but I think he probably remained vocal out on the field. My feeling in those situations is umpires know Brandon Crawford for a really long time. I think it’s good to have a little grace there and give a guy who rarely barks – he doesn’t complain – a little extra rope. I didn’t think that it was necessary, and obviously I didn’t hear the entire interaction. I wasn’t out there for it. My personal take on it is I know how he talks and my bet is that he didn’t do anything super egregious.”
Crawford agreed with Kapler’s sentiment:
“I was surprised. Basically, I wanted to talk to him about the check-swing. Obviously I didn’t agree with that. I brought up a call last night that he really didn’t want to talk about and I still wanted to, so he made sure that we didn’t talk about it anymore.”
It was Crawford’s third career ejection – he was previously tossed in 2012 and 2018, both of which carry incredible humor.
Before his first ejection in 2012, Crawford was incorrectly called out by first base umpire Jordan Baker for missing first base on a double. As soft-spoken as they come, Crawford – then a second-year big leaguer – stomped on the bag after a groundout later in the game, exaggerating that he did, indeed, step on the bag. He was immediately given the “heave-ho.”
In 2018, Crawford struck out on a questionable 3-2 pitch well below the knees. Assuming he had walked, he left the bat on the ground as began his stroll to first base before home plate umpire Chris Segal punched him out. Segal told him repeatedly to pick it up as he walked back to the dugout. When Crawford ignored the direction, Segal sent him to the showers early.
It wasn’t just Crawford that delivered an angry reaction to umpires. Left fielder Joc Pederson was barking with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson in the fifth after Johnson called him out on a borderline pitch on the outside corner. Kapler, who was clearly fed up with Johnson just a few innings prior when Wilmer Flores took a close pitch for strike three, had to restrain his veteran outfielder.
It was just that kind of day, and Musgrove’s success didn’t make it any easier. In three starts previous against the Giants this season, the right-hander completed seven innings while allowing just one earned run in 21 innings. On Wednesday, he had the strikeout pitch working for him, registering 11 while allowing just three hits and three late-game earned runs.
The minimal damage came in the sixth when Luis Gonzalez drew a one-out walk and scored from first on an RBI double down the left field line from catcher Austin Wynns. Musgrove started to wear out in the seventh when he allowed two earned runs, including an RBI single off the bat of Gonzalez to make it 5-3.
Pederson contributed with an RBI single in the eighth, scoring pinch-hitter Evan Longoria from second to make it 5-4.
Giants starter Alex Wood fired three scoreless frames before San Diego cashed in for one run in the fourth and three in the fifth. The left-hander couldn’t escape the fifth inning and was pulled in a 2-0 game with the bases loaded and Manny Machado at the plate. Reliever Zack Littell fired a fastball right over the middle of the plate that Machado pounded into right-center – the deep part of the ballpark – and it bounced over the wall for an automatic double. Two runs scored, making it 5-0.
Wood commented on the current skid:
Overall, just most things when things aren’t going well across the board – just the little things that happen when you’re winning – they don’t happen when you’re on a bad streak like we are.”
Wood’s final line: 4-2/3 innings, five hits, four earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts. His earned run average sits at 5.10, the second-highest in the National League to Washington’s Patrick Corbin (6.56).
Things need to change, Wood says:
It’s just been really hard to get the good times rolling. It seems like we have a bad game or two and that becomes way more contagious than when we have a good 2-3 games in a row – or 2-3 wins in a row. And being able to build off that, it’s like you take one step forward and two steps back, (that’s) kind of how it’s felt.”
The Giants have an off day in San Francisco before welcoming the Phillies for a three-game set beginning Friday. Alex Cobb (4-6, 3.81 ERA) will start Game 1 against veteran righty Kyle Gibson (9-5, 4.08 ERA).
Outfielder Austin Slater suffered a fractured left pinky finger on Tuesday evening after sliding into second base headfirst. Kapler said he’s feeling better and there is less swelling. He was available to play defense and run on Tuesday, but the Giants are waiting for MRI results to determine whether or not Slater needs a stint on the injured list. … Catcher Andrew Knapp’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Sacramento prior to Wednesday’s game. In a corresponding move, Yermin Mercedes was optioned to Triple-A and left-hander Andrew Vazquez was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. … The Giants and Padres announced they will play a two-game series in Mexico City next season as part of the MLB World Tour. It’s set to be the first-ever international regular season game the Giants have ever played. The series will be played at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu on April 29-30. The Padres will be the home team.
Steven Rissotto has covered the San Francisco Giants for SFBay since 2021. He is the host of RizzoCast, a baseball interview show featuring players, coaches, media and fans. He attends San Francisco State University and will major in Journalism and minor in education.