The San Francisco Giants gained a Brandon on Friday only to quickly lose another on Saturday.
Just when the team inches toward recovery, they are forced to take a step back. Brandon Belt was diagnosed with a concussion before today’s game, probably induced after a collision with Ivan De Jesus‘ knee four days ago, suddenly opening up questions at first base.
Buster Posey got a much needed ‘day off’ taking over at first base Saturday, making way for Trevor Brown‘s MLB debut at catcher. The Giants (77-71) have Nick Noonan waiting on the edge of the bench for another start at first, but Brown hopes that he’s made a case for more starts behind the dish:
“No idea, hopefully I can get as much time out there as I can.”
Brown sounded confident after the game and looked pretty comfortable behind the dish in the Giants’ 6-0 loss to the Diamondbacks (71-77) on Saturday afternoon.
His post game demeanor wasn’t too far off of what most rookies give off; in awe of the crowd, secured by helpful words from veterans like Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy and Buster Posey regarding the opposition, and weirdly calm as he took his post behind the dish and went to bat.
Brown went 0-for-3, but got a good chunk of the ball off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin (W, 6-4, 2.99 ERA) for a hard out:
“As soon as I saw it I felt good then I looked up and saw him right there and was like ‘awwff!'”
The team has grown accustomed to scraping the bench for a flicker of offensive production, as Bruce Bochy‘s lineup did against the Padres and Reds, outscoring both teams 45-19.
But when those Diamondbacks get to San Francisco, they flip some kind of indestructible switch — the Giants have now been shut out five times by the Diamondbacks on their own turf, and twice in the past 48 hours.
Bruce Bochy was baffled:
“I wish I could explain it. I’m buffaloed to be honest. There’s no rhyme or reason, I think we’ve scored three runs at home against these guys. No reason why they’re doing this. They just can’t get it going… I’m a little stunned by it to be honest.”
The frustration is mounting in the Giants clubhouse; the usually calm, cool and collected Giants can’t keep the playoffs in sight much longer. The seam perhaps broke last night when Madison Bumgarner, riding a seven-game home winning streak, couldn’t get a single run of support in an otherwise stellar outing.
Mike Leake (L, 10-9, 3.81 ERA) would serve up another opportunity. He held the Padres to three runs in six innings and the Giants answered with 10 to top them last week. Saturday he only lasted three innings — his shortest outing since 2013 — giving up three runs on eight hits:
“I just couldn’t get it going. They got me early and I just couldn’t react fast enough.”
The Diamondbacks were relentless. A.J. Pollock extended his hitting streak to eight games in his first at bat, cracking a leadoff double. David Peralta got him home on a one-out RBI single to get the Backs on the board in the first.
Leake’s meltdown proved a prime opportunity to get some idle relievers into the mix, said Bochy:
“We’ve had so many guys that haven’t thrown, I could cover for him…It was evident he wasn’t on top of his game.”
Matt Cain made his first relief appearance since a 2006 game against Houston, giving up his first run as a reliever. He walked Pollock to start the inning, who stole second, took third on a bad throw by Brown to third and scored on an Inciarte RBI double. Cain struck out the final two batters to end the inning, said Bochy of the outing:
“He was probably chipping a little rust off, it’s been awhile since he’s been out there, but he had good stuff. If he hadn’t thrown 30+ innings I would have let him throw another inning.”
The Giants managed seven hits, reached scoring position three times, but couldn’t get one home. Crawford, Mr. Cool, hurled his bat and helmet after a strike out. That moment, if anything, signaled the beginning of the end.