Ty Blach held a 1.67 ERA on the AT&T mound this season heading into Tuesday’s game. Breaking that down into some number soup, that’s seven runs in 33.2 innings. Hitters, from both sides of the plate, managing a .190 average off the lefty.
Those eight runs came in three gruesome, tedious series of punches that drowned an early 1-0 lead. Put the ball in play, every manager will say, and good things happen.
They first (29-34) loaded the bases in the third on three should-be outs: Alcides Escobar‘s dribbler escaped Brandon Belt‘s glove. Alex Gordon‘s pop up escaped Aaron Hill‘s glove and pitcher Jason Vargas earned an average with a bunt single into no man’s land to load the bases and Jorge Bonifacio strung a single up the middle to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
They’d load the bases twice and clear them twice — Cory Gearrin couldn’t hold them juiced once Blach departed — in a six-run BABIP frenzy highlighted by Escobar’s chalk-hugging, two-run double and Whit Merrifield‘s triple that fell a foot away from a diving Hunter Pence‘s glove.
Blach (L, 4-4, 4.24 ERA) lasted 5-2/3 and was tagged with 10 hits, the pitcher looked frustrated after the game, dragged down by some bad luck:
“Couple of bad balls and I didn’t make pitches when I needed to. It humbles you pretty quickly.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said he couldn’t believe Blach was giving up runs given the way he was pitching:
“They placed the ball out of reach three, four times there. … His numbers weren’t indicative of the stuff he had tonight.”
Blach tossed his typical game despite the bad luck. His fastball command, changeup, were stellar, said Bochy:
“You can’t sit on one pitch with him because he’s got changing speeds.”
While the Royals exceeded expectations with the bat — they top just the Giants in total bases, and join them in the cellar of every major hitting category — San Francisco crashed back to reality, ripped to shreds by yet another buzzsaw on the mound.
Vargas (W, 9-3, 2.10 ERA) struck out six Giants and allowed five hits in seven innings. Some of the hot bats from Sunday’s spectacle carried over; Austin Slater and Buster Posey collected two hits apiece. Posey’s leadoff double in the second amounted to the Giants’ only run, scored on a productive out and sacrifice fly from Brandon Crawford.
It was the second time in three games that the Giants have faced a starter boasting an ERA among the league’s top five. Vargas’ 2.10 is second-best in behind Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel (1.67). Still, the Giants found themselves sputtering for a 10th time in 14 games. They’re 14.5 games behind first in the NL West. Bochy and his squad are still taking game-by-game:
“It’s one of those nights. It’s baseball.”
Hunter Strickland had his appeal hearing Monday and said it went well. The MLB’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre was present via Skype, Strickland said, as he broke down the video and reviewed precedent with the players’ union lawyers at his side.
The hearing lasted two hours, or at least, “it felt like it,” Strickland said. The league said it would send down their decision sometime soon. Bruce Bochy said he’d like to hear sooner than later before they head to Colorado. No moves need to be made, though. The team will travel with seven relievers when Strickland is handed his suspension.