Spiraling Giants sink deeper as Mets sweep

Joe Panik drew a leadoff walk and Hunter Pence singled through the left field gap, setting up a rare scoring opportunity for Buster Posey. The Sunday crowd felt they had something to cheer for, down four runs in the sixth inning.

Posey flicked a 3-2 pop up over first base with runners going. Posey is a contact guy, so early movement could produce lesser chance of a double play, right?

Instead, Panik was doubled off second base; it was this Giants’ season captured in a moment.

The Mets (34-41) swept the series with an 8-2 win Sunday afternoon. The Giants (27-51) have lost 12 of their last 13 games, a feat not accomplished since 1992.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

A play may crystalize the scene, but like most games this season, this loss can just about be summed up in a few sentences. Starter Matt Moore (L, 3-8, 6.04 ERA) was off and dug the lineup behind him into an offensive hole out of which they could only dream of climbing. The bullpen gave up a few runs to turn yet another loss into a runaway.

Bruce Bochy somewhat candidly explained that this has been toughest stretch he’s experienced as a manager and said he spoke with a few players before today’s game with a message:

“Enough is enough. At this point, we have to turn this around.”

The historically bad season has a simple explanation, said Buster Posey:

“It’s not complicated. We just have to pitch better, we have to play better defense and we have to swing the bats better. A lot of times when you’re clicking, whether its defensively offensively or pitching, it seems they feed of each other. So yeah, we have to get it going. It’s not good.”

Getting swept by the white-flagging Mets has to be on the Giants’ lost season bingo card. What’s worse: no game in this series was particularly close save for Johnny Cueto‘s stifling seven inning outing Saturday night.

The general ‘not good’ label could be broken down a bit today and, for Moore, by start. He abandoned his cutter Sunday, relying on his four seamer to get himself back into a rhythm. The change forced him into costly mistakes; he missed over the middle. Rene Rivera knocked two home runs off him and the Mets scored in four of the five innings he pitched. Said Bochy:

“I think his stuff is fine, he just couldn’t get the ball where he wanted.”

Moore hasn’t won a home game since May 13 against the Cincinnati Reds and he Giants haven’t won a home game since June 11.

Rafael Montero (W, 1-4, 5.63 ERA) got his first win since 2014 (his only previous one), making the Giants look just as hopeless as they did against Jacob deGrom.

Their only run against Montero came on Posey’s bases-loaded sac fly. The catcher spiked his helmet in disgust when Jay Bruce tracked down the fly ball — two of his team’s five total hits against Montero would go mostly spoiled. The Giants couldn’t grind out a bunch of sac flies and productive ground-outs and they sank into a 2-for-9 average with RISP–Posey knocked in both runs on outs. No pitching, no hitting. The check marks are there, said Bochy:

“We’re not doing enough damage. A base hit and we’re right there.”

One more check on the quintessential Giants loss had to be marked: Bruce and Curtis Granderson knocked a pair out of the park against Josh Osich and Hunter Strickland — back from his suspension — making it a four-home run game for the Mets.

Giants relievers have coughed up 4.58 ERA this season, 23rd worst in the bigs. The Giants bullpen ERA did not exceed 3.50 from the 2010 to 2015 seasons, and often held top ranks. Starters hold a 4.88 ERA and have given up 74 home runs.

The Giants offense is rarely capable of stitching together late comebacks, early rallies, crooked numbers, any sort of spectacle on the base paths, really. But given the pitching numbers, nearly every offensive effort — half-baked or full — is dead on arrival.

Up next

The Colorado Rockies are coming to town. The Giants beat the Rockies once this year, but they’re sending the hottest pitcher on the team, Jeff Samardzija, to the mound against German Marquez Monday night.

Notes

Madison Bumgarner took swings off a tee and pitched three innings for the Giants affiliate in Arizona today. If all goes well, he will start his rehab assignment. … Austin Slater left the game with a tight hip flexor on his right side. Bochy said after the game he’d get an MRI, no updates until tomorrow…Ryder Jones still does not have a batting average, but he did commit a big error on a potential double play. The Mets did not capitalize, luckily for Jones.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.