SF Giants lose series to Padres, playoff gap grows to season-high

SF Giants lose series to Padres, playoff gap grows to season-high

By Evan Webeck

SAN DIEGO — The Giants came here with a much-needed chance to make up ground in their playoff push. A sweep one way could have pulled them within 3.5 games of the Padres and the final National League wild card spot. The other direction would have sent them 9.5 games back and maybe put an official end to their postseason hopes.

Ultimately, with a back-and-forth 13-7 loss Wednesday afternoon, they pushed. By dropping the last two contests of this three-game series, the Giants fell one game further back than where they started, a season-high 7.5 games separating them from playoff position with 51 left to play.

“Obviously, if you can come in and sweep a team like the Padres on the road, then that puts you in a good position,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s an ask that we’re capable of, but it’s probably not the most likely scenario in any given series to go on the road against a very, very good team and come out with three victories. It’s not good enough and we’re not happy with the results here in San Diego, but we’re going to keep fighting coming out of the off day.”

After Wednesday’s loss, the Giants’ playoff odds, according to FanGraphs, dipped below 3% for the first time this season.

While the Padres loaded up at the trade deadline, the Giants stood pat. They didn’t upgrade their rotation. They did nothing to improve their defense. And they added no bullpen reinforcements.

All three areas came back to bite them in the series finale, a game which they led twice but immediately blew with poor pitching and defensive miscues in the bottom half of each inning.

After taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, Giants starter Jakob Junis allowed seven straight batters to reach and four runs to score before he recorded an out in the bottom half. After rallying for a 7-6 advantage in the top of the sixth, relievers Yunior Marte and Jarlín García combined to allow seven straight two-out hits that led to seven runs.

The Giants could have escaped the sixth with only a 10-7 deficit, but after Trent Grisham beat out an infield single for their fifth straight hit, Brandon Belt overthrew catcher Austin Wynns, allowing Ha-Seong Kim to score before nine-hole-hitting catcher Austin Nola swatted the Padres’ second home run of the inning on the following at-bat.

“We’d like to be able to continue to answer back,” Kapler said. “It gets tougher as those numbers get more and more crooked, bigger and bigger and it becomes more challenging to come from behind.”

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 10: Jarlin Garcia #66 of the San Francisco Giants looks on after allowing a two-run homerun to Austin Nola #26 of the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on August 10, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Aside from the nightmare sixth, the Giants appeared to somewhat solve their defensive issues this series — Luis González provided another highlight Wednesday with a leaping grab in left field to rob Manny Machado of extra bases — but more concerns rose out of those ashes.

First and foremost must be Junis, who on Wednesday started his fourth game since returning from the injured list and has yet to find the same form. Part of the reason the Giants didn’t add starting pitching at the trade deadline — even shipping away depth in Matthew Boyd — was the emergence of Junis.

“We talked about how we really like our rotation,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said at the time. “That wasn’t necessarily going to be an area to add for us. … We have one of the best rotations in baseball now that Jake Junis is back and throwing well.”

Problem is, Junis isn’t throwing well and hasn’t since returning from the IL. His velocity is up and he doesn’t know why, but he does know that it’s making his slider a less effective pitch. Junis, who relies on the slider more than any other starter in the majors, admitted he hasn’t regained a feel for the pitch since his IL stint.

The break and speed of the slider have changed to such a degree that eight of his offerings Wednesday were classified by Statcast as cutters. Junis confirmed he does not throw a cutter.

“Those are just sliders,” Junis said. “I’m trying to get on (them) and throw hard and get them to break. They’re just shorter, tighter and not breaking as much. … I don’t exactly know why.”

In his worst outing of the season Wednesday, Junis allowed nearly as many runs (six) as he recorded outs (seven). In five appearances (four starts) since returning from the IL, Junis has a 7.16 ERA, compared to the sterling 2.63 figure he posted before straining his hamstring on June 10.

For only the eighth time in 44 games scoring at least five runs, the Giants lost.

As a whole, Giants starters have a 5.83 ERA this month, the third-worst mark in the majors for August.

The bullpen, which gave up seven more runs Wednesday, entered the day with the ninth-worst ERA in the majors this month.

Source: Paradise Post

Latest News