Moore blasted by Dodgers as Giants again fail to build on previous game

Moore blasted by Dodgers as Giants again fail to build on previous game

LOS ANGELES — Tuesday night’s game was the 100th since the 2016 All-Star break, when everything seemed to change for this organization. The Giants are 40-60 during that span, the worst record in baseball, so the night’s result certainly felt familiar. 

Matt Moore’s night felt familiar, too. 

The left-hander had another maddeningly inconsistent outing and there was no recovering. The Giants lost 13-5 and nine of the runs went on Moore’s line, tying a career-high. In his last start, Moore held the same Dodgers to one run over seven innings, and this all fits a pattern. Two of his starts have been brilliant, but in the other four he’s been charged with 23 runs in 17 1/3 innings. 

“It does get under my skin after a while,” he said. “In six starts, it’s been Jekyll and Hyde.”

Moore’s night matched his season in a way. He needed just six pitches to get through the first, but the second was a 39-pitch disaster. The Giants led 4-0 at the time, but Moore was taken deep on an 0-2 pitch to Franklin Gutierrez. Chris Taylor walked on four pitches. Yasiel Puig singled. Austin Barnes walked on four pitches to load the bases. 

“Matty is so good, but occasionally he does have these moments,” manager Bruce Bochy said of his left-hander’s propensity for four-pitch passes. 

The moment would only get worse. Moore was on his way to another free pass to Cody Bellinger, but the young rookie had other ideas. With the pitcher due up next, Bellinger loaded up on a 2-0 fastball and pulled it so far foul that it landed in the upper deck. He straightened it out on the next pitch, driving a bases-clearing triple into left. Alex Wood, the opposing left-hander, singled Bellinger home. A double and sacrifice fly made it 6-4 as the bullpen got hot. 

“Not going right after Taylor there, that was probably the mistake that wound up compounding it with the big inning,” Moore said. “Today it was about attacking, but before I knew it there were runners on first and second with no outs. Regardless of the Gutierrez at-bat, you’ve got to be able to make pitches. My off-speed stuff was up in the zone. Barnes hit a changeup hard. The breaking stuff was in and out of the zone. It was an immediate feeling right after the game of feeling I had so much more than that.”

Bochy wrung another four outs out of Moore before turning it over to a bullpen without a long man. The Dodgers kept pulling away, giving the Giants plenty of time to contemplate the night and the missed opportunity. Wood was not particularly good on the other side, but it didn’t matter. A night after beating Clayton Kershaw, any hopes of momentum died a quick death.

The Giants have played 28 games and won 10 of them. Only once have they taken back-to-back games, and the numbers say it’s not really a fluke. They have been outscored by 40 runs, the worst differential in the Majors. 

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”