Giants continue bizarre trend of falling flat after offense-filled wins

Giants continue bizarre trend of falling flat after offense-filled wins

SAN FRANCISCO — Ty Blach was sitting at his locker when the clubhouse opened Tuesday, his eyes focused on a spot a few feet in front of him. When reporters asked him about a tough-luck night, Blach said it’s just one of those things.

“You’ve got to flush it,” he said. 

Unfortunately for the Giants, they’ve made a habit of flushing the wrong results. An 8-1 loss to the Royals on Tuesday continued a remarkable and baffling stretch. The Giants have scored 46 runs in their past five wins. In the five games that followed those wins, they have scored a total — TOTAL — of six runs. 

Sure, they faced one of the American League’s hottest starters — Jason Vargas — but this run of ineptitude includes all comers. They have lost to Ervin Santana and Tanner Roark in those five games, but also to Ben Lively and Tyler Anderson. 

The Giants scored 13 runs on Sunday and came back 48 hours later with a familiar performance. Blach was on the wrong end of this one, getting charged with seven earned on a night he was BABIPed to death. The Royals placed a few balls well, took advantage of some sloppy San Francisco defense, and came up with hard-hit balls when needed. 

“That’s hard to believe he gave up those runs,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Blach’s line. “They placed the ball just out of reach three to four times. It’s a shame because Ty threw the ball well.”

Blach said he would try to shake it off. He does not believe there’s a book out on him. It was just a weird night. 

“This game can humble you in a hurry,” he said. 

--- An opinion on those “cheap” hits. The Giants have given up a lot of flares in recent weeks, but watching day in and day out, it sure seems like a fair amount of that can be placed on the players in the field. Two of the singles in the two-run third should have been outs, and that’s on infielders. Hunter Pence couldn’t quite come up with a three-run triple. 

The new advanced defense metrics are great, but sometimes you don’t need them. Watching this team every night it’s pretty clear, the defense is a step slower than it was a year ago, and that’s responsible for a lot of these balls that are dropping in. 

--- Let’s take a minute to talk about inherited runners. Cory Gearrin entered with the bases loaded and got a fly ball to deep right that could have been an out. It went for a triple. There was some bad luck involved there, but the result is part of an uglier trend. The Giants bullpen has allowed 37 percent of inherited runner to score, third-worst in the majors. It’s particularly glaring because of how much of an emphasis that has been in recent years. The bullpen led the majors each of the last two seasons, allowing just 22 percent of inherited runner to score last season and 21 percent in 2015. 

Gearrin has allowed 12 of 19 inherited runner to score, putting him in a tie for second. Heath Hembree, who could have been part of this bullpen, has cashed in a major league-leading 13 of 23 inherited runners.

--- The math is the math. The Giants are now 14 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and Rockies and 14 games behind the Diamondbacks. When the draft is over, the front office will have to confront what comes next.

Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost reflect on touching moment after 2014 World Series

Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost reflect on touching moment after 2014 World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few minutes after his team lost the 2014 World Series in a heartbreaking way, Royals manager Ned Yost walked over to the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium and quietly slipped into Bruce Bochy’s office. With champagne still flying through the air and players getting deep into their celebrations, Yost and Bochy shook hands and had a brief conversation.  

The show of class and sportsmanship meant a lot to the winning side. That moment meant even more to Yost. 

“I’ve still got that picture hanging in my office,” he said recently. “I don’t have many pictures that I put up, but there’s that one of me and him shaking hands afterward. That one is special to me. It was a hard time because he was trying to celebrate, but I just wanted to tell him congratulations.”

Yost’s Royals will face Bochy’s Giants today in Cactus League action, and it will almost certainly be the final matchup between their teams. Bochy has announced his intention to retire, and neither team is favored to reach the postseason.

That 2014 matchup was a memorable one, though, and it still leaves Yost shaking his head. A day after Bochy announced that 2019 would be his last season, Yost, at an MLB event, recalled thinking he had gotten the better of Bochy. 

“I just remember him sending Bumgarner out in Game 7 and I just thought, ‘Okay, we’re going to kill him.’ And it just didn’t turn out that way,” Yost said. “Even to send Bumgarner out there in the ninth, it was like, ‘whoa,’ but it worked out perfectly.”

Yost and the Royals would win the next year, getting their own moment in the sun. But on that cold October night in Kansas City, Yost watched Bumgarner get out of a jam in the ninth. He watched Bochy celebrate, and then he went over to congratulate a manager he says is a surefire Hall of Famer. 

[RELATED: Bochy announces he will retire after 2019 season]

“I just have the ultimate respect for him. I’ve always admired him, his longevity, and what he has been able to do,” Yost said. “The one solace I can find, as tough as it was to lose a World Series, especially when you’re 90 feet away, is just that I lost it to my boyhood team and to a manager who I probably have more respect for than any other present manager in the game. 

“He’s right behind Bobby Cox for me. He’s accomplished everything that every manager looks to accomplish.”

Bryce Harper explains hitting at Oracle Park wasn't a factor in decision

Bryce Harper explains hitting at Oracle Park wasn't a factor in decision

When it was first reported the Giants were interested in acquiring six-time All-Star Bryce Harper, we checked the numbers on how he performed at AT&T Oracle Park.

Across his career thus far, Harper boasts a .164/.305/.284 line with just two home runs in 19 games. 

Not great, but he knew that.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal recently asked Harper if the difference in parks offensively was an issue. Harper said that wasn't a concern -- he did the homework just like you and I did.

“I saw my (home-run) overlays on each park — Nationals Park, L.A., San Fran, Philly. The overlays weren’t as crazy as people would think," Harper said in an interview with FS1.

“Hitting the ball to left-center in San Francisco, it’s a little bit of a jet stream. And I hit my balls to left-center a lot. Of course, you factor in wind and cold weather, things like that. But that was never really a factor."

Oracle Park is a terror to hitters not named Nolan Arenado or Gerardo Parra. but it can be a pitcher's best friend if said pitcher is able to take advantage of that.

[RELATED: Giants offer Harper 12-year, $310 million]

We will see if that confidence still resonates with him when he and the Phillies come to Oracle Park later this summer