Giants

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In the good times — like, a week and a half ago — manager Bruce Bochy would joke that he could pull names out of a hat and still field a deep, competitive lineup. Bochy might want to do it Thursday, if only to see if it shakes the Giants out of this collective slump.

The Giants dropped their seventh game in the last eight, losing to Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks 2-1 a night after falling 3-0. They were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 3-for-30 over their last four games, all losses. 

“It’s never fun, I don’t care what time of year it is,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re in a tough rut. You’re going to go through this, I don’t care who you are. We got a great pitching effort (from Madison Bumgarner) and we’re just missing some timely hits. We just couldn’t get a hit. These things go in streaks. This is a tough one.”

The skid is so glaring because of the time of year. This isn’t a June Swoon, so nothing is hidden. Players look up at the scoreboard and see .233 and .216 and .217 and .241 and on and on. Players are frustrated, but were quick to point out that this skid is just a small chunk of the season.

“It’s happened to us before,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “We’ll get out of it and we’ll be fine afterwards.”

In the meantime, Bochy is showing patience. He won’t be pulling names out of a hat.

“We gave (Hunter) Pence a day off, we’ve been mixing it up a little, giving guys a day off,” he said. “But they are your guys. You stay with them.”

Pence didn’t start but did take part in one of the most meaningful exchanges of the night. The Giants trailed 2-0 when Gregor Blanco — one of the few who had good at-bats — hit a one-out triple. Pence replaced Bumgarner in the box and fell behind 0-2 on two wicked sliders from Greinke. The former Dodger kept going back to the well, but Pence held up on two more sliders in the dirt and fouled off a couple of breaking balls. He took a good fastball inside as he worked the count full, and Greinke simply pulled back and went for broke. He threw a fastball out over the outer half of the plate and Pence popped it up to first. 

A week ago, maybe that’s a two-run homer. Right now, the Giants just don’t seem to have that hit in them. That wasted a good night for Bumgarner, who isn’t in midseason form yet but is headed there quickly. He didn’t give up a hit until the fourth, but paid for one pitch in the seventh. Bumgarner was upset with a cutter he left over the plate for a Yasmany Tomas single, and the next batter, Welington Castillo, blasted a two-run shot to left-center that would hold up.

It was an odd sequence for Bumgarner. The pitch to Tomas was the one he really regretted, but the one to Castillo wasn’t a bad pitch. The Diamondbacks catcher simply yanked a fastball up and away.

“I felt pretty good about the pitch I made to Castillo,” Bumgarner said. “It could have been a little higher. The high fastball was working most of the night, and maybe it wasn’t high enough or he made an adjustment. 

“We’d been going there most of the night and it was working good for us. It’s a game of adjustments, and he got me.”