The Giants increased their use of technology this spring, something that was clear during bullpen sessions, fielding drills, meetings and games. But the computers don't always love them back.
NBC Sports Bay Area is playing the original 2020 schedule on "MLB: The Show," and Friday's home opener was shown on the network, with Kruk and Kuip providing the play by play. The Giants lost 10-7 to the Dodgers in the video game version, falling to 0-7 on the season.
The big blow Friday was Max Muncy's grand slam off Jeff Samardzija, and a spirited comeback was never quite completed. The PlayStation versions of Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Wilmer Flores all went deep, and the Giants forced Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen into the game with two outs in the eighth. Posey came up as the tying run but struck out looking.
It was still fun to watch some form of baseball, though. Here are some takeaways from the PlayStation version of the home opener ...
Yolmer Sanchez was off to a rough start in his first video game season in San Francisco, but with two outs in the second, he lined a breaking ball from Walker Buehler out to Triples Alley. Billy Hamilton scored easily from first as we got our first look at the new dimensions in right-center. The ball rolled out to the 415 sign (it used to be 421) and Cody Bellinger got it in quickly, holding Sanchez to a double.
Brandon Belt hit one right at the 415 sign three innings later, scoring Sanchez with an RBI double. The new dimensions didn't slow Justin Turner, though. He found Triples Alley in the sixth and slid into third for an RBI triple that put the Dodgers up by four.
There were four balls hit to the gap in the game, but only one went for a triple. We'll see if the park plays that way when real baseball resumes.
The Robots Aren't Ready
This would be a perfect time to have robot umps, which would eliminate four people from the field of play at a time when numbers will be a concern. But the digital umpire behind the plate Friday wasn't ready for primetime.
Mr. Robot repeatedly squeezed Samardzija in the third, helping the Dodgers to a five-run frame as Samardzija's anger boiled over. With the bases loaded and Bellinger at the plate, Samardzija twice got squeezed to fall behind 3-1. He walked Bellinger to tie the game. Samardzija pointed at the umpire after that at-bat and then fell behind Muncy when two pitches at the bottom of the zone were called balls.
"I'll tell you one thing," Mike Krukow said on the broadcast, "This umpire has never been a pitcher."
The count went 3-2, and Muncy hit a grand slam toward what he would refer to as the ocean.
The Weapon They Expected
Flores pinch-hit against Ross Stripling to lead off the bottom of the seventh and blasted a 2-1 pitch into the seats in left. The homer was the third of the year for Flores, the only player thus far to get a multi-year deal from Farhan Zaidi's front office.
Flores killed the Giants in the late innings last year while with the Diamondbacks, and this is exactly what they were hoping he would provide.
A Solid Home Debut
Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez entered with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth. He gave up a two-run single to Mookie Betts, but then struck out Bellinger and got Muncy to hit into an inning-ending double play. The strikeout of Bellinger was Jimenez's first in the big leagues.
Jimenez had a solid shot of making the real roster even before COVID-19 shut the sport down. Whenever the Giants return, they'll likely have at least four more roster spots to work with, so there's no reason not to carry the young right-hander and keep his rights for 2021.
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Whenever the Giants take the field for the first time, the loudest ovations will go to the doctors and nurses who hopefully get honored. You can bet one of them will throw out the first pitch.
Had they played today, Pence probably would have gotten the most thunder. He was wildly popular when here the first time and it seems to only have increased since he re-signed. Pence pinch-hit in the eighth and hit a two-run shot, his first of the year. He got a standing ovation.
Text Your Friends
The game threw in an at-bat from left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia, and for that, my heart is full. Well done, PlayStation Gabe Kapler. Garcia put down a sweet bunt.
By the way, the left-hander struck out eight in five scoreless innings in the real spring training. He's on this team.