This offseason, there was a vocal contingent of San Francisco Giants fans who beat a particular drum: With the Giants’ outfield looking far from inspiring, why not pick up free agent Adam Jones?
One of the more well-regarded human beings in baseball, Jones was a right-handed power bat that, sure, had seen better days, but was still a veteran with a solid glove, even if his Gold Glove days were behind him. Instead, the Giants passed and have been through 10 different outfielders.
So, when Jones went 3-for-4 with an RBI double in San Francisco’s 7-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, it stung. Jones, though, wasn’t why the Giants wasted a solid start from Jeff Samardzija. For once this season, it was luck.
There were no fewer than two foul ball home runs, including one by Buster Posey, in his first game off the concussion list. There was the Brandon Belt sixth-inning liner to center with Posey on second that, instead of skipping past center fielder Jarrod Dyson, hit his shoulder as he dove, keeping Posey from scoring and holding Belt at first with a single, instead of a would-be triple. The Giants would load the bases with one out that inning, and get nothing, just as they did with men at the corners and one out in the third.
Then there was the bases-loaded run-scoring shot off of Reyes Moronta’s foot in the bottom of the sixth. Then there was the hit-by-pitch-that-wasn’t.
San Francisco has no doubt earned its losses this season, and in part, earned Friday’s, leaving 10 men on base and going 1-for-9 with men in scoring position, but they also got their first significant share of rotten luck this season.
Samardzija was cruising, arguably pitching the best he has this season, throwing 68 pitches in 5 1/3 innings.He allowed one run on a fourth-inning changeup down that David Peralta sent 419 feet — and an RBI double by Jones that left the bat at 107.7 mph.
Otherwise, Samardzija worked up and down in the zone, mixing his diving changeup in with a fastball that sat between 88 and 94 mph. He allowed five hits and walked three, but was able to work out of jams, until he walked Dyson with one out in the sixth, then walked Peralta intentionally and gave up Jones’ double.
Ketel Marte hit the fifth pitch he saw from Moronta off the reliever’s foot for a run-scoring single, before Moronta fanned the next two men to get out of the frame.
Then, with Derek Holland on the mound, making his second relief appearance of the season, Dyson tried to button the first pitch he saw, and was hit in the hand. By rule, the hand is part of the bat, and therefore the play should have been ruled a foul ball, but Dyson was awarded first, loading the bases with no outs and bringing Bruce Bochy out of the dugout to make the case. He was ejected for the third time this season, and the 77th time in his career for arguing the non-reviewable play with home plate umpire Andy Fletcher.
One batter later, Eduardo Escobar poked an 0-2 fastball for a three-run triple into the right field corner. Escobar came in to score as top-spin grounder by Peralta exploded up and over Belt, a play that was ruled an error. In all, nine men came to the plate in the seventh.
The loss was San Francisco’s fourth shutout of the year, and they now have scored 46 fewer runs than their opposition. No luck — however good — is going to be able to fix that.