Increasingly hard to find silver lining
The Giants have reached a point at which there is very little to ask and even less to say.
“Things haven’t worked out for us. It’s frustrating for everybody,” Madison Bumgarner said Saturday after a stultifying 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. The most redeeming quality of this defeat for the Giants was its brevity.
The Giants needed only 2 hours, 32 minutes to get two hits and lose for the 93rd time, to a team that has everything going for it.
Zack Greinke, who is prepping for an expected Oct. 4 start in the National League Wild Card Game, held the Giants to singles by Joe Panik in the first inning and Brandon Crawford in the fifth.
Greinke hit two doubles, which means he had twice as many total bases as the Giants.
After scoring eight runs to beat the Dodgers to start this eight-game homestand, the Giants have totaled six during their latest four-game losing streak.
They stand 57-93, two games clear of the Phillies for the worst record in the majors and next year’s No. 1 overall draft pick. Only six wins in their final 12 games will spare the Giants from 100 losses. For context, they have just six wins in their past 22.
The Diamondbacks’ victory left the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching the division at five.
Manager Bruce Bochy’s postgame news conferences are rife with questions about silver linings. Saturday’s was Bumgarner, who allowed a two-run Paul Goldschmidt homer in the first inning, the game’s only runs, then completed seven innings.
Bumgarner made his 16th start of a season abbreviated by his dirt-bike accident. That he could smother a really good offense for the final six innings while looking healthy and strong was a good omen for 2018.
That sure beats thinking about the Giants’ 3-13 record in Bumgarner’s starts, despite his 3.48 ERA
“I think you have to look at the accident and how his season was,” Bochy said. “He’s back pitching, not showing any effects of the accident, pitching like he did before. Sometimes it’s hard to find silver linings in a year like this.”
They are even more difficult to detect on a night when the guy in a 2-for-57 slump took the two best swings of the night.
Pablo Sandoval, starting at first base, followed Crawford’s leadoff single in the fifth with a drive into the left-center gap that looked like two bases off the bat. But left fielder David Peralta filled the gap with a running, backhand catch that sent him tumbling to the grass after he snared it.
Mac Williamson, playing right field for an injured Hunter Pence, reached to start the sixth inning on a two-base throwing error by rookie shortstop Kristopher Negron. Williamson did not budge and was stranded.
Greinke completed eight innings for his 17th win. He has allowed a total of three earned runs over his past four starts, covering 28 innings.
Arizona’s offense gets a lot of ink, as it should. Goldschmidt has 35 homers — five against the Giants — and J.D. Martinez has 39, 23 of them in less than two months since the Diamondbacks got him from Detroit.
The Dodgers have a good offense, too. If they face Arizona in the Division Series, a real possibility, the intrigue will be on the mound, where the Diamondbacks can hang with L.A.
“Their rotation is really good,” Bochy said. “You look at how they’re dealing.”
Clayton Kershaw vs. Robbie Ray in Game 1? Yu Darvish vs. Taijuan Walker or Patrick Corbin in Game 2? Alex Wood or Rich Hill vs. Greinke in Game 3, five days after his presumed start in the Wild Card game?
It sounds like appointment TV.
The Giants’ 93rd loss included eight strikeouts against Zack Greinke, including one by Jarrett Parker in the sixth inning.