PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Yesterday evening was not what Giants fans hoped it would be. With all the trades in the books and a fully healthy lineup, with the Giants ace Madison Bumgarner taking the mound, most folks thought San Francisco would trounce the 48-59 Philadelphia Phillies. However, it twas not the case.
It started out ugly – very ugly. In the first inning, Bumgarner uncharacteristically gave up 2 runs but managed to get out of the inning with just that limited damage. In the second inning, all bets seemed to be off as the Phillies tee’d off with 4 more runs. It was 6-0 heading in to the top of the 4th as Brandon Crawford refused to go down with a goose egg and blasted a homer over the right field wall. That seemed to ignite the Giants offense and carried over to the following inning as the Giants racked up another 5 runs to tie the game. But in the grand tradition of a heavy weight bout, the Phillies swung back and took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the 6th, the Giants threw another haymaker and it appeared that they were finally on track with the offense.
But it was the pitching that could not hold on. Hunter Strickland cam in and allowed the Phillies back in and ultimately, Sergio Romo gave the game up by first allowing a hit up the middle of the field to score 2… and shortly after that a home run.
The game was essentially over at that point and the Phillies went on to win the game 13-8.
On the surface, Giants fans must feel a little bit unconvinced that Bobby Evans made all the right moves. The bullpen did not seem to get a large enough boost. Though it was his first game with the Giants, newly acquired Will Smith did not fair well either.
The Giants do have a few nice pieces in the bullpen. Derek Law and Josh Osich are two young players that have showed a lot of promise. But it is the vets such as Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Santiago Casilla who have not cemented confidence with the team or the fanbase.
If this team is to make another solid run at another World Series in yet another even year, they’re going to have to get much better pitching in relief than they have been. While most fans have a lot of faith in Bruce Bochy and his decisions as a manager, he can only do so much with the players that he has at his disposal. As things stand now, the later inning relievers are nowhere near “Championship caliber”.
The Giants play the Phillies in game 2 of the series today at 4:05pm PST. Johnny Cueto (13-3, 2.63) and Aaron Nola (6-9, 4.78) will face off against each other in a game that the Giants absolutely need to win with division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers breathing right down their neck.