The at-bat that sparked the Giants past the Dodgers might not have unfolded as it did in any other major league stadium.
In the bottom of the sixth of a scoreless game Friday, Brandon Belt, with an 0-2 count, popped a foul fly ball toward left field. An on-the-run Chris Taylor seemed to have a bead on the ball until he encountered the same bullpen mound that hurt Steven Duggar earlier this season. Taylor tripped and would be OK; the Dodgers not so much, losing 2-1, as Belt eventually walked after the ball fell and came around to score the game’s first run in the Giants’ breakout frame.
“It absolutely changed that inning,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “You’re talking about pitches thrown, it changed the complexion of that inning.
“… It’s one of those things that I don’t want to get too much into it. Oversight seems to come to mind. It is what it is. I know that putting players in harm’s way and dictating a game — more the harm’s way piece of it. It’s a liability. But you gotta make do.”
Taylor admitted the abrupt change in the Oracle Park terrain was “frustrating.”
“It would be nice if they got a bullpen like everyone else, behind the outfield,” he said.
Clayton Kershaw, who went on to allow his only two runs of the game in that inning, went a step further, calling out Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the former Dodgers GM.
“Let’s go, Farhan, clean it up out here,” he said jokingly. “It’s a brand-new ballpark, or relatively new. So they should have thought about it. But I bet Farhan will make a change here soon.
“Both teams have to deal with it. It just sucks.”
For one team, at least.
“That was big. If anyone’s had tough luck with that bullpen, it’s been us,” Bruce Bochy said. “So we probably got a break there.”