© Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports
SAN FRANCISCO – Tuesday night the San Francisco Giants opened their doors to host the Toronto Blue Jays. On that theme of opening, Bruce Bochy and the Giants started this game with an “opener” for the first time this season. One of the newest trends going around the game of baseball has found its way to Oracle Park in San Francisco.
Bochy is one of the game’s oldest managers, an old-school baseball guy through and through. However, with the team’s pitching continuing to struggle, this is just one of the many new-age baseball trends that Bochy may be open to trying out.
Tuesday night’s game began with reliever Nick Vincent on the mound to “open” up the game for the Giants. Unfortunately for San Francisco, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. decided to hit his very first career home run right in the middle of the Giants’ experiment. They would let up three runs in the first, the very problem they were seeking to resolve.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. went YARD on his first career homer 💪
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 15, 2019
Two batters later, Randal Grichuk would reach on a single to center field with two outs. Next batter up, Freddy Galvis would drop a fly ball behind first base, off the glove of Joe Panik, allowing Grichuk to score all the way from first. Unfortunately for the Giants, it got worse. Next batter, Billy McKinney, smashed a double to right-center field, tacking on another run. It was 3-0 Blue Jays before the Giants even had a chance to swing the bat.
Tyler Beede came in to replace Vincent in the second inning. The “opener” experiment did not work out too great in its first go-around. However, Tuesday’s first-inning results, though grim, are still a little too early to decide on the success of using this method, and we’ll likely see it used again.
Beede’s outing would prove more successful than Vincent through innings two and three as he went scoreless posting five strikeouts. Panik led off the inning with a single before Pablo Sandoval, two batters later, crushed a two-run homer to left-center. All of the sudden, the Giants were back in this game, trailing 3-2.
Beede’s stint on the mound would come to an end in the top of the fourth inning. Beginning with a one-out single by Blue Jays pitcher Trent Thornton, followed by an Eric Sogard base hit, Beede would find himself in a jam with two runners on. Next up, Guerrero Jr. would walk to load the bases. Beede would follow up with another walk to Justin Smoak, which would force in the Blue Jays fourth run of the game.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, Guerrero Jr. was hitting .191 with no home runs and only 1 RBI. In the top of the sixth inning, he would continue to pad his stats, this time off Reyes Moronta. Thornton would reach base again on his second-ever career hit and as well as his second of the night, starting the night with a .000 BA and ending with .667 BA. Sogard would follow, reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. Guerrero Jr. would make this mistake hurt even more, smashing a three-run homer to left-center, his second of the game. The Blue Jays now lead 7-2.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Giants would tack on one more. Kevin Pillar would lead off the inning with a double and would eventually come around to score on a Mac Williamson double, making the score 7-3 Blue Jays. The ninth inning would begin and end quietly, with the Giants dropping the first game of the series and their first “opener” experiment.
The Giants one consistent strength is their bullpen, so having the opener technique fail was probably more bad luck than it was a real litmus test of new-age baseball managing.
Wednesday the two-game series wraps up with the Giants sending Shaun Anderson to the mound to make his Major League debut. The final from San Francisco: Blue Jays 7, Giants 3.