LOS ANGELES — Through the tiny sample size of two games, the Giants’ pitching has been inconsistent, and their hitting has been consistent.
Both are problems.
After the more-traditional relievers failed them in Thursday’s opener, the bulk options were the more worrisome issue Friday. But their bats have made both of those troubles footnotes because no team will win scoring two runs in two games.
Friday’s surprise starter, Tyler Anderson, was wild and looked as rusty as you would imagine a pitcher who hadn’t made a start in 14 months would look. Kevin Gausman, the surprise reliever, was not much better and the hitting was worse in a 9-1 loss in front of a handful of media, some cameramen and a solemnly appreciative sea of Dodger Stadium cutouts. Through two games, it’s 17-2 Dodgers.
Wilmer Flores went 2-for-4, a nice start to the season for the recipient of Farhan Zaidi’s first multiyear deal with San Francisco. The rest of the Giants lineup went 2-for-27.
Meanwhile, LA leadoff hitter Mookie Betts should be traded after going 1-for-5. But Nos. 2 and 3, Justin Turner and Max Muncy, combined to reach base 7-of-9 times with two home runs (courtesy Muncy) and a pair of doubles. That is the everyday firepower of the Dodgers’ order, which the scraping Giants (0-2) cannot compete with.
The Giants have thrown some of their top options — Johnny Cueto, Drew Smyly and Tyler Rogers on Thursday, Anderson and Gausman on Friday — at them, and the Los Angeles stars have looked the part. Anderson, making his first start since May 3, 2019, and coming off knee surgery, never quite was comfortable. He got just two swinging strikes in his 38 pitches, lasting 1 2/3 innings while walking three, allowing three hits and surrendering two runs, including one on a Muncy homer.
Rico Garcia allowed an inherited runner to score, but got out of trouble. Gausman, the prize free-agent addition, ate up four innings while letting up six hits and three runs (two earned), getting into trouble in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
The physical differences between the teams were on display early. It took until the seventh for the Giants’ mental miscues to return.
Sam Coonrod, in his first appearance since declining to kneel with the rest of the team in a show of unity related to Black Lives Matter, allowed Kike Hernandez to single then induced a Corey Seager ground ball to first, Coonrod flipping to Pablo Sandoval for the out. But Hernandez just kept running to third, which was unoccupied because the Giants had been shifting.
A batter later, Joc Pederson took off for second, and Rob Brantly threw to Mauricio Dubon, who was planning to return throw right back at Brantly to get Hernandez at home. But Brantly’s peg wound up in center field, too low for Dubon, Pederson wound up on third, Hernandez wound up scoring and Brantly wound up clearly angry with himself.
In the end, it would not have mattered; the Giants didn’t muster a hit past the fifth inning, a third-inning Jaylin Davis home run the only bright spot to find. Davis’ opposite-field shot was the first of the Giants season and the second of his career, an early promising sign for a project the Giants desperately want to pan out.
The scariest moment came in the fifth inning, when third-baseman Flores airmailed a throw to first, and a jumping Pablo Sandoval landed on Chris Taylor on his way down. Taylor would be OK.
Sandoval did to the Dodgers utility man what the Dodgers have done to the Giants in two games.
Ouch, that can't feel good ? pic.twitter.com/oRPJ3X6MVQ
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 25, 2020