Bruce Bochy used to get a boost from September call-ups. He could play the matchups a bit more in the bullpen, and while that made games a bit longer, it generally worked. These days, there’s almost never a right answer when a reliever is summoned from the bullpen mound.
Eight different relievers took the mound for the Giants and nearly all of them pitched poorly. The bullpen gave up nine runs over the final three innings, coughing up a three-run lead in an 11-6 loss to the Cardinals that was the seventh in eight games.
Even by the low standard set by the 2016-17 Giants, that was one hell of a bullpen collapse. It wiped out all the good the position players did earlier in the game.
I didn't feel like deleting everything, so here are some of those earlier highlights:
— The game owed Brandon Crawford one, and he got a bit of a break — if you can ever call it a break at AT&T Park — in the second. Crawford’s deep shot to right-center landed on the soft pad on top of the wall. With one fewer inch of carry, it bounces back toward the field. Instead, it ricocheted into the stands for Crawford’s 13th (officially) homer. He also had two doubles.
— Crawford did it with the glove, too. Greg Garcia opened the fifth with a grounder up the middle that bounced off second base. Crawford smoothly bare-handed the ball and made a sidearm throw to first for the out. In two months, he will win his third consecutive Gold Glove Award.
— Kelby Tomlinson matched Crawford defensively. Tomlinson ended the fourth by chasing Yadi Molina from third to home, and then spinning and firing a strike to second for a double play.
— Johnny Cueto’s first start since June 14: 5 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts.
— Jarrett Parker did a nice thing in the third. When Harrison Bader hit a two-run shot to left, the fan in the bleachers did what just about every fan in the bleachers does after a visiting player homers: Threw it back onto the field. Ordinarily, the left fielder will throw the ball to a security guard, who throws it somewhere into the stands. Parker immediately tossed it to Joe Panik, who whipped it to the Cardinals dugout. The homer was Bader’s first in the big leagues, and Parker knew it. (There was no good karma. Parker was removed later in the game with left side tightness.)