What we learned as Giants’ bullpen pulverized in loss to Phillies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Citizens Bank Park doesn’t have the reputation of a Coors Field or Great American Ball Park, but on hot nights in the middle of the summer, it plays pretty small.
It was no surprise that a home run derby broke out on a clear 88-degree night in Philadelphia, and right now, the Giants aren’t at all equipped for that type of shootout. They hit a couple of early bombs, but the Phillies responded with four, pulling away for an easy 10-4 win on the first night of an important series between wild-card leaders.
The loss was the third in four games on this tough trip, and it was concerning for reasons beyond the final score. The Giants were able to somewhat tread water when the offense broke down in July because they pitched so well and generally did a good job catching the ball, but the defense has gotten pretty sloppy in August.
The Giants were charged with three errors officially, but they had two more defensive misplays that were pretty costly. Wade Meckler played a triple off the wall into an inside-the-park homer, and Blake Sabol misjudged a liner to left with two on and two out in the seventh. The Giants trailed 6-2 at the time, but the liner turned into a two-run triple and Kyle Schwarber followed with a 444-foot blast.
For the second time in less than a week, Meckler found himself chasing a ball in deep center as someone circled the bases for an inside-the-park homer. This one wasn’t quite as odd as the one against the Tampa Bay Rays — and it also wasn’t a home run, if we’re being honest.
Meckler got too close to the wall and then twice bobbled the ball as he tried to get it back to the infield. Harper, to his credit, never broke stride, and he scored easily:
Nothing is ruled an error these days, so that went down as a homer instead of a triple and error on the center fielder.
End Of The Run
Whatever you want to call him — reliever, long reliever, swingman, bulk innings guy, featured guy, etc. — there’s no denying that Sean Manaea has been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last couple of months. Over his last 20 appearances before Monday’s game, Manaea had a 3.38 ERA and 1.86 FIP, with a lot of that success due to his ability to limit the long ball.
Manaea had not allowed a homer since May 22, a span of 53 1/3 innings, but the Phillies got to him twice. Edmundo Sosa went deep in the second inning and Alec Bohm hit a massive blast to left-center an inning later.
The Phillies worked Manaea’s pitch count and he ended up going just 2 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks. Manaea had allowed just one run over the past month.
When the lineup went into a funk in July, a big factor was the absence of Thairo Estrada, which robbed the group of some depth. For most of the month, the Giants got just about nothing from the bottom half of their lineup.
Estrada was out again Monday after getting hit by a pitch in Atlanta, but the depth issues go beyond just one guy. Once again, the Giants have a bottom half that just doesn’t look capable of doing that much damage. The six-through-nine hitters combined to go 2-for-15 with four strikeouts.