Bad home team, poor road team? Meeting of teams in a bad spot goes to the A’s

August 3, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

AP17215190714737

Oakland Athletics’ Ryon Healy follows a two-run home run off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Moore in the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in San Francisco. The home run was Healy’s 20th of the season. Oakland won the game 6-1. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Morris Phillips

The Giants aren’t at home when they’re home.

Nothing demonstrates that issue more succinctly than a 6-1 home loss to the A’s, Major League Baseball’s second-worst road team with a 16-35 record away from the Coliseum, that’s in part due to the inexperience and lack of familiarity with various big league ballparks of the youth-laden Oakland roster.

Oh well to that.

A’s rookie Ryon Healy homered, and fellow rookie Daniel Gossett picked up the win in their AT&T Park debuts. And if home runs are involved, it’s likely the Giants’ opponents are hitting them and the Giants aren’t. That scenario’s surfaced in 55 games this season–last night included–in which the Giants have won just 17.

“I thought we’d come out swinging the bats tonight. We didn’t hit very many balls hard off of (Gossett),” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He pitched a good game. I’ll give him credit.”

A season-high three Giants’ home runs on Tuesday in Oakland–including a five-run first inning–had Bochy and his club optimistic things were improving. But Wednesday was anything but, more like the first four games of the just completed trip, all losses. The lack of hard hit balls Bochy referenced is notable. His club has just two home runs in its last 11 home games, 26 in 52 home games overall. Meanwhile, Giants’ opponents apparently don’t need the fences pulled in. After Healy’s blast, they’ve launched 46 home runs.

Just numbers jumping across the page? Not when the team’s poor home record is taken into account. The Giants are 22-30 at home, the worst such mark in the National League.

Healy’s home run was his first in 24 games, snapping the lengthiest period between home runs in his brief career. But Wednesday provided a clear opportunity for a breakout, any manager with a lineup to compose, and a calculator could see that.

Giants starter Matt Moore had the highest ERA of any qualifying pitcher coming in (5.74) despite a very, encouraging start at Dodgers Stadium his last time out. But the seasong-long view of Moore’s numbers show his struggles with left-handed hitters, and his propensity to issue walks. But the statistical match with Healy jumps off the page: Moore has allowed a major-league worst 50 extra-base hits, and Healy rakes lefties, hitting .372 against them this season.

And the manifestation of all those numbers came in the batting practice fastball from Moore that Healy launched 15 rows into the left field bleachers. Leading 2-0 at the time, Healy’s blast stretched the A’s cushion to 4-0 in the third. Two of the four runs reached base courtesy of Matt Moore’s walks.

With both teams stuck in last place and in full-blown 2018 mode, the game played out as a testimonial of which team’s rebuilding plan had a foundation. Throughout, the future of the A’s appeared intriguing, while the Giants’ blueprint looked outdated.

Centerfielder Denard Span, already showing signs of a decline defensively, put himself in position to catch Matt Chapman’s shot of warning track distance in the first inning, but then watched it bounce off the wall and then back toward the infield.

Oakland’s Chad Pinder had a different experience with Hunter Pence’s bid for extra bases in the sixth. Ranging into the gap, Pinder made a nice over-the-shoulder catch that shut the door on the Giant’s comeback hopes from a 4-1 deficit.

The Bay Bridge Series concludes Thursday with Ty Blach matched against Oakland’s Kendall Graveman.

 

 

 

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