What we learned as Giants go down quietly in loss to Nats


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants announced a crowd of 20,502 on Monday night, one of the smallest in Oracle Park's history. With the rebuilding Washington Nationals in town and Warriors-Lakers going on at the same time, the actual number in the seats was significantly lower.

For the diehards who watched the whole thing, there wasn't much of a reward. The Giants fell behind big early and repeatedly stumbled when trying to rally back, falling to the Nationals 5-1. 

Anthony DeSclafani's scorching start to the season came to a screeching halt in the first inning, when the Nationals scored five runs on seven hits. DeSclafani didn't allow another run and even managed to get through seven innings, but the damage was done. 

The Giants couldn't score off rookie right-hander Jake Irvin, who was making his second big league start, but they did threaten in the seventh. Irvin put two on with one out, but veteran right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. entered and got two outs on two pitches. 

With two on in the eighth, Edwards got Thairo Estrada to bounce into an inning-ending double play, the fourth of the night for the Giants. 

Not Ideal

DeSclafani entered the night ranked third in the major leagues in WHIP (0.82) and was holding opposing hitters to a .201 average, which was sixth in the NL. Those numbers blew up in a 21-pitch first inning. 

The Nationals came out hyper-aggressive and got seven hits on DeSclafani's first 18 pitches, tying his season-high for an entire start. That also tied his career high for hits allowed in one inning. 

Six of the hits left the bat at 96-plus mph, and you could argue DeSclafani actually got a bit lucky in the inning. With two on and no outs, Keibert Ruiz smoked a ball into the right field corner but lead runner Lane Thomas was held at third, which caused a backlog as Ruiz ran to second with his head down. As he stood there without a base to occupy, he was tagged for the first out of the nightmare inning. 

Not Ideal, Part II

A five-run hole is tough, but not impossible to dig out of. The Giants did have their chances to strike back early on. 

LaMonte Wade Jr. led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single, but two batters later, Joc Pederson hit into a double play. J.D. Davis had a leadoff walk in the second, but was erased on a double play by Michael Conforto, who is off to a rough start in orange and black. In the fourth, Estrada had a leadoff single and Pederson worked a good walk, but Davis hit into a double play. 

Getting The Han Of It

Mitch Haniger had a couple of shaky moments in left field when he first returned, but given his past history of defense in right, he should be above-average in left for the Giants. That version has shown up on this homestand. 

Haniger saved two runs with a diving catch near the left field line in the seventh, which also prevented DeSclafani from tying a career-high for hits allowed.

DeSclafani is not particularly excitable on the mound, but he crouched and then leapt in the air after the catch, happily yelling an expletive as he walked back to the dugout. He waited on the top step and gave Haniger a hug when he arrived.

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