Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the San Francisco Giants
news

Giants News

Walk-off defeat nets positive takeaways

@JakeDRill
June 23, 2019

PHOENIX -- While the Giants couldn’t notch their first sweep of a series longer than two games this season, there were some positive developments for the club during their three-game weekend swing to the desert. San Francisco dropped Sunday afternoon’s finale at Arizona, 3-2, in 10 innings, but it took

PHOENIX -- While the Giants couldn’t notch their first sweep of a series longer than two games this season, there were some positive developments for the club during their three-game weekend swing to the desert.

San Francisco dropped Sunday afternoon’s finale at Arizona, 3-2, in 10 innings, but it took two out of three games for its second series victory at Chase Field this year. Shaun Anderson delivered another quality start, tossing six-plus innings of two-run ball, but the Giants mustered only two runs and four hits.

Box score

The Giants’ only two sweeps so far this season were a pair of two-game sets -- against the Blue Jays on April 23-24 and against the Padres on June 11-12.

After dropping three of four games to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, this weekend’s games in Phoenix provided a nice bounce-back series for the Giants. Here are three takeaways from the trio of contests vs. the D-backs:

1. Shaun Anderson is becoming a dependable starter
Anderson, the Giants’ No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, posted his fourth quality start in five outings this month, lowering his June ERA to 3.52. The right-hander gave up an RBI single to Tim Locastro in the third and an RBI single to Christian Walker in the fourth, but he retired eight straight after that two-out hit by Walker.

“He got better as he went again,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s a four-pitch guy, we love his makeup and the way he battles out there, he keeps his poise. He’s really been throwing the ball well.”

Earlier this road trip, Anderson lost to the Dodgers when he gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up a pair of first-inning runs in that outing, which had been a recurring issue for the 24-year-old. Entering Sunday, opponents were hitting .438 against him in opening frames, and he had allowed a first-inning run in five of his first seven starts.

That wasn’t an issue this time, as Anderson retired the D-backs in order in the first. But the righty didn’t change his routine or do anything different this time out.

“That first-inning thing, it’s a flip of the coin,” Anderson said. “I think it’s a small sample size, and you don’t want to think too much into it. I just stayed with the same game plan and I attacked them early, and I got some quick outs.”

The Giants have struggled to get length from their rotation this season, and their starters entered Sunday with a 5.33 ERA, which ranked 25th in the Majors. So, Anderson’s development and consistency could be key to their success the rest of the year.

2. This unlikely outfield trio is providing a boost

When the season started, Mike Yastrzemski was in the Minor Leagues, Alex Dickerson was in the Padres’ Minors and Kevin Pillar was with the Blue Jays. But this weekend, they were the starting outfield trio for all three games, and they played a huge role in the series victory.

Dickerson, who was called up Friday when Steven Duggar went on the injured list, collected nine RBIs between the two wins, which included a grand slam in his six-RBI Giants debut. If he continues to play well, San Francisco could have a tough roster decision to make when Duggar returns, which could be as early as this upcoming Friday, as it may want to find a way to keep Dickerson on the team.

Yastrzemski homered in Saturday’s win, his third home run in four days, after he homered in each of the final two games in Los Angeles.

Pillar extended his hitting streak to six games with a game-tying solo homer in the seventh inning of Sunday’s finale. He is batting .435 (10-for-23) with two homers and five RBIs over that stretch.

“The outfielders, they’ve been grinding out there quite a bit,” Bochy said. “It’s been a pretty good combo the last couple days.”

3. The bullpen continues to be a valuable asset

Right-hander Mark Melancon gave up a bases-loaded, walk-off RBI single to Tim Locastro in Sunday’s 10th inning. But that was the only run the D-backs scored against the Giants’ bullpen all weekend.

San Francisco’s relievers had combined for 11 scoreless innings before Melancon’s loss. Their most impressive showing came Saturday, when they covered five frames after a four-inning start by Tyler Beede.

Reyes Moronta and Sam Dyson combined for three innings after Anderson exited Sunday’s game with runners on second and third and no outs in the seventh. Moronta got the Giants out of that jam unscathed, then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

“Our bullpen has been absolutely dominant all year,” Anderson said. “I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do. The whole bullpen just has been great. I had full confidence in [Moronta], as well as any other pitcher that we roll out there.”

As long as San Francisco’s starters can provide length and keep the bullpen fresh, the relievers should continue to be one of the strengths of the team.

Jake Rill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JakeDRill.