PHILADELPHIA -- It's easy for a ballclub to brush off a lopsided loss such as the 11-0 defeat the Giants endured Monday night at the hands of the Phillies as an aberration, a file-and-forget experience that's inevitable during the long season.This tough defeat at Citizens Bank Park, however, might have
PHILADELPHIA -- It's easy for a ballclub to brush off a lopsided loss such as the 11-0 defeat the Giants endured Monday night at the hands of the Phillies as an aberration, a file-and-forget experience that's inevitable during the long season.
This tough defeat at Citizens Bank Park, however, might have aroused more concern than others. The pitcher who was pounded the most was starter Jeff Samardzija, who allowed five runs in four innings. Two of the four hits he yielded were long home runs by Odubel Herrera, who smashed a three-run drive in the first inning, and Cesar Hernandez, who added a two-run long ball in the fourth.
With injuries sidelining San Francisco's top two starters -- Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto -- the Giants need Samardzija to rally them with durable, inspiring performances -- the kind he has supplied through much of his career. Instead, Samardzija has compiled a 6.62 ERA in four starts after beginning the season on the disabled list with a strained right pectoral.
• Cueto has elbow sprain, will miss 6-8 weeks
Reinforcements are available, particularly in Matt Harvey, whom the Mets have designated for assignment. Many reports have linked Harvey to the Giants, but a source told MLB.com that acquiring the right-hander is "not a pressing issue" for San Francisco. The Mets would have to assume most of Harvey's $5.625 million salary, since the Giants' payroll is too close to the competitive balance tax threshold to absorb that figure. The Giants might have interest, the source said, if Harvey were to become a free agent.
Meanwhile, Giants manager Bruce Bochy actually was encouraged by Samardzija's outing, pointing out that the hurler showed signs of regaining the velocity that has enabled him to top 200 strikeouts in the last five seasons. That, Bochy said, represented progress.
"Granted, it wasn't a good outing for him," Bochy said. "But he's on the right track now."
Samardzija still felt derailed. He observed that he hasn't yet regained command of his slider, which obviously makes his fastball effective. This was particularly evident in the first inning, which Samardzija completed after throwing 40 pitches.
Samardzija pointed out the subtlety that's required for throwing his slider effectively. "If it's too hard, it's too close to the fastball," he said.
Samardzija didn't bear all of the responsibility for what was only the Giants' fourth loss in their last 15 games.
San Francisco had averaged 4.9 runs per game at Citizens Bank Park since 2004, second to only the Mets among National League visitors in that span. Yet Phillies starter Zack Eflin limited the Giants to four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Overlooked in the Giants' three-game sweep at Atlanta last weekend was their sloppy defense. They were charged with seven errors during that series. They committed three more Monday, increasing their total to 19 in their last 15 games.
Giants catcher Buster Posey went 2-for-3, extending his hitting streak against Philadelphia to 23 games. That dates back to July 24, 2014. He's hitting .386 (34-for-88) against the Phillies in that span. Since 1949, the only players with longer hitting streaks against Philadelphia are Atlanta's Chipper Jones (29 games, 2007-09), Cincinnati's Pete Rose (25 games, 1975-77) and San Francisco's Orlando Cepeda (25 games, 1961-62).
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Giants center fielder Gorkys Hernandez wasn't immediately available to speak to reporters, but he was plainly frustrated with his inability to snare Carlos Santana's fifth-inning home run. Hernandez soared above the center-field wall and got his glove on the ball. Later he showed a teammate, re-enacting the play with an agonized look on his face, just how close he came to making a spectacular grab.
"The only thing I saw was that he jumped," Santana said. "The fans were loud and then I thought, 'OK, he didn't catch it.'"
Due to his extensive American League background before this year with the Rangers and the White Sox, Derek Holland has never pitched in Philadelphia. He'll cross that experience off his list Tuesday when he confronts the Phillies and Aaron Nola in a 4:05 p.m. PT encounter at Citizens Bank Park.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.