Giants miss opportunities early, unravel late on Opening Day

On today’s Locked On Giants Podcast, host Ben Kaspick analyzes the San Francisco Giants’ Opening Day loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants had a couple of big opportunities early in the game, including bases loaded no outs and a first and third no outs, and came away with just one run total. The Dodgers announced just hours before the game that expected starter Clayton Kershaw was being placed on the injured list, and the young flame thrower Dustin May would start in his place. The Giants figured to have a totally different lineup against Kershaw, one that was in a pretty good position to give him trouble. The Giants’ lineup against the righty May, however, was different, and included several right-handed hitters by necessity.

Johnny Cueto got the start for the Giants and was impressive through four innings. He escaped a bases loaded jam in the 4th, and was pulled before he could face the top of the Dodgers’ order for a third time with Max Muncy, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger due up. It was clearly an appropriate time to pull Cueto from the game, but he didn’t seem happy about it in his postgame interview. That being said, Drew Smyly pitched a scoreless fifth and Rico Garcia pitched a scoreless sixth, so it’s not like the Giants’ pitching unraveled immediately after Cueto left the game. On the contrary, the Giants did very well to hold the Dodgers to one run in six innings.

But things came unraveled in the 7th. Tyler Rogers, who figures to have a high leverage role this season, opened the inning with a quick out against Muncy, but Betts single and Bellinger doubled to make it second and third with one out. With the infield drawn in, Justin Turner hit a ground ball to Donovan Solano at second base, and Mookie Betts beat the throw home. There wasn’t much more that Solano and the Giants could do; it was just a great display of athleticism by Betts. Kiké Hernandez ended up delivering a back breaking two-run single with two outs, and Dany Jiminez and Conner Menez each allowed a couple of runs once the game was essentially out of reach.

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