It’s safe to say Brandon Pfaadt has struggled since finally earning his first MLB promotion. With an ERA above 8, there’s not many positives to find. But if we look closer (and I mean really close), in his last two starts we’re starting to see what kind of pitcher we should expect going forward. His last two starts has seen him allow 3 earned runs in each game, as he went 5 2⁄3 innings and 6 innings. The home run ball still haunts him, with 4 total over those last two starts but 9 strikeouts vs 1 walk. Those are playable numbers and enough to win games. That all came to a point today against the Giants, with Pfaadt pitching like we all expect a top-rated prospect to do.
Pfaadt was absolutely perfect through 3 innings, striking out 4 to keep the Giants at bay. He used each of his pitches effectively to get the job done, getting strikeouts from each of his pitches including two from the sweeping slider that has often eluded him in prior starts. But all it takes is one.
After striking out LaMonte Wade Jr looking to lead off the game, it was Wade’s turn to do damage. On a 2-2 count, Pfaadt hung a 95mph fastball dead center to Wade who immediately deposited it into the right-field walkway for a 1-0 lead.
And honestly, that was most of the trouble Pfaadt had today. A leadoff walk in the 6th was stranded there after a sac bunt and two outs, and in the 7th he allowed a two-out single to Conforto before inducing a Luis Matos pop out to end the inning and his outing. His totals? 7 innings, 1 earned run on 2 hits, 1 walk and 7 strike-outs. Kevin Ginkel secured the 1 run allowed with a clean 8th and that was all the Giants could muster.
Unfortunately for Pfaadt, the offense was even more pathetic. Hits in each of the first three innings were erased by double plays. The next opportunity to score didn’t come until the 6th, when Corbin Carroll walked, stole second, and reached third on a throwing error with two outs. Rivera flew out to end the inning.
The 8th and 9th innings both saw opportunities to score, and showcased a little of what has changed between the early season and now. An Ahmed single and Carson Kelly walk put a runner in scoring position with 1 out, but a foul pop out from Carrol and a liner off the back of Rogers got Rivera to end the inning. If it was May? Both runners would’ve been clutch-hit home. It’s August.
The 9th again saw another opportunity gone to wayside as Christian Walker, slow played a massive shot to left out of the box, it would hit the top of the wall and leave him with a 362 foot single. Gurriel followed with a single to left which may have scored Walker if he were at 2nd against the weak-armed A.J Pollock, but that’s another world. 1st and 2nd for Perdomo, who grounded to 1st for an out and pinch-hitter Jace Pederson could do no better, flying out to left for the game clinching out. 1-0 Giants.
The tailspin is in full effect, and it doesn’t look like there’s any way out of it. The offense has scored 15 runs over its last 7 games just as the starters were turning things around. We’ll see if the team has any fight left as they take on the Twins for another 3-game series before returning to face the Dodgers at Chase Field.