Well, a couple too many pitchers didn’t have it last night. Obviously the big issue is that we saw a different Spencer Strider last night. The simple answer for what happened is that a power pitcher that only throws two pitches had a little too much missing from his fastball. DOB hit the nail on the head:
When guys know what’s coming, it’s got to be really good. For instance, the home run off of him in the 3rd was off the inside corner, 95MPH, but it was pulled right inside the foul pole for a home run. Guys can beat him if he doesn’t have his best stuff. Matt Olson knew Camilo Doval was going to bring him 99 MPH up and in, and he was still able to hit it into the Chop House seats in the 9th. So tonight was just a tough night for Strider.
Dylan Lee gave us a chance to get back in the game getting 5 much-needed outs after Strider departed, but Darren O’Day, Collin McHugh, and Jacob Stephens just could not give us a chance to out-score these guys. Kenley Jansen pitched in the blowout against Chicago three days ago because he hadn’t worked in a while, so it was unfortunate that since he was needed two nights ago against the Giants, he wasn’t available last night. Will Smith, it appears, was also not available. And since we were almost always behind in this game and Snit uses that as an opportunity to get other guys in the game, one decision led to another which led to another, and you guys can decide if you agree with the bullpen usage. Snit has his ways; most of them are pretty analytical, some are old school, and I take the good with the bad.
But what’s encouraging was the power production from Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Marcell Ozuna. Olson, who only had a .347 SLG in the month of June, came in with two huge home runs, a 3-run and 2-run apiece. Same with Ozuna; he had a .373 SLG in June coming into the game, and he contributed a homer. Acuna’s power is also way down, and he brought us a big home run. His .457 SLG in June is way below his norm too. So those guys getting going means a lot for our lineup, and I’m going to optimistic there.
The thing that will get overlooked in a slugfest with lots of big moments was something I thoroughly enjoyed: Michael Harris II made one of the most beautiful throws I’ve seen in a while. Bowman put it in perspective:
One fun thing about the camera over home plate is that you can see the tail on the ball by a left-handed center fielder when he’s squared up to throw the plate. How many times have you seen a left-handed center fielder not get on top of the ball, and the throw tails away from the catcher? Not this time. That is a perfectly thrown ball with perfect back spin, and when an outfielder gives the catcher that perfect back spin, the ball hits the grass, kicks up, and it looks like it’s floating in the air for the catcher to make an easy catch and tag. A++ throw from a guy who’s been making a lot of those.
Let’s win the series tomorrow.