San Francisco Giants were looking for someone to take the blame for Tuesday’s loss to the Marlins.
They looked at first-base umpire Jerry Meals. Meals called Ryan Theriot’s grounder down the first-base line foul when replays appeared to indicate that the ball bounced right over the first-base bag and down into the right-field corner.
But you can’t blame Meals when you can’t guarantee that Theriot would have eventually scored from second with two-out in the ninth.
Matt Cain tried to take the blame — as he often does.
“I made a couple more mistakes than (Ricky Nolasco) did,” Cain said.
No, you didn’t, Matty.
Cain gave up a laser of a home run to left to Giancarlo Stanton.
Nolasco gave up a laser of a home run to right to Pablo Sandoval.
The only difference is the Marlins were able to get a runner home from second with one out, and the Giants weren’t able to get a runner home from third with no outs.
So the question is: Does Bruce Bochy carry some of the blame for the loss?
We all know Bochy likes to play matchups, likes to play the numbers … with his lineups, with his pinch-hitting choice, his double switches.
But maybe he should have looked at the numbers before making decisions in the bottom of the eighth.
Now I know the book says when you have runners at first and third and no outs, with your Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters coming up, you let them swing away.
But the numbers says something else.
The Giants came into Tuesday’s game hitting .193 with runners in scoring position. And your No. 2 and No. 4 hitters were part of that problem.
Melky Cabrera (No. 2) is hitting .217 with RISP. Buster Posey (No. 4) is hitting .222. Only Sandoval (.292) has solid numbers in that situation this season. And as it turned out, he never got to hit.
So the question then becomes: Was a squeeze play in order with Cabrera at the plate?
Given the Giants’ troubles in this position, getting that runner home from third was paramount. And the situation was prime for it.
You had speed at third in Gregor Blanco, and a good bunter at the plate in Cabrera.
Cabrera has 35 sacrifice bunts in his career and a 78 percent bunt percentage.
If played right, the Giants could have a 2-2 game with one out, Angel Pagan at second and Sandoval and Posey still to bat.
This wasn’t the fifth inning. It was the bottom of the eighth. We weren’t lucking for a big inning. We were looking for a run, possible two to take the lead.
Instead, the Giants got nothing.
Cabrera bounced a slow chopper to first, with Blanco holding at third and Pagan taking second. One out.
That took the bat out of the hands of Sandoval, who was intentionally walked.
Posey then came up, got ahead of the count, but eventually bounced a custom-made 4-6-3 double play.
Barry Zito faces Carlos Zambrano in the second game of the series at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. It led Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com to wonder how many times two pitchers with the last name that starts with a Z have faced each other. The answer is four times: Carlos Zambrano vs. Victor Zambrano in 2005, Zito vs. Carlos Zambrano in 2004 and Zito vs. Victor Zambrano in 2003. Also Paul Zahniser of the Red Sox faced Tom Zachary of the Senators in 1925. But there has never been a matchup of two Z’s who make a combined $37 million.