McDaniel: The anatomy of an 11-game losing streak

From Rachael McDaniel at Baseball Prospectus on September 19, 2018:

When the Giants’ September 1 game against the Mets began, it was a cool, bright afternoon, the type of crystalline coastal autumn day you wait all year to get: 64 degrees, clear, sunny skies, the light glancing off the water of McCovey Cove. In September, it’s not as hot anymore; the smoke has mostly cleared. The days get darker faster. The Giants were 68-68, nowhere near playoff position but still sort of respectable, and they’d won six of their last eight games.

It was still beautiful almost three hours later, when Gorkys Hernandez came up to bat for the Giants with one out in the bottom of the 11th, the team down 2-1. There were still people in the stands; any ball in play, even a routine ground ball to shortstop, was still greeted with a swell of hopeful chatter that died with the thud of the ball in the first baseman’s mitt. When Hernandez got ahead 3-1 on Robert Gsellman, skipping out of the way of a pitch that almost hit him, the crowd clapped in the familiar rhythms, offered the familiar whistles of encouragement. When he struck out two pitches later—the Giants’ 16th strikeout of the game, a shocking number to have concentrated in the span of less than three hours—they murmured, non-committal. The Giants lost, but it was a brisk game, a clean defeat. The strikeouts were tiresome, but at least they went by quickly. And it was a nice day, anyway.

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Originally published: September 19, 2018. Last Updated: September 19, 2018.