LOS ANGELES — It is easy, when you’ve had a few moments to gather your thoughts, to say that this will all get better. If you’re a player, it’s actually the safest thing you can do. There’s little upside in publicly panicking, and the Giants have not during a stretch of losing baseball that has torpedoed their season.
Their faces, however, show a team that is boiling over with frustration.
Johnny Cueto is the picture of joy on the mound, a smiling, bubble-popping, twisting breath of fresh air. But as he walked back to the dugout in the fourth, Cueto couldn’t help himself. He had hung a cutter to Justin Turner and given up a homer, and he bent down in anguish and screamed into his glove. Cueto later said he covered his mouth so kids in the stands couldn’t hear the exact words.
Buster Posey is as calm as it gets. He rarely shows excess emotion on the field or off, but when he was called out on a check-swing in the eighth, Posey momentarily lost that composure. He continued expressing his disagreement with the call all the way back to the dugout.
Those were two big moments, and both went the other way in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers. So did the biggest moment Wednesday. With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth, Dave Roberts went out for a long mound meeting with Joe Blanton and his infielders. The Giants expected a call to the bullpen to summon left-hander Grant Dayton, but Roberts kept Blanton in the game. Crawford blasted a two-strike curveball but Josh Reddick gloved it in deep right, his back up against the wall.
“I thought I might have had enough,” Crawford said. “It got in on me a little. I didn’t square it up as well as I wanted to.”
Still, the bench thought the Giants had their biggest hit of the second half. The hit they’ve been looking for just about every night for six weeks.
“I did. I thought he got it,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s strong and I thought he got enough of it, and it just died out there.”
That was the Giants’ best shot at doing damage against Rich Hill and the Dodgers. This shutout came a night after they scored five runs but allowed nine. The fifth run Wednesday was a solo homer by Denard Span, the first against Kenley Jansen by a Giant. Span came up against Jansen again in the ninth Wednesday and struck out.
“That’s the way it’s been going,” Bochy said. “We’ve been getting well-pitched games and the offense has had a hard time. The times we do score runs, the pitching is not there.”
It added up to an eighth loss in 10 games for the Giants. They are 11-24 in the second half and just 5-14 on the road. The ongoing streak has allowed the Dodgers to take a three-game lead in the West, and even worse, it has put the Giants in danger in the Wild Card race. They finished the night half a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the right to hold that game, and just two games ahead of the Marlins, who are currently on the outside looking in.