WASHINGTON D.C. — The Giants weren’t winning Friday night even with a solid performance from Jeff Samardzija. Not when the lineup had just four hits and a lone run coming on a solo homer.
Bruce Bochy thought Samardzija was closer to solid than the box score showed, noting that two early rallies included soft base hits. Even if you give Samardzija that, the view from 10,000 feet is still a concerning one.
The Giants have lost six of Samardzija's last seven starts and he has allowed at least five runs seven times since May 30. With two more solo shots in Friday's 5-1 loss, he has allowed 21 homers on the season, 17 of them coming on the road. As the home runs have gone up, the strikeout numbers have come down. His five-strikeout start Friday was just his third in his last 12 starts.
“Guys are pretty aggressive against me in general,” Samardzija said. “They know I’m not walking people and I’m in the zone.”
Perhaps he lives there too often. The home run and strikeout numbers tell a simple story: Hitters are comfortable against Samardzija, and they’re swinging away. He admitted that Wilson Ramos “sold out” on a 3-1 slider, smoking it over the center field wall.
Samardzija said he has to start “erring on the side of not being in the heart of the plate,” and the Giants remain confident that he can find a fix.
“He was real close to having a good start,” Bochy said. “I know those (early) runs count, but he didn’t have a lot of luck on the first three runs.”
The Nationals twice manufactured rallies while jumping ahead 3-0 through three. Bochy must have hurt watching it, as his lineup hasn’t been able to do anything right with runners in scoring position in the second half. Against Gio Gonzalez, they didn’t even threaten. Angel Pagan had a solo shot, but the Giants had just one other frame that could even qualify as a potential rally. Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie singled with two outs in the eighth but Denard Span grounded out.
The Giants are averaging 3.4 runs per game since the All-Star break. They’ve won just five times, and they’ve lost 10 of 12 on the road.
“We’ve met, we’ve done everything,” a frustrated Bochy said. “You’ve got to stand behind them and know they’re going to come out of it. It better be sooner than later.”