If 31-year-old San Francisco Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani isn’t the worst hitting pitcher in all of baseball, he is definitely one of them. In fact, the Freehold, NJ native and sixth-round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 out of the University of Florida entered Friday night’s extremely crucial game between the Dodgers and the Giants having gone 1-for-43 (.023) with two walks and 23 strikeouts.
…make that three walks.
Although it certainly wasn’t intentional (literally), normally extremely efficient Dodgers right-hander Phil Bickford walked DeSclafani … on five pitches to lead off the bottom of the third inning of the pre-determined Dodgers bullpen game. He then walked Giants left fielder Darin Ruf … on six pitches. This was followed by a single by always-dangerous Giants first baseman Brandon Belt to move DeSclafani to third base. Bickford then struck out hot-hitting Giants third baseman Kris Bryant for what should have been the second out of the inning. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts then replaced Bickford with left-hander Alex Vesia who, after allowing a non-run-scoring single to Giants pinch-hitter Austin Slater, got future Hall of Fame Giants catcher Buster Posey to ground into a force-out for what should have been the final out of what should have been a scoreless bottom of the third inning but for Bickford’s walk of one of – if not the – worst hitting pitchers in all of baseball.
Here’s the rub.
The game remained 1-0 Giants until the Dodgers finally scored a run in the top of the ninth inning on a one-out single by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, followed by a double by shortstop Corey Seager, followed by a run-scoring fielders choice by catcher Will Smith to make it a 1-1 game … instead of a 1-0 Dodgers lead. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and did not allow a run or hit, although he did walk two batters. But instead of what should have been Jansen’s 31st save and the Dodgers 86th win of the season, the game remained tied and went into extras.
The Giants would ultimately prevail by a score of 3-2 in 11 innings to move a full game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West standing instead of the other way around, were it not for Bickford’s walk of one of – if not the – worst hitting pitchers in all of baseball.
“Offensively, we just really didn’t threaten; we couldn’t get anything going,” Roberts said postgame. “
For you ‘glass-half-full’ types, Game-2 of this crucial three-game series begins at 6:05 p.m. PT on Saturday evening, when the Dodgers – behind left-hander Julio Urías – will have an opportunity to once again tie The Hated Ones atop the NL West standings.
For you ‘glass-half-empty’ types, the Dodgers should already be one game ahead of them in the NL West standings.
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