Image credit: © John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Question and Answer

Giants 3, Red Sox 2

Jansen 0.0 1 1 0 0

Today’s box score moment is short, but ever important. In a series between two teams searching for a Wild Card bid in their respective leagues, the Red Sox-Giants series has had a lot riding on it from the get-go. The same can be said after Boston took game one in an offensive dud. The Giants looked to even up the series on Saturday with Ryan Walker as an opener who dominated in 2 ⅔ IP, and Sean Manaea—the nightmare of the juggernaut 2018 Red Sox—took over and kept the pace.

Meanwhile, the 34-year-old James Paxton put up a rather mediocre line in his own right, struggling to command his cutter and spiking pitch after pitch in the dirt. And yet somehow, despite throwing a Bedardian 104 pitches to scrape together 15 outs, Big Maple held the Giants to a single run on eight hits. Boston continued on with old man Richard Bleier and of course, Mauricio Llovera— who was recently acquired from San Francisco itself.

After looking dead at the plate all night, the Red Sox ignited a miracle rally in the top of the ninth, thanks to the ever-consistent trio of Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran, and Justin Turner. But these three decided to be the only Red Sox able to make a competent baseball maneuver, and the middle of the ninth arrived with the score knotted at 2-2.

And this is when our short, game-changing moment begins. This may seriously be the smallest box score in the history of BSB. It’s not hard for a pitcher to pitch 0.0 innings and give up a run(s), so this situation isn’t that unique in that sense. But what makes it really crazy is that Kenley Jansen did not only fail to record a single out in his appearance, but his outing consisted of only a single pitch.

As J.D. Davis stepped to the plate looking to be a hero for the Giants in this recently-tied game, Jansen took the mound for his second appearance in two days. Not the best idea in a non-save situation for your 35-year-old closer, in my opinion, but Alex Cora clearly did not agree. (Perhaps he should have listened to our advice and saved him for the tenth.)

As the MLB.TV commercial break ended, I did indeed feel a sense of doom seeing Jansen on that mound—I tend to have premonitions about these kinds of things. The cameras settled in, Davis adjusted in the box, and Jansen slid forward in his casual, hesitating delivery, looking to get his newly revitalized offense another chance in extra innings. Davis had other ideas, though, taking Jansen’s below-average 92 mph cutter on the inside corner and turning on it to send fans home with a walk-off blast right off the foul pole.

This instance was the first time in his career that Jansen had an appearance with only one pitch thrown—his previous low was two—and also the first time that he faced one hitter and allowed a home run. But as we all know, the baseball gods laugh in the face of “this guy’s thrown 800+ innings of relief and he’s never done this before.” And on Saturday, the fickle game of baseball won.

Other Notable Showings

Gold: Joe Musgrove (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
Musgrove blanked the best offense in baseball over six hard-fought innings in the opening match of the three-game series against Texas. The Padres have ranked perhaps only behind the Mets in terms of disappointments this year—or maybe they take the top spot, depending on how you look at it. And yet, they went on to sweep the team with the third-best record in the AL, to place them perhaps just barely within reach of the NL Wild Card race. I doubt this three-game stretch will alter the selling game plan and turn the Padres into serious contenders in a six or seven-team race for the final Wild Card spot, but good for them!

Silver: Zack Wheeler (6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K)
Wheeler looked fantastic on Friday in the series opener against the cross-state Pirates. The 11 strikeouts were one shy of a season-high, and Pittsburgh could only manage two hard hits, allowing Wheeler to blank the Bucs and improve his second-half ERA to 2.18. Oh, and the Phillies were kind enough to score two runs in his honor and earn him the win. They went ahead and lost the series over the weekend, because they’re still the Phillies.

Bronze: Adam Frazier (1-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, HR)
The Orioles proved themselves on Sunday Night Baseball to those who may not know that they are indeed the Real Deal. While the pitching staff was busy racking up 19 strikeouts—a nine-inning record for Baltimore—Adam Frazier dealt with the mighty Yankees on his end, hitting his 13th home run of the season in the first inning to get them off on the right foot.

What’s Next

Monday, July 31

And just like that, July is coming to an end, but in return, we have some actually acceptable contests today! Unfortunately, there are absolutely no day games. I will accept this sacrifice for the sake of writeable matchups.

Rays (RHP Tyler Glasnow) @ Yankees (RHP Domingo Gérman), 7:05 PM ET
Tonight’s primetime event is a battle of two of the “hottest” pitchers of 2021. Well… I don’t know if you can really call Domingo Gérman “hot,” but any discussion saves Yankees fans from having to talk about the offense. I guess he does have the first perfect game since 2012 (we will always remember you, Felix Hérnandez), but Glasnow has a 72 DRA- in 11 starts since coming back from Tommy John surgery and other random lingering injuries.

Angels (RHP Griffin Canning) @ Braves (RHP Charlie Morton), 7:20 PM ET
The Braves are amazing. The Angels seem determined to make something out of possibly the last year that they can call Shohei Ohtani one of their own. Morton’s DRA is almost a whole run higher than his ERA, but the 39-year-old is making the most he can muster out of his season with a championship contender. Canning is a weird dude and I’ll never really understand him, but his results haven’t quite accurately reflected what his peripherals have told us about this season, so perhaps his luck will catch up to him in this heavyweight match.

Guardians (RHP Noah Syndergaard) @ Astros (RHP J.P. France), 8:10 PM ET
Syndergaard CAN’T be worse for the Guardians than he was for the Dodgers, can he? Well, tomorrow we will gleefully get the chance to see for ourselves! On the other side of this matchup, France has gotten some pretty good results so far this season. He has some cool, funky glasses and a killer ‘stache, but odds are he could get roughed up tonight based on his peripherals.

Thank you for reading

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Robert McWilliams


Bobby Witt, Jr vis-a-vis Adam Frazier? Throw KC fans a bone!
Because you have tempted fate by surmising that this will be perhaps the shortest box score ever, I foresee a wild or successful pickoff attempt deciding a big game at some point, so that there can be a zero-pitch case.
I didn't even realize when I posted that that there had been a balk-off last night.