On the first day of summer camp, Jeff Samardzija spoke volumes about what was ahead of the Giants. He talked about how there were no excuses once the players entered the field, and that if someone did not want to be there, they did not need to be there.
Samardzija is established enough that he could easily have been one of the people who took the year off, but he wanted to be here, to dig into the rubber Tuesday night at Oracle Park for the opening game. Nor was she going to make excuses when everything got away from her.
The Giants lost 5-3 to the Padres, who from the beginning have been the most complete team in the West of the National League, and all five races were run by Samardzija. The big blow was a three-run shot by Fernando Tatis Jr. that cleared the wall to the right and sneaked into the game room.
The home run, which turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead for the Padres, stumbled upon a slider that was down and even a little inside. It was a home run from the opposite field as impressive as it has been in this park in years, and one wonders about the potential juiciness of the ball or the comfort of a right field that has been closed to some of the elements. Samardzija was not having it.
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“He is a great player and you fall behind in the count like that, it was just the story of the night,” he said. “Instead of driving the boys away at the start of the count, there were a lot of 3-2 counts, a lot of three-ball counts, and when you have to hit a guy like Tatis and then hopefully a good shot at the same time , you’re asking for it. “
Samardzija gave another chance in the room, his final inning. Wil Myers took him 422 feet to the center, hitting a home run in the new bullpen that was his ninth in Oracle Park since the beginning of 2017. The ball would have been a home run with the old dimensions. With the new ones, he easily cleared the wall.
“I think Wil would have left in a hurricane,” said Samardzija. “Let’s give it credit.”
The two blasts ruined a start that took longer to arrive than most fans expected. The Giants kept Samardzija out of the Dodgers’ series, knowing it was a bad matchup for the right-handed veteran. Instead, he pitched a five-inning sim game the day before the season started and prepared for a Padres lineup that leans to the right.
However, Samardzija only hit one of those Fathers. His fastball fluttered 89-90 mph and peaked at 92. Manager Gabe Kapler said he thought Samardzija attacked the area from the start, but was unable to “keep up a pace throughout the game.” If there was any concern about his raw material, Kapler did not show it.
“I thought he actually had a pretty good fastball, especially relative to our modified camp,” said Kapler. “Actually, that wasn’t a concern tonight. The speed was better than it has been.”
That fastball landed in a rushed camp, one of the reasons it wasn’t a surprise when Samardzija didn’t see the field in Los Angeles. She said she knew this would be the situation, and felt it was a good situation to be successful.
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“It’s a different kind of season,” said Samardzija. “I think we were just trying to make sure everyone was ready. After my penultimate start to this summer camp, time really didn’t line up to go out and pitch to Los Angeles. We just did our best, we came here against this alignment and we just didn’t get the results we were looking for.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board. These things happen. It was a different kind of day but you learn from it and move on.”