Giants observations: Mixed bag for Jakob Junis in loss to Braves

What we learned as big mistake hurts Junis in loss to Braves originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Exactly one year ago, the Giants celebrated one of their best moments since the three-title years, clinching a postseason spot with weeks to go in the regular season. Times have changed.

On the night when the Dodgers clinched the NL West title, the Giants lost 5-1 to the Braves, dropping to 68-74 on the season.

The Braves took an early lead on Dansby Swanson's two-run homer to left and never looked back. It was another quiet offensive night for the Giants, who have had far too many of them the last couple of months. They scored in the first inning but that was it, as they totaled just four hits.

Here are three more things to know ...

Welcome To The Bigs

Before the game, manager Gabe Kapler said he wouldn't hesitate to throw Cole Waites in a big spot, but the Giants wanted to find him an easier landing spot for his big league debut. Trailing by three, and with the No. 9 hitter coming up, Kapler turned to Waites in the top of the seventh.

The 24-year-old right-hander is one of the best relief prospects in the organization and has a chance to work his way into a big bullpen role for 2023. His debut was adventurous, to say the least, but Waites showed a lot of poise in a scoreless inning.

Waites has the best fastball in the system and started his big league career with eight straight, but he walked Ehire Adrianza on four pitches and then gave up a double to Ronald Acuña Jr. That was it for the Braves, though. Waites got Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley to ground out and Matt Olson flied out to left to end the inning.

Waites threw 23 pitches, 19 of which were four-seam fastballs. The pitch topped out at 98.1 mph and averaged 96.6 mph.

Missed Opportunity

The Giants had Braves righty Kyle Wright on the ropes in the second inning. A single from Joey Bart and two walks loaded the bases for Mike Yastrzemski, and Wright was so wild that Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz came out for a passionate conversation. Yastrzemski took a big hack at a 3-1 fastball and nearly broke the game open, but the ball died on the track in left.

Wright, who entered with a 17-5 record and 3.23 ERA, didn't give the Giants another shot. He faced the minimum until getting pulled with one out in the sixth, allowing just a walk in the fourth that was wiped out by a double play.

Mixed Bag

Jakob Junis pitched pretty well overall, but he was charged with four earned in five innings, raising his ERA to 4.15. The big mistake was the hanging slider that Swanson crushed into the left field seats, but Junis also had some bad luck.

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Three batters after the homer, Travis d'Arnaud hit a fly ball to right that should have ended the inning. Luis Gonzalez has had a rough year defensively and he lost the ball in the lights, allowing d'Arnaud to reach with a double. Michael Harris followed with a single that gave the Braves a 4-1 lead.

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