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What we learned as Giants lose series finale, split with Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Giants were beaten at their own game Thursday at Oracle Park by the San Diego Padres in a 7-4 loss.
San Francisco has adopted the bullpen game strategy to success, but it was San Diego who did just that to earn a series split against Kevin Gausman and the Giants. Former Giant Pierce Johnson started for the Padres, striking out two in his one scoreless inning. The Padres used seven total pitchers in all, taking one out of Gabe Kapler's book to beat their NL West foe.
Gausman came into Thursday with a lot of success against San Diego, but he left too many fastballs over the plate and the Padres made him pay. He was far from his best, and far from terrible for the home team. It just wasn't enough as the Giants had a rare quiet day at the plate.
These two teams still have six games left against each other -- three in San Francisco and three in San Diego. With the Los Angeles Dodgers off on Thursday, the Giants still have a one-game lead on their rivals in the NL West.
Here are three things to know as the Giants fell to 95-52 this season.
It feels weird to start here, but it's not like Gausman was god awful in front of his home fans. When his splitter was on, it continued to be a dominant pitch -- one of the best in all of baseball. Just look at him making Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado look silly here.
Kevin Gausman, Wicked Splitters. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/ofxCVWBQNt
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 16, 2021
Gausman caused 18 swing and misses on the day. He struck out seven and now has averaged eight strikeouts over his last four starts. Gausman threw 36 splitters on the day. The Padres did a good job laying off of 12 of them, but they did swing and miss half the time they attempted to hit a Gausman splitter.
Perhaps the more encouraging news was Gausman's velocity. His fastball has averaged 94.5 mph this season. On Thursday, it sat at 95.6 mph, and he maxed out at 98.7 mph. Gausman threw three pitches over 98 mph, which is great to see in mid-September.
Entering Thursday, Gausman had owned the Padres. He had allowed just three total earned runs over three starts, which totaled 19 innings. He allowed that exact amount through 4 2/3 innings. Gausman wound up allowing four earned runs on eight hits.
Another area of concern is Gausman being much better on the road this season compared to Oracle Park. In 17 starts on the road this season, he has a 2.11 ERA. But in 13 starts at home, he now has a 3.64 ERA.
That's far from a concerning number, but it also isn't close to his dominant self on the road.
The Giants have to be happy to not see Adam Frazier these next few games. They can't be happy to see him possibly six more times this year.
Frazier was named an All-Star for the first time this season. The second baseman hit .324 with an .834 OPS in 98 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hasn't been the same since being traded to San Diego. His success against the Giants, however, has continued.
Following a 4-for-5 performance on Wednesday, Frazier went 3-for-5 on Thursday against the Giants. Whether it's with the Pirates or the Padres, Frazier has been the ultimate pest to the Giants this season. Frazier is now 18-for-47 against the Giants this season, good for a .383 batting average.