What we learned as home runs hurt Harrison in loss to Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
One of the more interesting pitching matchups of the Giants' season ended up being one-sided.
NL Cy Young Award frontrunner Blake Snell struck out eight in six shutout innings and top prospect Kyle Harrison allowed six runs -- all on homers -- in his third big league start. The Giants lost 6-1, falling into a three-way tie for the third and final Wild Card spot.
Snell had perhaps the best three-pitch mix the Giants have seen all year. He consistently ran his fastball up to 98 mph and complemented it with a good breaking ball and an outstanding changeup, but his usual command issues did give the Giants some opportunities.
The best came in the sixth, when he walked Wilmer Flores and Patrick Bailey. With one out, J.D. Davis squared up a changeup but hit it right at Fernando Tatis Jr. in right. Paul DeJong ended the inning with a grounder to short.
Here are three observations from the Giants' loss:
Harrison struck out five and allowed six hits in 5 2/3 innings, but four of them left the yard. The first three Padres hits were homers.
Three of the first seven Padres went deep, and they did it on three different pitches. Juan Soto crushed a 96 mph fastball to right-center in the first, and in the second inning, Harrison gave up homers on a hanging slider to Xander Bogaerts and an elevated changeup to former Triple-A teammate Gary Sanchez.
Harrison threw a season-high 91 pitches earlier in the week and the Giants let him get there again Saturday, which might have been a mistake. His 91st and final pitch was a fastball that was just 92 mph and Cooper hit it out to left.
The outing was out of character for Harrison, who allowed just 10 homers in 20 starts in an extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Early in the year, the Giants looked like they might at times be able to keep up with a team that hit four homers, but that hasn't been their identity in the second half. They've hit just 12 homers since August 16, which is tied with the Pirates for the fewest in the big leagues over that span. If you take out Wilmer Flores, they have just eight homers in their last 16 games.
The Giants hit 106 homers in 90 games before the All-Star break but have just 39 in 46 second-half games. Flores (12) is the only player with more than four homers in the second half.
The Giants are 32-35 overall on the road and 4-16 in their last 20 away from Oracle Park. They haven't won a road series since the first one of the second half in Pittsburgh, and the best they can get this weekend is a split.
The issues on the road are widespread, and they were all apparent on Saturday night. Entering the game, the Giants had a .215 average over their last 19 road games and a 5.32 ERA.
If this doesn't turn soon, the Giants won't be going anywhere but home in October. Of their final 26 games, 14 are on the road.