Giants’ first experience in Mexico City ‘unfair’ to pitchers

MEXICO CITY — As replay executives spent several minutes zooming in on what appeared to be a historic home run, Brandon Crawford walked over to the Giants dugout at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú and grabbed a bottle of water. At 7,349 feet, even a slow jog can leave you lazy.

The ball was ruled foul by inches, so Crawford approached the plate and simply did it again, leaving no doubt this time. The home run was the first of an incredible 11 between the Giants and the San Diego Padres, and it reminded Crawford of the days when he hit a long home run foul in high school and then straightened up immediately.

That experience, two decades later, left Crawford with a different feeling.

“Tiring, honestly,” he says, smiling. “But I didn’t mind.”

Not all giants felt this.

MLB’s regular-season opener in Mexico City ended with the Padres winning 16-11, and left the Giants physically weary and somewhat fatigued from this showdown streak after just nine innings.

As they made their way to their buses, a member of the traveling party called the environment “no baseball”. Another had choice words for MLB.

Prior to the game, a member of the ownership group said the Giants intended to “raise their hands” when another Mexico series arrives. The pitching staff could tackle anyone who tries.

The Giants tied an SF-era franchise record by allowing six homers, including what appeared to be a Fernando Tatis Jr. pop-up that had a hit probability of just seven percent, and a Juan understudy. Soto who could have been an out at Oracle Park.

Five of the six Giants who took the mound gave up runs and four were hit for multiple runs. Jakob Junis and Scott Alexander saw their ERAs destroyed. The staff allowed 17 hits and never faced fewer than five batters in an inning.

“I was lucky enough to go out there during batting practice and see the ball fly and ask a few players, ‘Is this real, is it really going to go the way we do? think? The answer to that question was yes,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.

“Obviously we saw that if the ball went up in the air it would go a long way. It was kind of as advertised, if not even more of a hitter friendly environment.

Kapler said Friday the key would be to stay in the area, but that was easier said than done for a staff who saw what would happen if you allowed a Padre to put the ball in the air. .

“Our pitchers were trying to calibrate,” Kapler said. “It was a bit difficult to calibrate fast enough.”

The reviews weren’t all negative, although it depended on whether you asked for a pitcher or a hitter. Thairo Estrada, who had four hits, called the game “incredible” and “fun,” but noted it would have been more enjoyable had the Giants won.

Blake Sabol, who homered, said it was “the first of its kind, for sure”. But he added that it was not a pleasant environment for his pitchers and that could impact some players later on.

“Working with the pitching staff, it almost felt a little unfair to the pitchers,” the catcher said. “You’ve seen guys on their side who have great seasons and they give up a few homers and that still counts for their record when they go to arbitration or they go to get their contract, those numbers matter. From a hitting perspective, it’s obviously nice to be able to inflate our stats, but from a catching and throwing perspective, it just seems a little difficult.

“We are taller than Coors Field, but the dimensions of Coors Field are much larger than they are here.”

Crawford was taken off as a precaution after feeling some calf tightness, but enjoyed half the game he was in. The home run was his first international and (very) briefly gave him the record for hitting a home run at the highest altitude. LaMonte Wade Jr. smashed a pitch six later to tie it.

“Obviously the result wasn’t fun, but most of the game was fun,” Crawford said. “The crowd was great and I personally love watching the circuits. I’m sure pitchers think otherwise.

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The crowd was pro-Padres, but gave Sergio Romo a huge ovation when he danced to El Mechon before the first pitch and reacted rapturously throughout the score. It was a reminder of the incredible baseball environment in Mexico, and the league office is surely using this trip to try to determine if Mexico City should have an expansion team at some point.

When asked if he thought it would be a good idea, Manaea stopped.

“I mean, if they’re cool with an average six ERA,” he said.

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