Dieter Kurtenbach: The SF Giants were big-timed in their Opening Day loss to the Yankees

Tribune Content Agency

The Giants fancy themselves a big-market team. Their tidy $75 million in estimated annual profit backs up that claim.

But on the diamond, they saw what a real big-market team looks like in Thursday’s season opener in New York.

The Yankees beat the Giants 5-0 behind Aaron Judge’s first-inning home run and a sterling start from ace Gerrit Cole, who struck out 11.

Even with Giants ace Logan Webb striking out one more batter than Cole, it was impossible to watch Thursday’s game and not think: “Man, it would be nice to have those guys.”

The kicker, of course, is that the Giants had their opportunities to sign both.

Cole — the brother-in-law of shortstop Brandon Crawford — was a free agent after the 2019 season. The Giants were reportedly “positioned and motivated” to sign the now-five-time All-Star. And then the Yankees came in, offered the largest contract for a pitcher in the sport’s history, and Cole had no problem shaving his beard and calling the bandbox in the Bronx home.

The Giants did actually offer Judge a contract this past offseason. But like so many free agents before him, San Francisco was just an unaware shill bidder, driving up the price for the eventual winner.

Thank goodness Giancarlo Stanton — who reportedly eschewed a trade to the Giants in 2017 so he could go to the Yankees — went 1-for-4. Otherwise, Thursday would have been overload.

The Giants want to win this season behind the strength of numbers and finding marginal advantages.

These Giants are deep. And if everything is the same in the middle of baseball rosters, the Giants want that bottom part of their roster to define this team, hopefully with success.

The Yankees want the top of their roster to define their team.

We know who leads this battle of ideas following one game.

And while all Opening Day results feel unduly big with the benefit of perspective, Webb striking out 12 and not coming close to sniffing a win only adds to the troubles. He pitched wonderfully but was done in by two big longballs and questionable management from Gabe Kapler, who let Cain — I mean, Webb — start the seventh inning but lifted him after a walk.

Kapler’s move wasn’t finding a small advantage and pressing it. No, it was indecision manifested.

But again, Thursday was Game 1 of 162. It’d be naive to think that nine innings of baseball are a predictor of the entire season.

We’ll wait until at least Saturday’s Game 2 to make such a ridiculous claim.

Until then, it’s going to be tough to shake the fact that for those two hours and 33 minutes on Opening Day — roughly the same time it took the Yankees to play the second halves of games over the last decade — the Giants looked feeble compared to their big-money opponents.

Playing big-money teams isn’t an issue the Giants will face in the NL West, right?

Yes, it was an inauspicious start to the season for the Giants.

But hey, at least it didn’t take too long.