Greek Giant

“A little sloppy defense there. You just can’t win baseball games that way.”

Gabe Kapler

In last night’s 5-2, ten-inning loss to the Padres at Willie Mays Field the Giants had a grand total of five hits and committed three more errors. Each of those errors contributed to the loss and wasted a fine starting pitching performance from Sean Manaea. There was also a critical misplay and mental error by Patrick Bailey that led to the first Padre run. Let’s talk about Manaea first. Last night he was mixing fastballs in the 93-95 MPH range at the letters with sliders down and fooling the Padres silly for most of his six innings. He would end up with eight strikeouts and no walks with seven hits allowed, quite a few of those were very soft. The only loud contact was a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning hit by Garrett Cooper. As Sean Manaea has salvaged his season and turned it into a respectable debut as a Giant after an atrocious first half much of which he pitched in an unfamiliar reliever position, it has become obvious to me that the Giants braintrust has misused him and other pitchers very badly, to the detriment of their careers and the Giants won-loss record.

Now for the errors: First, Patrick Bailey tried to pick up a bunt down the third base line that had a good shot to go foul with a runner on second. He dropped it twice thinking he would make the play at first. It was a bad decision because in all likelihood the runner is safe. His only shot was to let it roll. Second, Marco Luciano made a throwing error in the top of the tenth inning right before Patrick Bailey’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second. Those two gaffes led to two more Padre runs and turned a 3-2 game into a 5-2 decision-making inning.

Thairo Estrada homered and the Giants had a brief lead of 1-0. Tyler Fitzgerald’s opposite field single made it 2-1 before the Padres answered back with Cooper’s blast.

The loss kept the Padres playoff hopes alive and gave the Giants another setback in which they had five hits or less. In fact the misplays and errors nearly equaled the hits. Just awful!

Our very own 3rdnKing, in response to my question about how many games the Giants have played and had five hits or fewer, posted this yesterday in the thread for the post:

Someone asked how many games the Giants have had 5 hits or less. The answer is 41 games.

The Giants have a combined 9 walks and hits or less in 51 of their games.

9 walks and hits is basically a 1.0 WHIP. That 1.0 WHIP is better than
any qualified pitchers WHIP in MLB. It is better than Web, Burns and Cole
who leads all with a 1.02.

In 51 games they have ran into a CY Young performance of a pitcher……

Make that 52!

The loss was the Giants tenth in their last thirteen games. They are now 78-81 and would have to sweep the Dodgers this weekend to avoid a losing season.

Gabe Kapler’s Future

At the conclusion of the season I will write a lengthy post on the Giants 2023 season but today I could not help but provide you with a selection of Giants news around the Press. It seems the mainstream baseball media has taken note of the Giants horrendous second half and the precarious positions of both Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler. This is Ken Rosenthal’s paragraph on Gabe Kapler for his newest article in The Athletic on potential Managerial changes in 2024:

Giants chairman Greg Johnson has made it clear that both Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will return, at least in 2024. The two operate in virtual lockstep; it’s difficult to imagine one without the other. Many Giants fans, though, would prefer a future without both.

For the first four months, Kapler, 48, extracted the most out of a limited roster. On Aug. 3, the Giants were 61-49, in possession of the top NL wild card. Since then, they’re (17-31), including (8-16) in September. They also will end the season with losses in 28 of their last 34 road games.

The Phillies fired Kapler in part because they went 20-36 in September in his two seasons. Kapler seemingly put that question to rest by leading the Giants to a combined 39-16 September record in 2021 and ‘22, capping off a 107-win season in the first of those years, getting to .500 in the second.

Now all the old Kapler narratives are resurfacing — he’s too process-oriented, too inclined to let players police themselves, unable to inspire. As I wrote Sunday, Zaidi needs to seize the moment in 2024. Ditto for Kapler.

This is from ESPN’s list of grades for each team this season:

The Giants are a case study in that it’s almost more difficult to go from mediocre to great than it is from awful to great (see the Orioles). They’re kind of stuck in the mud these past two seasons: too good to fold, not good enough to win, and perhaps too reliant on thinking they can get the most out of flawed players. The inability to land a franchise free agent hasn’t helped, although they probably ended up escaping a bad contract with Carlos Correa given his performance with the Twins this season. But the guys they did bring in — Mitch HanigerMichael ConfortoSean Manaea, Ross Stripling — didn’t help much, leaving president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler with the same dilemma: How do you turn a .500 team without any stars (except maybe Logan Webb) into a World Series contender?

Around Major League Baseball

As a Giants fan I have found joy and simple pleasures reading about other teams and other players. I have had to otherwise things would just be so sad because, you know, the Giants. Last night Ronald Acuna Jr. became the first player in history with forty home runs and seventy steals, an astounding season and one that will lock up his MVP award.

Last night Terry Francona managed his last game as the Guardians Manager in Cleveland. He is retiring and will certainly be in the Hall of Fame. The Guardians paid tribute to him in many ways. This article, also in The Athletic by Zack Meisel chronicles how self-effacing, funny, humble, and brilliant Francona is. It’s a beautiful piece of writing with tremendous stories from Francona’s players and fellow coaches.