The Giants went out east and swept the Nationals in the District last week, which made this a little less painful, because the G-men won the season series against the Nats, four games to two. The team was dealing with numerous players out to Covid-positivity after the road trip. But Gabe Kapler and his staff have been facile and adept at moving players around the diamond and bringing up guys from the minors – not just to maintain team WAR, but also to continue the current tactical approach: see who can fit where and what they can do in specific situations.
Nationals 14, Giants 4
Alex Wood had a rough outing in this one and took the loss, he’s (2-1). Wood gave up a solo shot to Juan Soto in the first and five earned runs in total in his five innings. The Giants kept it close early, with a homer by Jason Vosler that brought home Austin Slater who had bunted to third to get on – small ball! But they couldn’t muster enough against the Nationals’ Aaron Sanchez, who got the win. Joey Bart hit another homer though, which was a bright spot.
Nats bats preyed on the Giants for 11 hits in 23 opportunities with runners in scoring position. They touched up Yunior Marte, Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Beede and Kervin Castro out of the ‘pen, but Mauricio Llovera, in his first action in relief, was good – gave up two hits, struck out two and held the Nats scoreless in an inning. Llovera, called up for the C-19 absence of Zach Littell and Dominic Leone, showed promise.
A Note about the Unwritten Rules stuff: The Nats may have run up the score because of their distaste for our performance in the District. But we made no big deal of it, which was perfect. It’s like we taught them to be more aggressive for one game and to erase the stupid unwritten rules. Instead of getting our hackles up, we just plodded on, took the L, shook hands and said, “Good game.” Love it. Rising above the pettiness is always cool in the GBC book.
Giants 9 Nationals 3
Logan Webb actually struggled a bit in this one, giving up three earned, but the Giants kept him in it. Thairo Estrada continued his hot-hitting ways with a two-RBI double. Mauricio Dubon got on the board with an RBI and then the guys had another one of their explosive innings scoring four in the sixth. Jason Vosler had a splash homer and the aforementioned Mauricio Llovera had a three-up, three-down ninth in a non-save situation. The call-ups were good.
Nationals 11, Giants 5
Alex Cobb came back from the strain he endured in New York, but maybe he shouldn’t have, because he couldn’t get out of the first. In just two-thirds of an inning, he gave up three walks and the Nats hammered him for five hits, scoring five. He couldn’t get out of the inning and it proved too deep a hole to climb out of. The Giants preyed on the Nats bullpen to try to keep it respectable, but Yunior Marte and Jake McGee had terrible outings for the G-men in relief and the Nationals pulled away.
Takeaways from the Nats Series
Ever since the Irregular Season, Kap and Co., have shown incredible resilience during trying off-field circumstances – from fires and bad air quality to injury and covid-plagued weeks. I am impressed by the new philosophy that keeps a flexible attitude about moving guys up and down from the minors and shifting players all around the diamond to improve their utility and keep us in it. It is hard to quantify, but if you watch the Giants every day, you can see it in the little things.
Alex Cobb may not be the guy we thought he was. He had a great first outing, but hasn’t been so hot since. Things were humming along and the Giants looked good in his second start, on the road in New York, when all of a sudden, with no real warning, Alex Cobb was injured. He pulled up unable to throw properly in the fifth. This was the first outing since the 34-year-old starter went on the 10-day injured list with that right adductor strain. It may be worth sending him down to get rest and reps against lesser competition for a while.
The Giants have hella relievers that can keep opponents scoreless and keep the guys in the game. Managing them is a complicated, seemingly irrational madhouse. But there is method to the madness that sometimes we cannot see as fans. This requires trusting Kap and Co. more than I am used to, but I have to say, I understand it.
Giants bats can explode an inning with the new philosophy of aggressiveness and they have consistently done so in this young season. Couple that with the philosophy of the ‘pen, and you realize this team is being built to believe they are always in any game, that they can win any game, score be damned. I like it.
Time to face the Bums.