For the first two games of this series, I wrote the recap during the game. I absolutely learned my lesson there. The recaps I was writing well into the ninth inning of those games were glowing, singling out impressive Giants performances and heroes we could give a chuck on the chin for a job well done.
Then Trevor Gott blew two catastrophic, historical ninth-inning leads in two straight games. In the moment on Saturday’s game — in the moment — many questions Kapler’s decision to send Gott back out in a save situation the day after giving up a backbreaking blown save in his longest outing of the year, even with a cushion of a few runs. The Giants managed to do the decent thing and get blown out on Sunday, but pretty much everyone assumed that, even though there aren’t a lot of options available, certainly Kapler wouldn’t be turning to Gott in a save situation again any time soon. That’s not any way to build confidence, either for Gott or for his teammates.
And then on Monday night, with a one-run lead and three outs to get against one of the most fearsome lineups in baseball, Gabe Kapler sent Trevor Gott to the mound to get a save.
The Angels defeated the Giants in the series opener by a final score of 7-6.
Brandon Belt homered for the second straight game, a two-run affair that was his only hit of the ballgame, despite making hard contact all night. He didn’t necessarily prove he deserves to be entrenched in the cleanup spot, but he didn’t look woefully out of place like some of the other Giants batters this year have.
Several other Giants had solid nights at the plate. Mauricio Dubón had a pair of hits, which, as Jon Miller noted, sent his batting average skyrocketing to .267
Mike Yastrzemski also had a pair of hits, driving in a pair that gave the Giants the lead. That lead didn’t hold up, by the way.
And Donovan Solano went 1-for-3 to start a new hitting streak.
There’s been talk that Gabe Kapler has already lost the locker room by managing to manage a dreadful bullpen even more dreadfully than it looks on paper. As a result of his decisions and timing, “Trevor Gott” is going to end up being a bad word among Giants fans, which isn’t at all his fault. Well, not entirely his fault, anyway. He was pitching a heck of an inning when David Fletcher poked a two-strike ball past Belt and then Tommy La Stella busted a 1-2 pitch over the center field wall for the walkoff.
The mercy is that Mike Trout was waiting on deck to face Gott when La Stella homered, and we all know that the violence Trout would have inflicted upon that poor, doomed pitcher would have ended Trevor Gott’s entire bloodline in both directions.
A small kindness.
Back to Kapler for a moment: there is a belief among many fans that this is a tank job (and if so, an admirable one) in a season that the front office is viewing as a lost cause anyway, and that there’s nothing Kapler would be able to do this year that would get him fired in 2020.
What a horrifying thought.