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Villar shines, just not bright enough

David Villar hit his 2nd and 3rd home runs of the series, but a thin bullpen coughed up a big inning to the Dodgers in a 7-3 loss

David Villar rounds third after hitting a home run in a San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers game. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Giants lost 7-4 to the Dodgers on Wednesday…but, like, who cares? The season isn’t really about win-loss records, us vs them, or those arbitrary run totals anymore. September 2022 is just the start of the 2023 preseason for our San Francisco Giants. Yeah it’d be nice to beat the Diamondbacks in the division standings, but who looks at those anyway?

Honestly, embarrassing for the Dodgers that this game was tied in the 8th inning. Taking two-games out of three instead of a series sweep? The heat’s getting to them.

I hope you’re reading my flippancy as an extremely shallow defense mechanism attempting to hide my extreme anxieties about the future of this club as the division foot rest. I can not help but care deeply about beating Los Angeles. I am a caveman. My past five Octobers have been consumed not by the joys of crisp fall weather or the mingling scents of apple cider and pumpkin spice but malice and spite for this team down south.

The mindset is not healthy, nor is the vehemence productive. With the game knotted up at 3 going into the 8th inning, I wasn’t stoked that Kapler sent out reliever Zach Littell out for a second inning of work. I especially wasn’t stoked when Austin Barnes singled to lead off the inning, or when he advanced into scoring position on a Mookie Betts groundout and Littell remained in the game, or when Barnes scored on a Trea Turner double and Littell remained in the game to face Freddie Freeman, who walked and no, I wasn’t particularly chuffed when Littell remained in the game to face Max Muncy who hit a three run homer. It was then that Gabe Kapler pulled Littell.

In normal or ideal circumstances an overworked Littell doesn’t go out for the 8th, but the circumstances weren’t normal, nor were they ideal.

The Giants threw a bullpen game yesterday because Alex Wood is on the IL and they have a double-header in Milwaukee tomorrow because of the season delay way back in April.

Lefty Alex Young had pitched in the 6th and Jarlín García was tagged for 5 runs the day before. Scott Alexander was Kap’s only left-handed option who was “a little banged up” and only wanted to bring him if San Francisco had a lead.

The options were thin. Littell pitching in the 7th already limited his availability for the doubleheader so it made sense to just roll him out again and see if he could get through the right-handed bats of Barnes, Betts and Turner.

I guess we have to admire Kap for not letting his emotions cloud his judgment in today’s game. The logic is sound, but the primal, neanderthal part of me wants to knock a club against my head and demand enemy blood. I want to stop at nothing to bring down Los Angeles, even if it means cooking the bullpen and potentially trading a win for two losses in order to add to our franchise head-to-head record.

Sure this season is toast, but doesn’t Kapler know the Giants are locked in an epic battle spanning 150 years and two and a half thousand games? A win against the Dodgers is worth a hundred wins against Milwaukee. Don’t tell me this game doesn’t matter!

Does BEAT LA mean nothing anymore???

I digress. Let the fans be fanatics—in the grand scheme of things it’s good we have a manager who keeps a level-head and looks after his players.

Side note: Did you know Austin Barnes has a 1.099 OPS against the Giants this season? Did you know this about Max Muncy?

Since this is the 2023 pre-pre-season, I gotta take some time to get hyped on David Villar. The rookie homered twice (once off Clayton Kershaw), reached base thrice and knocked in all of the Giants runs while playing first base on Wednesday.

During his first stint in the Majors, which lasted 23 games, Villar collected 11 hits, 7 RBIs and hit 1 home run. In this 3 game series, he went 6 for 8, with 5 RBIs and 3 home runs. Villar has discovered his big league swing and it’s an easy-breezy one at that—with clean power to the opposite field.

Yeah yeah the ball was jumping in the triple digit temperatures, but Villar’s homers were no-doubters. As pure and as clean as they come…but Justin Turner got lucky. This Alex Cobb splitter below the strike zone had no business traveling 394 feet.

Dave Roberts blamed the wind so I’m blaming the heat.

School started today. Summer is over and I’m feeling petty this evening.

Go Giants, boo Dodgers, always and forever.