San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler previously talked about how emotionally high he was on his team’s second half of the season, even though the club was in a bit of a prolonged slump.
“We’ll get back on track,” Kapler said. “It could be a couple things that happen … or one performance. It’s going to be there. We’ll get back on track.”
Perhaps Saturday in San Diego was the turning point that Kapler’s talking about.
Carlos Rodon allowed one run in a complete game, and Wilmer Flores hit a clutch, tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth to give the Giants a 3-1 win. The victory ended the Giants’ run of five straight losses to the Padres.
“Great outing by Rodon,” Kapler said. “He was not going to be beaten.”
After his previous outing, Rodon was talking about how the Giants needed to start playing with more fire. On Saturday evening, he was talking about how “this could get us going.”
Which brings us to Sunday and the finale of the series against the Padres in San Diego.
Even with Saturday’s win, the Giants are 2-8 over the last 10 games and 5-14 over the last 19. But a second straight win Sunday would give them a split of the four-game series.
The Padres aren’t in much better shape than San Francisco. San Diego is 3-6 over its last nine games and 5-10 over the last 15.
“You want to win these series inside the division,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “Both wins and losses in division games count more. Every game against a division rival is a little more important.”
So, Sunday’s game between the Padres and Giants in San Diego takes on a little more meaning for both teams.
For the Giants, a victory would give them back-to-back wins for the first time since June 17-18 in Pittsburgh. For the Padres, it would be the type of series win that Melvin covets — and would extend their record against the Giants this season to 7-3.
In a Sunday pairing of left-handers, Alex Wood (5-7, 4.83 ERA) will start for the Giants against Padres rookie MacKenzie Gore (4-3, 3.18).
This is the second time Wood and Gore have been matched in a game this season. On May 22 in San Francisco, the Padres beat the Giants 10-1. Gore held the Giants to one run on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings to get the win. Wood gave up five runs on eight hits in three innings and took the loss.
Wood will make his 16th start of the season Sunday and his third against the Padres. He is 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA against them this season, giving up seven runs on 13 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
Wood is 0-2 and the Giants are 0-3 over his last three starts, although he held Arizona to one run on four hits over five innings on Tuesday. In his last three starts, Wood has given up 10 runs on 15 hits over 11 2/3 innings.
Gore will make his 13th start of the season and will face the Giants for the second time in his career.
The 23-year-old has rebounded from two bad starts against the Colorado Rockies (14 runs on 14 hits in a total of 6 1/3 innings) to regain his sharpness over his last two games, holding the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers to one run on eight hits and eight walks over 10 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media