Duane Kuiper is the one who first coined "torture" for the Giants and their fan base, and the second night of a sweep at Citi Field certainly qualified.
The Giants nearly blew a lead in the ninth when Brandon Belt dropped a foul pop-up and Austin Slater and Alex Dickerson miscommunicated on a fly ball to left-center, loading the bases for the dangerous Pete Alonso. But right there in the middle of the storm was the man who looked as calm as anyone in the ballpark.
Jake McGee didn't flinch, firing fastballs at Alonso until he popped up to second. After clinching his 29th save, McGee didn't really celebrate. He just turned and walked slowly back over the mound to greet Curt Casali.
As Kuiper watched it all, he was reminded of two former Giants closers who also kept their cool in the tightest moments. On Thursday's Giants Talk, he explained how McGee brings back memories of Robb Nen and Rod Beck.
"Robb Nen acted the same way, like he didn't really have a heartbeat, but you could tell that he did," Kuiper said. "He wasn't a guy that celebrated like a lot of closers do when they get their save. (Sergio) Romo celebrated a lot, (Santiago) Casilla not so much, Brian Wilson had his moments when he would celebrate, but Robb Nen was like, 'got him,' walk off the mound, shake somebody's hand and then he would just move on to worry about the next time he would have to go out there."
"Rod Beck showed some emotion. In really big, big games, he would show a lot of emotion, but he was also a guy that didn't look like he had much of a heartbeat, so Nen and Rod Beck were the two guys that probably most remind me of Jake McGee."
After the game on Wednesday, McGee said he knew the ball was coming out of his hand well so he just focused on executing his pitches.
"Just try to slow it down and be focused," he said. "Especially when it's a one-run game and the big hitter is coming up. You've got to slow it down."
McGee has done a great job of that in his first year with the Giants. He has a 2.63 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 57 appearances and is averaging more than a strikeout per inning. After a lengthy inning Wednesday, McGee got some rest a night later as Tyler Rogers easily picked up his 12th save. The two have helped the Giants go 62-5 when leading after seven innings.
"If Rogers and McGee get a day off every once in a while you can see how much impact it has the next two times they're out (there)," Kuiper said. "The fact that both of those guys had two days off -- the off day and then the laugher (on Tuesday) -- really made a difference (Wednesday). Rogers was really sharp, really sharp, and he had the tough part of the lineup. It helps that Gabe and the coaching staff are watching how to use those guys, and when they're forced to use them obviously then they have to, but two days off really was beneficial."