The Giants will board a flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday, leaving a bubble that has kept them safe for three weeks. It's a nerve-wracking time behind the scenes, but under Oracle Park's lights Tuesday night, the players made sure their manager can sleep a bit easier.
The Giants beat the A's 4-2, taking both games of this exhibition series. It was the perfect way to go into the season, and they need all the confidence they can get right now. Clayton Kershaw and the heavily favored Dodgers are waiting.
For now, all is good though. Here are three takeaways from the first night back at Oracle.
Look, these are exhibitions ... but the A's sent out their big bats in these two games and Giants pitching handled the challenge pretty easily. They used 18 pitchers to get through 18 innings the past two nights, holding the A's to four total runs on six hits. Most of the good work was done by guys fighting for bullpen jobs.
Tyler Rogers started as the opener Tuesday and cruised, striking out MVP candidates Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman in the first.
Opener Tyler Rogers strikes out Semien for the first out of the game 😯 pic.twitter.com/XaTriPN2VX— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 22, 2020
Sam Coonrod was also a standout, striking out two in a scoreless inning and hitting 99 mph.
The Giants will have an anonymous bullpen for most baseball fans, but they also believe it will be pretty good. This was a positive step.
The Giants went to a four-man outfield in the first inning Monday night when lefty Matt Olson was at the plate and Kevin Gausman struck him out. Gausman said the setup was a little weird, but the numbers show it works.
"All it's going to take is a guy to bunt over there a couple times and we'll probably stop doing it," Gausman said. "Up to that point, let's use it to our advantage."
Olson must have the #MyTeams app, because he looked like he had seen the quote when the Giants shifted again Tuesday night. He put down a bunt for an easy single. Manager Gabe Kapler joined the broadcast in the third inning and said he might take a different approach during the season.
"We really do want to just use this opportunity to try some new things," Kapler said. "Make sure that our infielders are flexible and they can move around the diamond a little bit."
An easy decision?
A lot of rules have changed, but the Giants still have to put Dany Jimenez on their Opening Day roster and keep him there if they want to keep the Rule 5 pick's rights. Jimenez did not have a good spring, but his velocity has ticked back up over the last three weeks. He had a shutout inning Tuesday and hit 95 mph several times while showing off a good, hard curveball.
Kapler said the evaluation of Jimenez is "coming down to the wire" but added he's a "very good candidate to be in our bullpen."
"We know there's a commitment here (if we keep him), and at the same time what our pro scouting director and international scouting director saw in Dany we know is still in there," Kapler said.