Giants

Giants' three home runs in win over Washington pleases Bruce Bochy

Giants' three home runs in win over Washington pleases Bruce Bochy

WASHINGTON D.C. -- There will be a fair amount of talk over the coming months about the possibility of fences moving in at Oracle Park, but simply sticking a couple of bullpens in Triples Alley won't solve the lineup's biggest problem. 

The power drain has traveled in recent seasons. 

The Giants finished 13th in the National League with 80 road homers in 2017 and dead last in 2018 with just 73. Players will tell you this is in part because their swings get tailored to Oracle Park, where anything that gets up too high in the air in right field will get knocked down. 

"You can't change your swing back and forth," Brandon Belt said Tuesday afternoon.

No, but you certainly can take advantage of the nights away from Third and King, and the Giants did that Tuesday while kicking off their first road trip outside the division. Belt, Evan Longoria and Steven Duggar all homered off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth and sixth, sparking a 7-3 win over the Nats

“Last year, we couldn’t figure it out on the road in some hitters’ parks,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This one is somewhat fair but it’s good to see us hit the long ball on the road. That’s going to be big for us.”

With three homers already, the Giants are close to matching their five on the season-opening seven-game trip. They had just four three-homer games on the road last year and two game at Coors Field and one at Chase Field. Nationals Park is considered to be one of the more fair ballparks in the National League, but the Giants made it look small for a few minutes. 

Longoria kicked it off with a game-tying oppo shot in the fifth. Like Longoria, Duggar jumped on a fastball and went the opposite way to make it a three-run inning. It was the second of the year for the leadoff hitter, who has gotten off to a slow start. 

“I know I’m at my best when I’m driving the ball to the opposite field,” Duggar said. “You make a couple adjustments a couple days ago, stay with it, stick with it, and eventually something good happens. That was just the thought process and you let it ride.”

[RELATED: Watch pitch that broke Bart's hand]

An inning later, Belt padded the lead by yanking a low screamer into the home bullpen. 

Duggar's might have been the only one to sneak out at Oracle Park, but the Giants won't worry about that. They have eight games on this important trip, and they'll need all the power they can get to support what has thus far been a very good pitching staff.
 

Giants encouraged by how players are handling early safety protocols

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USATSI

Giants encouraged by how players are handling early safety protocols

The owners and players don't appear to be any closer to a resolution that will allow baseball to return to the field this summer, but behind the scenes, the Giants haven't allowed that to be too discouraging. They know that at any moment they might get word that they have to rush to San Francisco for Spring Training 2.0, and they're trying to stay ready.

While players have mostly been diligently working out at home since camp ended in March, the Giants quietly opened up their Scottsdale facility last month to further ramp things up. Players who live in the area have been allowed to come in to work out, although there is a limit on how many staffers can be in the building at one time and visits are staggered to allow for proper distancing. 

During a recent appearance on KNBR, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said he was encouraged by the way players are going about their workouts when allowed into the facility, calling it a positive development. 

"One of the realities of our situation is it's going to be a different experience for players and staff coming to the ballpark," Zaidi said. "What it means to even get in the front door, frankly, but then what it's going to look like inside. For us to be able to ramp that facility up and in very limited numbers have people coming through, players coming through, going through individual workouts, it's exposed them to what it's going to be like."

If the game resumes, the ramp-up from this point will be significant. The Giants are talking every day about what a shortened season might look like, sharing ideas on how to allow the players and coaches to properly train. 

While the organization has not fully decided if their three-week training period will take place at Scottsdale Stadium or Oracle Park, the strong lean is to return to San Francisco. While Scottsdale Stadium provides an extra field, more bullpen mounds, and a new state-of-the-art weight room and training facility, Giants employees believe that San Francisco is safer overall, having made a much stronger commitment to trying to flatten the curve. A few high-ranking team employees who stayed in Arizona originally have returned to the Bay Area.

Oracle Park is unmatched as a baseball stadium, but there will be complications for a second spring training and shortened season. The Giants have talked about putting up temporary batting cages in the concourses and creating new clubhouse and changing spaces to spread players and coaches out. 

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, and if the Giants get word that baseball is returning, it'll be a wild scramble to get everything in place. It'll be something unlike anything players have been through before, but the early signs are encouraging. 

[RELATED: What shortened season would have looked like for 2019 Giants]

"Our players that have come through (Scottsdale Stadium) have been awesome with complying with all the rules, some which I'm sure seem a little bit onerous under the circumstances, but again it's just the reality of the situation that we're in," Zaidi said. "We're going to have to do this on a much grander scale if we get going here in a couple of weeks. Seeing the players being so bought-in to the safety protocols we put in place, that's been a real encouraging sign, because we're going to need that on a broad scale."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ever wonder where, how baseball's 'rally cap' tradition got started?

Ever wonder where, how baseball's 'rally cap' tradition got started?

It’s only weird if it doesn’t work. 

Something as silly as the “rally cap” might not be around as much as it was during our little league days, but it still gets some play. All thanks to the 1945 Detroit Tigers.

That’s right, a quick inside out, flip-of-the-hat created this energy to help the Baseball Gods try to turn around a game.

This particular case, it led to the Tigers winning the World Series.

The rally-cap ways would disappear until the late 70s with the Texas Rangers, and once again when it helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series.

You can watch how the idea came to be in the video above. 

Whatever works.

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