For the second straight night, Giants pitching coach Andrew Bailey came out as a reliever was struggling with his command and said the magic words that got the pitcher pounding the zone with strikes. If only the Giants could send one of their hitting coaches up for a chat every time they load the bases.
The lineup once again squandered opportunities against a good Padres pitcher, this time leading to a 6-2 loss that clinched the weekend series for San Diego. After striking out 16 times Friday, the Giants tacked on 12 more. A night after leaving the bases loaded twice in the late innings, they did it twice in the middle innings.
Over an eight-inning span in the two games, the Giants loaded the bases four times and managed just one run -- and that came on a double play. They had them loaded in the fourth Saturday but Wilmer Flores hit into an inning-ending double play. An inning later, Blake Snell struck out Brandon Belt with two outs and the bags packed.
Manager Gabe Kapler said he knows this group has "an elevated game" offensively in there somewhere. Right now the Giants aren't showing it.
"I don't think we've seen it consistently enough to really night after night bury teams, get that big hit, potentially change the game with a big inning," Kapler said. "We just haven't done that enough. The last couple of nights are an indication that we just have a better brand of offensive baseball in us and I trust that we'll get there because we have players that are talented enough and prepared enough to make that happen."
The offense hasn't been consistent for over a month now, and that continues to put tremendous pressure on the rotation. A game after Logan Webb paid for a fastball over the heart of the plate, Anthony DeSclafani hung a curveball to Manny Machado and gave up a three-run blast in the first. DeSclafani faced the minimum after that, but the lineup never caught up.
This was a mirror image of Friday's loss in a lot of ways, with one notable exception that just poured more salt on the wound. The Padres haven't hit their stride at the plate, either, but they poured on three runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Kapler will send ace Kevin Gausman to the hill Sunday hoping to avoid a sweep. As is, the Giants have lost back-to-back games for the first time since April 16-17. They're guaranteed of losing the series, but Kapler shook off the notion that this is any sort of big early-season test his club is failing.
"I don't think any of us are in this to pass tests," he said. "We're here to win baseball games, as many as we can, and it doesn't matter who's on the other side."