There was little hedging or whitewashing from a Giants veteran who hasn’t tasted the postseason in seven years.
Evan Longoria had made postseason play a habit with Tampa that began his rookie year of 2008. He was back in 2010, ’11 and ’13, trips that never ended in the World Series.
He knows what it takes to get to October, and he knows the performance he just witnessed would not be good enough.
“We have to find a way to clean that up the last week,” Longoria said over Zoom after the Giants’ sloppy, 6-0 loss to the A’s at the Coliseum. “Or else we’ll be going the other direction.”
The Giants have gone the other direction in two straight in Oakland, getting shut out in back-to-back contests and the offense lacking a pulse, the baserunning occasionally lacking IQ and the defense sometimes lacking competency.
Donovan Solano became the face of Saturday’s disappointment, running the club out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth in what was a 0-0 game. They finally had a threat, with two on and two outs, when Mauricio Dubon hit a dribbler that he beat out. Solano took too long of a break off third, though, and Matt Olson threw across the diamond to nab him. The Giants would not mount much of a threat afterward.
“When you run into some tough pitching, it’s not going to always go as planned offensively. I think we’ve squandered the opportunities that we have had,” said Longoria, whose Giants have done nothing against Chris Bassitt and Jesus Luzardo. “And obviously if we want to play in the playoffs, we have to be able to beat good pitching. We have to be able to find ways to continue to get on base and get some timely hitting. The last two games have been disappointing to say the least.”
The Giants are now 5-16 against clubs with winning records (the A’s, Padres and Dodgers). The baserunning lapses have been an occasional issue, the hitting (which lacked Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford on Saturday) often disappearing against top-flight opponents.
The defense was an early-season problem that is becoming a late-season problem because of injuries. Without Yastrzemski and an Austin Slater who can throw, they had Darin Ruf in left and Dubon in center, both of whom made the seventh inning into a circus.
Gabe Kapler believed the Oakland sun for the matinee played a role in Ruf dropping one ball (though recording an out at second) and another glancing off his glove while he was sliding, going for a Marcus Semien RBI double.
Dubon, meanwhile, misplayed a Tommy La Stella flyball into a triple, believing he was up against the wall before the wall had arrived.
“We’re asking a lot out of some guys out in the outfield,” said Longoria accurately, as the Giants, absent a Steven Duggar or Jaylin Davis summons, don’t have much depth left. “But it is a little bit demoralizing when you feel like there’s some plays that should be made and are not.”
Longoria said he is not aware of where the Giants are in the standings, and he might want to hold off on checking. The Giants dropped out of a tie for the eighth and final postseason spot and fell below .500 (25-26) before the Reds (26-26) faced off with the White Sox on Saturday.
What he does know is the team will have to win. The Giants have one more at the Coliseum before eight at Oracle Park, split between a Rockies team they need to tear apart and a mighty Padres club.
“There is an understanding that we need to win a lot of games here down the stretch. We’re not going to be able to limp in,” said the 34-year-old third baseman, who said the clubhouse feels about the same as it has all year.
But maybe it’s time for a gut check.
“This may be the time where, in one of those meetings, we have to address those things and say we’ve got however many games, we got left a week and a half or whatever it is,” Longoria said, the season ending next Sunday. “If we want to end up where we think we can, we have to do those things right.”