The Giants’ offense is showing signs of rounding into shape, scoring 15 runs in the last two games in Philadelphia before a seven-game homestand.
But they might have just lost their best hitter for some time.
Donovan Solano, who has done nothing but hit since the Giants called him up in 2019, has a right calf strain, Gabe Kapler announced after the Giants’ 6-5 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s going to miss some time,” the manager said, adding there is a good chance the 33-year-old has to be moved to the injured list.
The reigning Silver Slugger award winner in the NL hit a two-out double in the sixth inning of a game the Giants were trailing, 3-1. Alex Dickerson volleyed a single to left that ordinarily would have meant a Giants run, with Solano free to assume the ball would drop. But instead he had to hobble to third and quickly exited the game.
The next batter, Buster Posey, flew out, and the Giants’ threat was over. They went on to lose by one run.
Of course, the loss of Solano is bigger than the game. He hit .330 in 2019, .326 last year and was at .300 before Evan Longoria had to replace him. He has been batting in the third spot in the order against lefties and righties and has played in 17 of their 18 games.
If there is a bright side to Donnie Barrels going down, it’s the fact that second base is the Giants’ deepest position.
“We have a lot of options there. It’s [Wilmer] Flores, it’s [Tommy] La Stella, it’s certainly [Mauricio] Dubon,” Kapler said over Zoom. “We’ve got some moves to make there. It sucks to lose Solano for any number of reasons, but it’s going to open up opportunity for somebody else.”
Kapler lifted Brandon Crawford from the game, too, in a “precautionary measure,” he said.
Crawford was experiencing some tightness high up in his side, closer to his armpit, Kapler said. Dubon moved over to shortstop for the ninth inning.
While the Giants do not believe it’s serious, it is notable how thin they are. Behind Dubon is no one on the big-league roster, though they recently picked up Thairo Estrada, an infielder from the Yankees, who is playing shortstop in Sacramento.
Brandon Belt (right quad) had a pinch-hit at-bat in the fifth and struck out. Kapler called it a good sign after the first baseman had to be lifted early Tuesday.
The Giants had an adventurous afternoon defensively, several balls dropping and Flores needing to dive for a pop-up.
“That’s about as difficult conditions that you can possibly play defensively,” Kapler said. “Because not only is it windy, but the wind is moving in different directions depending on the height of the popup or the fly ball.”
Darin Ruf had two plate appearances against his former team. In the first, on Tuesday, he draw a significant walk and later scored. In the second, on Wednesday, he launched a three-run homer that tied the game.
“I feel like I’m far enough removed now that those feelings and emotions, I don’t really let them drive me,” said Ruf, who was drafted by the Phillies in 2009, debuted in 2012 and was traded in 2016. “But it’s nice to come back to a place where I played quite a few games and to help this team, put them in a position to close one out down the stretch. To come up big in a situation like that, it means a lot.”