Camilo Doval went a perfect 11-for-11 for saves in May, earning himself his third career Reliever of the Month Award.
Doval, 25, posted a 1.32 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched in the month. His 14 saves on the season leads the National League.
“I feel very proud of it,” Doval said Friday. “I’ve won three already. For me personally, I feel very proud because it shows that I’m doing what I want to do, what I set out to do, which is save games. I feel like whatever you put your mind to, you’re able to do. That’s what I’m doing this year.”
Doval started the month with seven consecutive hitless appearances. Against the Phillies, he became the first Giant to record all three saves in a three-game series sweep since Sergio Romo in 2013.
“I think it’s a well-deserved award,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He killed it in May. He continues to improve as a reliever for us. Few things that he continues to work on, but for the most part he’s throwing a ton of strikes, getting swing-and-misses, he’s been very durable for us. Every day, we ask the question — is he available for four outs? Because if one of our other relievers is kind of on the ropes, it’s not bad to be able to bring Camilo into a game to put out a fire. He’s been very dependable and would expect more of the same going forward as he continues to make adjustments.”
The closer has one of his three Reliever of the Month trophies with him in the home clubhouse, and the other two are on display in his Dominican Republic home, Doval said.
“The ones I have at home, every time I see it, it just makes me smile,” Doval said. “Makes me feel proud of myself, of all the sacrifices I’ve made. People that come and visit me and see it, they ask ‘what is that for?’ I just say go ahead and read it — it’ll tell you right there what it’s for.”
Doval struck out 15.5 batters per nine innings in May, sixth among all relievers. Felix Bautista, who’s in town for the weekend as the Orioles’ closer, led all relievers in the month with a wild 19.58 K/9 rate. And Yennier Cano, Bautista’s breakout setup man, led all relievers in May WAR (0.8).
That means three of baseball’s filthiest relievers will take the mound in Oracle Park this series.
On the season, Doval has a 2.19 ERA. Just two years ago, in 2021, Doval joined the Giants’ bullpen during their 107-win season. He got promoted despite having a 4.99 ERA at Triple-A while walking seven batters per nine innings.
But Doval hasn’t looked back since he got the chance. He grabbed the closer role in 2021 and dominated hitters with a triple-digits cutter and a wicked slider. During last season, he added a two-seamer to his already lethal arsenal. Doval uncorked the fastest pitch ever thrown by a Giant last season.
“It’s a pretty impressive rise from where he was at the minor league level — which was kind of a good, solid reliever with a great arm — to now being one of the premier relievers in baseball,” Kapler said. “Pretty impressive.”
- Michael Conforto tested out his heel both in the batting cage and in the outfield before Friday’s game. He said he’s still sore, but is working to manage the pain and will listen to how it responds. After hitting in the cage, he said the heel felt good, but the bigger test would be sprinting and stopping.
Conforto isn’t in the starting lineup for a second straight game. Manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants are trying to get Conforto ready to come off the bench as soon as Friday. While that may be unrealistic, an injured list stint seems unlikely.
- Joey Bart (groin) is catching five innings for the River Cats to begin his rehab assignment Friday night. The catcher will work with top prospect Kyle Harrison.
Asked if Patrick Bailey’s success with the Giants allows the organization to slow-play Bart’s recovery, Kapler demurred.
“I don’t really see it as anything other than making sure Joey is physically healthy and ready to do good work at the Major League level, and then making a decision at that point,” Kapler said. “I don’t know how long that’s going to take, but we first and foremost just need Joey to be fully healthy and prepared to help our team win.”
- Joc Pederson (hand) will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday and Ross Stripling (back) is scheduled to throw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Friday, per the team. Infielder Thairo Estrada (wrist) has begun his hitting progression and will ramp up fielding this weekend. There’s optimism that his stay on the IL won’t be too extended.