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Murph: Entering a critical stretch, now what for the Giants?



© Kirby Lee | 2023 Aug 9

If you’ve read the Giants beat writers this week, you’re well versed on the storyline of Gabe Kapler flaunting a little snappage when asked about pressing the wrong buttons in game situations. The skipper reverted to “Gabe-splaining”, a 24-carat gold phrase coined by the Leadoff Spot host and our trusted companion 6a-10a, Markus (El Chico de Agua) Boucher.

Nothing more to add to that story. We said it all this morning — Kapler’s natural bend towards condescension is a bad look when the team is scuffling, and only takes on worse hues given that Bruce Bochy just cruised through the Bay with the grace of Cary Grant, where Cary Grant a fisherman who listens to Waylon Jennings.

The dime-store prescription from the Jock Blog: Gabe might want to follow the lead of his players and practice a little mindfulness, maybe walk barefoot on the grass to reconnect to Mother Earth.

That leaves us with two words: Now what?

Hat tip to Bob Saleh and the ‘Hard Knocks’ New York Jets. This is their two-word pet phrase, and it seems particularly apropos for this crossroads in the Giants season.

Now what? — as the Giants grapple with a rudder that is spinning the wrong way; losers of eight of their past 11, losers of four consecutive series. Now what? — as the team plane touches down in Atlanta, where the Braves are playing .650 ball, where manager Brian Snitker writes down the names “Acuna”, “Olson” and “Riley” on the card (Ozzie Albies is on the IL) and where forecasts say temperatures in the 80s during Friday and Saturday, and in the 90s for the Sunday matinee, to make for a sweaty mess. 

Now what? — as then it’s on to Philadelphia where the Fightin’ Phils have figured it out and are 41-25 since June 1. I’m sure Phils fans will be happy to tell Gabe Kapler how fondly they remember him. 

And then, the Braves come to China Basin, and those guys Acuna and Olson and Riley might be joined by Albies and . . . man, oh man . . . 

Now what?

Here’s what: hang on for dear life until September 1, and rely on the shallow pool of NL contenders to give you hope. 

That’s honestly the only prescription. They say misery loves company, so the Giants can bank on the fact that of the five teams battling for the three NL wild card spots — Phillies, Giants, Cubs, Marlins, Reds — the Gigantes have a legitimate shot to be top-three in that race.

The Reds are 4-10 in August. The Marlins are 15-24 since July 1. Both teams are spinning their wheels, and the Marlins have a week of Dodgers and Padres coming up, while the Reds don’t have it easy with the Blue Jays, Angels and Diamondbacks.

The Giants may not have to do much more than hover around .500, or even a game or two below, to outlast these squads. They say hope is not a strategy, but relying on the Reds and Marlins to collapse just may be.

The Cubs, you have to respect. In addition to catching fire in the second half, their next 10 games are against the Royals, Tigers and Pirates. If it’s the Phillies, Cubs and Giants who finish as the top three NL wild card teams, in that order, so be it.

You might ask about the Diamondbacks and Padres. Fine. I’ll acknowledge their existence, but won’t waste valuable Jock Blog real estate until they make a move by early September.

Bottom line: it ain’t pretty out there. The offense is feeble. The opener strategy has lost its cute little shine. Kap is snapping. Time to don the lifejackets, sports fans, and tread water until we can see a horizon.