Giants notes: Kapler, umpire explain odd sequence vs. Royals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — The game-winning rally in the eighth inning Sunday kept the Giants from getting swept at home by the Kansas City Royals. It also kept them from being even more upset about a strange sequence the inning before.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, home plate umpire Dan Iassogna signaled to the press box that Blake Sabol would be pinch-hitting for Austin Wynns — and then all hell broke loose.
At about the same time, acting Kansas City Royals manager Paul Hoover and a trainer had come out to check on reliever Carlos Hernandez, who looked uncomfortable on the previous pitch. After throwing some warmup pitches, Hernandez started to walk off the mound as lefty reliever Ryan Yarbrough entered from the visiting bullpen. But then Hernandez returned to the mound and Yarbrough retreated to the bullpen, only to return and enter the game.
The whole time, Gabe Kapler and the Giants bench had been looking for an explanation, with the manager showing his frustration after he walked back to the dugout knowing that his team was stuck with the wrong matchup.
Following a 3-1 win in the series finale, Kapler explained that it boiled down to Sabol being incorrectly announced as a pinch-hitter. The Giants would have preferred that Wynns, a right-handed hitter, would face the left-handed Yarbrough. But Sabol had already been put into the game.
“Traditionally we’ll wait to point the player into the game until the last second,” Kapler said. “That’s to make sure that they’re not going to make the move before you point your pinch-hitter into the game. There was some confusion between me and the umpire because I never pointed Blake into the game.”
Some of that confusion came from Sabol himself, who told Iassogna that he was entering for Wynns. Kapler said he would talk to the rookie about that. But Iassogna admitted after the game that he didn’t handle it correctly.
“I looked over, and I saw Gabe looking at me, but I should have verified with Gabe and waited for him to point him into the game, but I didn’t,” Iassogna told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I just saw (Kapler) looking at me and I heard (Sabol) say it. I mistakenly pointed him into the game right away.”
Iassogna went and talked to Hoover about the mistake and that’s when the Royals turned back to their right-handed reliever. The umpire then went and asked Kapler who he wanted up against Hernandez and he said he wanted Sabol to have a left-on-right matchup.
“I put Sabol in the game. And then power of the defense, they’re allowed to (make a change),” Iassogna said. “Now, (Sabol) is definitely in the game and now (Hoover) can make a pitching change.”
It was all very confusing, but ended up about where it would have. Kapler used a left-handed pinch-hitter and the Royals, after several minutes, got their lefty in the game. Yarbrough struck out Sabol to end the inning, but the Giants would have preferred that he would have come in for the injured Hernandez from the start, allowing them to keep Wynns in the game.
“It didn’t necessarily work out in our favor,” Kapler said. “All things considered, I think it probably should have. There’s a lot of nuance there.”
It all worked out for the Giants in the end. Yarbrough stayed in for the next inning and the Giants scored three runs. The game lasted just two hours, 15 minutes, and that was including a lengthy sequence that could have been avoided.
“It’s a little thing. If I had just waited for (Kapler) to point, it would have saved about two minutes,” Iassogna said. “I guess I’ll call the league and say, ‘If we’re two minutes over, you’re going to have to blame me for that one.’ It was a simple thing I should have done and didn’t, but we righted the wrong. Yeah, it worked.
“It was a very small mistake that turned into a two-minute delay — and I’ll tell you, we go so quickly now, two minutes feels like 10 minutes.”
— At 2:15, the game was the shortest of the Giants season by eight minutes. Last season, they had just one game go under 2:20, a pitcher’s duel between Logan Webb and Sean Manaea that was over in 2:11.
— Through two starts, Anthony DeSclafani has allowed just one earned run, with 11 strikeouts to no walks. His sinker repeatedly hit 94 mph against the Royals and he topped 95 a couple times times. DeSclafani said afterward that his pitches are “doing what they did in 2021.”
“That was encouraging,” he said of the start. “It’s nice to see. Hopefully that stays the same from here on out and hopefully progressively gets a little bit better.”
DeSclafani was nearly an All-Star in 2021 but an ankle injury wrecked his second season with the Giants and he ended up having midseason surgery. Thus far, he’s been the most effective pitcher on the staff.
— Joey Bart was 1-for-4 in his second rehab game and could return from a strained back as soon as Monday. Gary Sanchez started behind the plate for Triple-A Sacramento but went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Sanchez is 1-for-7 in two minor league games so far and likely will need a few more before he’s considered an option behind the plate.
Source: Yahoo Sports