MIAMI — Manager Gabe Kapler’s mantra has been to protect his starting pitchers, but with three first moves to the bullpen over the last four games, it’s hard to say he’s had the desired effect.
Every time Kapler has gone into the bullpen with his starter below 100 pitches, in addition to using an opener on Friday, the move has backfired. In the most recent example of Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Marlins, Kapler opted not to give his ace Logan Webb the chance to go last in the fifth inning while holding a two-leg lead. points, and his replacement, John Brebbia, immediately awarded a simple equaliser.
The Marlins passed ninth reliever Tyler Rogers, guaranteeing no better than a .500 record on that 10-game swing through three Eastern cities that featured three teams with losing records. Luke Williams, who was designated for an assignment and traded to Miami two weeks ago, scored the winning run on a sack fly after San Francisco deployed an unconventional five-man infield once he reached third base.
In a clash of two top starters, neither was considered in Saturday’s decision.
The Giants scored Marlins ace Pablo López early, but the Marlins rallied for four runs in the fifth inning and chased Webb out of the game, and Miami prevailed in a bullpen battle. Webb had thrown 87 pitches and allowed no hits until the previous inning. He was one out of the mound with a 4-2 lead after five innings.
But Kapler turned to Brebbia after Webb threw a four-length walk at Jazz Chisholm Jr., and Garrett Cooper threw a 3-2 fastball the other way that drove Chisholm and Jon Berti and tied the game at 4.
Webb wasted no time in chatting after handing the ball to Kapler and took a step towards the dugout, where he would watch the rest of the game. He had allowed three quick hits to start the fifth but was disappointed in his defense, when catcher Joey Bart made the decision to pitch when Berti took second with Jesus Sanchez in third. Bart’s pitch landed in the dirt and Sanchez was able to drive home from third for the second run of the inning.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly stuck with López, after the Giants rallied for four runs in the third and fourth innings, and the Marlins ace found his form to strike out the Giants’ next nine batters. he faced.
In his last start, Webb had eight effective innings against the Phillies and Kapler gave him the chance to finish the full game. That too backfired, as Webb allowed a game-tying home run in the ninth, but it was hard to fault a manager for having faith in his ace.
Likewise, Kapler is unlikely to have caught the eye for leaving Webb to finish fifth on Saturday, even though Cooper had laced the exact same two-point single.
But Kapler turned to Brebbia, rather than giving Webb a chance to get out of the inning.
Brebbia became the third reliever in four games to immediately give up runs after coming in for a Giants starter. During the series opener in Miami on Thursday, Alex Wood said he thought he was lifted too soon after Kapler turned to Camilo Doval with one out in the sixth, and Doval allowed two runs on two hits . In Wednesday’s series finale in Philadelphia, Carlos Rodón had allowed an earned run in five innings — and had just completed his best inning — when Kapler turned to Jarlín García, who blew a header while giving up four points on two circuits.
For the majority of his outing, Webb appeared to be winning the battle of front starters. Although he only recorded eight swings and misses — five with his change — he had struck out six and allowed just two base runners in four innings.
The bottom of the Giants’ order led in their four runs against Lopez as they built a 4-0 lead.
Jason Vosler, the No. 8 hitter, homered for the second straight game for the Giants’ first run in the third inning.
Donovan Walton, the No. 7 batter, cleared the bases the next inning with a double down the left field line, after Joc Pederson started with a double sack and the Giants charged the bases with a pair of steps.