Giants Unable to Keep Up With Slugging Cubs - NBC Bay Area

Giants Unable to Keep Up With Slugging Cubs

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    Giants Unable to Keep Up With Slugging Cubs
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    Evan Longoria #10 and Scooter Gennett #14 of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after Longoria hit a home run in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

    You're forgiven if you lost track of everything that happened at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night for the Giants.

    A 12-11 loss to the Cubs was one of the wildest games of the year, one in which both starters got rocked, both bullpens buckled, and seven balls left the yard. It was the first time since 2002 that these two teams faced off and each scored double-digit runs.

    The final blow, a two-run shot by Kris Bryant off Reyes Moronta, decided the game and put the Giants in a difficult spot. Here are three takeaways from the second night at Coors Field By The Lake:

    A Tough Spot: It's pretty amazing that the Giants played well enough for a stretch to get into the Wild Card discussion, but the climb is once again really, really steep.

    Even before this game, FanGraphs gave the Giants just a 1.4 percent chance of grabbing a wild-card spot, and they're further back after dropping the first two against one of the many teams they're chasing. The problem with trailing so many teams is that on any given night at least one or two of them is going to win. It's hard to make up ground, and the Giants failed to do so Wednesday.

    The four teams at the top of the NL Wild Card race all won Wednesday. The Cubs have the second spot currently, and the Giants are 5 1/2 games back. They're 6 1/2 back of the Nationals with just 35 to play. These guys did what they had to do against the Diamondbacks, taking three of four, but this series in Chicago was the big one on the trip, and so far the Giants have dropped two games to a team they need to catch.

    A Sneaky Timeshare: It's gone under the radar, but Buster Posey and Stephen Vogt have come pretty close to splitting time this month. Vogt made his 10th start of August on Wednesday night and has 48 at-bats in the month. Posey has started 12 games this month and has 49 at-bats.

    Vogt has provided another power bat against righties and helped spur the sixth-inning comeback, ending a long at-bat against Yu Darvish with a two-run blast to right. He tied the game in the seventh with an RBI single up the middle. There's a reason he's playing so often.

    Another Find? The Giants put Jandel Gustave on the 40-man roster in July but didn't call him up right away. They saw something in the right-hander and wanted to keep him in the organization, and lately, the rest of us have seen why they were excited.

    Gustave came one pitch away from throwing an immaculate inning and calmed things down with a perfect seventh. He struck out two, lowering his ERA to 1.32 in 10 appearances.

    The 26-year-old primarily relies on a fastball that sits 97-98 most nights and led to three swinging strikes out of his 14 pitches Wednesday. He has allowed just eight hits in 13 2/3 innings since a promotion and has worked his way into a bigger role. With a few more like this one, he could be a true late-innings guy for Bochy down the stretch, and given the way the bullpen looks right now, maybe the Giants should take a long look and see what Gustave can offer for 2020.

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