There are plenty of MLB rules that fans agree or disagree with. To some, the game is changing for the worse. Pitchers can’t do their job, and neither can managers. In a well-intentioned effort to speed up the game, MLB officials have made the whole process infuriating to some baseball traditionalists. So there are plenty of rules that could be improved. But the extra innings automatic runner rule is not one of them.
Without the automatic runner rule, there is no limit to how long an MLB game can go. The two teams could be playing until Gabriel blows his trumpet. (Or at least until the pitchers are all used up, the forced use of a starter dismantles the rotation, and the entire roster is tired of at least the next three games.) Extra innings must have a point of termination. In that sense, inventing a way to speed up the game was good.
But the Giants Cannot Play in Extra Innings
Recent History Gives the Giants a Bad Rating in Extra Innings
After all, this is said, it must be noted that the San Francisco Giants don’t benefit from this reasonably new extra innings regulation. In 2022, they were terrible in extra innings. And, after getting their first chance in 2023 on Friday, they blew it to the Detroit Tigers. With a one-run lead too. The game-tying three-run homer by J.D. Davis was wasted. On Saturday, they lost again in eleven.
It’s hard to know what to say regarding this phenomenon. The Giants seem unable to handle the leverage of extra innings. Over the past year, this applied both offensively and defensively. The best they could do with the bat was get the runner from second to third, taking an out in the process. In Friday’s game, though, they at least scored a run in the tenth on LaMonte Wade Jr.’s single. I wouldn’t blame anybody for thinking they should have scored at least one more. On Saturday, they went back to not getting anything going in extras.
Camilo Doval Just Blew His Second Close Game
Last year, Camilo Doval recorded some notable saves. But he also suffered significant defeats in games that the Giants needed to win. This year, he’s already been the loser twice. On Friday, he allowed the game-winning walk-off homer to Nick Maton. The back end of the Giants’ bullpen is crucial. Bad performances could cost them the playoffs if not corrected in time. Taylor Rogers is having a rough start to the season, but undertaking anything less than stellar coming from Doval is unacceptable.
It makes sense for Doval to have the closer role. He’s a hard thrower and can give hitters stuff they don’t want to see in the final inning. But if he can’t put up consistent command, and if he can’t keep his game in high-pressure situations, then he is underperforming. If the key relievers can’t step up in extra innings, it’s doubtful anyone else will.
The Giants Pitching and Hitting Need to Be Timely
It might be best to hope the Giants only face a few more extra innings. But, indeed, they will meet at least some. Who knows how critical those games will turn out to be? The extra innings phenomenon is undoubtedly one of the top areas that need specific attention from the Giants manager Gabe Kapler, the coaching staff, and the front office.
Late-inning, one-run games that don’t go to extra innings will also play a significant role in the making or breaking of the Giants’ season. For the Giants, talking about leverage is substantial for both the offense and pitching.
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