Gabe Kapler implores Giants to find 'toughest group' amid losing streak

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Kapler implores Giants to find 'toughest group' amid skid originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 2022 Giants look like a shell of the 2021 squad that won a franchise-record 107 games and captured the National League West crown.

Through 96 games last season, the Giants were 61-35. A year later, they are 48-48 following a 5-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night at Chase Field. After finishing the first half on a hot streak, San Francisco hasn't won since the All-Star break, having lost all five games. They currently sit two-and-a-half games out of an NL Wild Card spot. Winning the division is an afterthought.

Over the last few weeks, as the freefall has picked up steam, the themes have been the same. Bad defense, a weak-hitting lineup, poor fundamentals, and pitching that hasn't lived up to its potential.

The Giants weren't charged with any errors in the loss to the D-backs, but watching the game, it looked like they committed several. Austin Slater mistimed a jump on a deep fly ball, leading to a double for Arizona. Joey Bart had a chance to catch a pop-up behind the plate but dropped it after it appeared his legs hit the wall, throwing off his timing.

Then there were the mental errors, something the 2021 team was able to avoid.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Josh Rojas singled to center, sending Carson Kelly home. Slater didn't have much of a chance of getting Kelly at the plate but he still made the throw, possibly attempting to make something happen for his floundering squad. Instead, the throw sailed over the cutoff man, Brandon Belt, and went straight to Bart. Kelly scored easily and an alert Rojas took second base without a throw.

Luis Gonzalez, who had two of the Giants' three hits, led off the top of the sixth with a double down the right field line, breaking up Merrill Kelly's perfect game. After David Villar grounded out to shortstop, Mike Yastrzemski lined out to third. Gonzalez got caught too far off second and was doubled up, ending the inning.

That wasn't the only mistake Gonzalez made and it wasn't even the worst.

With two outs in the eighth inning, the rookie outfielder reached on a bunt single but Kelly quickly picked him off at first base to end the inning.

Per The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly, Giants manager Gabe Kapler wasn't happy with Gonzalez and called the 26-year-old into his office for a meeting.

After the loss Monday night, Kapler spoke about what he wants to see from the Giants as they try to get out of this hole.

"I think we really have to stay focused on the step right in front of us and it's critical that we bring out our toughest group right now because we are going through a tough stretch," Kapler told reporters in Arizona. "It has been disappointing. LA was disappointing. We want to come back and play better baseball in the first game of the series against the Diamondbacks. We weren't able to do that and so we're going through a rough spell and we just have to be tough through it. And we will."

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The Giants' longest losing streak of the season is six, and a loss Tuesday night would match that. It's not something they have any desire to do, but Monday's starter, Jakob Junis, believes the team will have the right mindset Tuesday.

"The hardest part is that we kind of had this before," Junis told reporters. "We did this once already and it's not fun losing that many games. Things start to pile on and it seems like things aren't falling our way. But like I said, you've got to forget about that, kind of forget you're in a losing streak. Tomorrow's a new day and come out here and just do whatever you can to change the pace and get a win."

The Giants have the perfect guy on the mound to stop the skid, as Carlos Rodon takes the mound Tuesday in the desert. They don't come much tougher than the All-Star lefty.

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