Giants' Anthony DeSclafani searching for right adjustments after slow start

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DeSclafani searching for right adjustments after slow start originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

NEW YORK -- The Giants took the field Thursday having gone 10 days since the last time an opposing player hit a homer off of them. The streak of 307 plate appearances without one was by far the longest in the Majors, nearly double the second-longest active streak.

They knew it would end, either Thursday or at some point soon. The fact that it did in the first inning wasn't a problem. What happened for Anthony DeSclafani afterward was, though.

DeSclafani's slow start to the season continued, with the New York Mets picking up nine hits and five earned runs in his five innings. They would go on to win 6-2, becoming the first team since early last September to take a regular-season series from the Giants.

Gabe Kapler's group had won 12 consecutive series other than the NLDS, and they had done it with both their pitching staff and their lineup. In this series, there were issues all over the field. They scored nine runs over four games. Logan Webb took his first loss in almost a year and Alex Cobb left with an injury.

Still, the Giants had a shot at a split Thursday. But the DeSclafani who looked so sharp in spring training has not shown up yet this season. The right-hander has allowed 22 hits through his first 13 1/3 innings.

"He doesn't have his best stuff right now," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I think it's just one of those things where we have to hang in there with him. We trust Tony, he was a great pitcher for us last year, and he went through some starts last year where he didn't have his best stuff as well. I think they were getting some pretty good swings off but there were some balls that weren't hit particularly well -- that happens, that's just part of it."

There are no obvious signs of major change, other than velocity that hasn't been as consistently firm as it was last season. That's no big surprise after a short spring, though, and DeSclafani's spin rates are in line with who he was last year when he pitched so well that the Giants gave him a three-year deal to stick around.

DeSclafani said too many balls Thursday stayed up, including the home run pitches. The second came on a changeup to Eduardo Escobar that hung at the letters.

"I definitely don't feel crisp at all," DeSclafani said. "I feel like I'm kind of coming off the ball early, not staying back, and (pitches) are kind of left up in the zone."

It's not unusual for a pitcher to scuffle for a couple of turns, especially early. The surprise for the Giants at the moment is that the slow start has come after a sharp spring, and Kapler said the staff will look into how DeSclafani can quickly get back on track.

"It's a drop-off in stuff quality that we have to be right on top of," he said, "And we just have to work through it with Tony and have more conversations to figure out how to have him be at his best."

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As proof of how quickly that can turn, Kapler pointed to others who have struggled early. Mike Yastrzemski entered the day with a .529 OPS as the leadoff hitter, but he had two hits Thursday, including a long home run in the eighth inning. Kapler expressed confidence in recent days that a breakthrough was coming for Yastrzemski. He's just as confident that DeSclafani will soon be back to his old self.

"We have to weather the storm and help these guys get to their best versions as quickly as possible," he said.

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