Giants seek sweep of Guardians in one of coldest games in franchise history

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Giants go for sweep of Guardians in near-freezing temperatures originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

CLEVELAND -- Last Monday was one of the windiest days in Oracle Park's history, and it was just 51 degrees when Alex Wood threw the first pitch against the San Diego Padres. But as fans bundled up and teammates tried to stay away from the wind chill, Wood threw 4 1/3 innings with just a short-sleeved shirt under his jersey.

"It was cold. It was cold," he said after the game, smiling. "(But) if you don't get cold, it's not bad. I stayed pretty warm."

Wood's secret to not getting cold was to stay in the heated tunnel behind the dugout whenever he wasn't on the mound. Out on the field, the adrenaline and work took over. It'll be much harder for Wood and the Giants to avoid getting cold on Sunday, although he once again rocked the short sleeves.

The temperature at first pitch at Progressive Field was just 35 degrees, making it one of the coldest games in franchise history. According to Stats LLC, which began tracking first-pitch temperatures in 1990, this is the coldest Giants game in at least 32 years and one of just three that started with a temperature under 40 degrees. The last one was in 2019 when it was 39 degrees for the start of a May 9 game in Denver. It was 38 degrees at Wrigley Field when the Giants played there on April 13, 2013.

There is, of course, a caveat any time you're discussing temperature and the Giants. As Mark Twain pointed out, the coldest winter may actually be summer in San Francisco, and Oracle Park, with the bay just a few feet away, has the most consistently cold weather in the big leagues.

The Giants are used to this, but that doesn't make it any easier. Some players and coaches did defensive drills in heavy layers and beanies on Sunday morning, but just about everyone stayed indoors as much as possible. A few players came out to check the field when they heard there might be snowflakes -- there were a few as the Guardians did drills -- but quickly ran back in.

The visiting dugout at Progressive Field has heaters facing the benches, keeping them warm, and there are two space heaters at each end. It helps quite a bit, but it's still not a lot of fun to be standing around on the field.

"It is what it is, but man, it felt like with any sort of breeze you were in a cryotherapy chamber," center fielder Steven Duggar said of Saturday's game, which was 46 degrees at first pitch.

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Duggar once played in the snow in Triple-A and a lot of the Giants have had similar experiences in the minors. None of them will get any sympathy from their manager, who started his career in Detroit and spent two seasons with the Colorado Rockies.

Gabe Kapler's coldest game as a player came in 2003 when he was the Rockies' left fielder. On a 38-degree day, he went 3-for-5 and drove in a couple of runs.

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