Giants finishing strong with 6-1 road trip

September 26th, 2022

PHOENIX -- As the Giants return to the Bay Area for their final homestand of the 2022 season, their elimination number sits at two. That means any combination of San Francisco losses and Philadelphia wins totaling two will prevent the Giants from reaching the postseason.

So it’s highly likely that San Francisco’s playoff hopes will mathematically be over by some point during the upcoming week. And that will be quite disappointing for a team that set a franchise record with an MLB-high 107 wins last season.

But it’s not stopping the Giants from trying to orchestrate a strong finish to this challenging year.

On Sunday afternoon, homered as part of a four-hit performance, tossed 5 1/3 innings of stellar relief and San Francisco eked out a 3-2 win over Arizona at Chase Field. After sweeping four games against the Rockies earlier this week, the Giants took two of three from the D-backs to complete a 6-1 trip through Denver and Phoenix.

“We would need a miracle to make the playoffs at this point,” said third baseman , who delivered a go-ahead pinch-hit two-run single in the eighth. “But our message has been pretty consistent in this last month -- just trying to continue to play hard, ‘find your why, continue to play for something.’ Obviously, winning is better than losing.

“It’s easy to kind of just roll out there and give up these last two weeks when we’re pretty much out of it. But you don’t see that. Guys are still playing hard. There’s a lot to play for for a lot of guys in this room, in terms of a job next year, contract money, whatever it is.”

Davis and Junis are each under team control for 2023, and they could both be instrumental in helping San Francisco bounce back next season. The future is less certain for Longoria, who will be turning 37 on Oct. 7.

Longoria has a $13 million team option for the 2023 season that the Giants could pick up. Or they could decline it, making the three-time All-Star a free agent. Perhaps retirement could also be in consideration for the 15-year big league veteran.

If for whatever reason Longoria isn’t back in San Francisco next year, Davis would likely assume a larger role. The 29-year-old infielder came to the Giants in a deal with the Mets ahead of the Trade Deadline, and he won’t hit free agency until 2025.

With his ninth-inning solo homer off Arizona right-hander Mark Melancon on Sunday, Davis recorded his career-high-tying fourth hit. He had two previous four-hit games, including one on May 23, which came when he was playing for New York against San Francisco at Oracle Park.

“He hits the ball harder than anybody I’ve ever seen, I think,” Longoria said. “That home run he hit opposite field here is no joke. He’s fun to watch, he’s been a great teammate, he’s been a fun guy to get to know and been a great addition to our club. I think there’s a lot to look forward to with him next year here.”

Before next year, though, there are still nine games remaining on the Giants’ schedule this year. At 75-78, they would need to go 6-3 the rest of the way to finish .500 and avoid their fifth losing season in six years.

San Francisco has momentum entering its three-game home series against Colorado that begins Tuesday. After that, the Giants host the D-backs for a three-game set and then close out the year with a three-game road series vs. the Padres.

“I’m really proud of the way the guys prepared all the way through this road trip,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “You get toward the end of the year, it’s been a long season, I know a lot of guys are tired, but the preparation has been excellent.”

And Kapler hopes his team keeps that going throughout these final days of the '22 campaign.

“We just want to see competitiveness and effort level be high through these stretches,” Kapler said. “It was a really positive road trip in that regard.”