Wisely's hot hitting a bright spot in finale loss

May 26th, 2024

NEW YORK -- After pulling off four consecutive late-inning comeback wins, the Giants got a taste of their own medicine on Sunday afternoon.

The Mets scored three runs off submariner Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the ninth inning to hand the Giants a 4-3 loss at Citi Field, spoiling a stellar start from Logan Webb and bookending a wild six-game road trip with two walk-off losses.

With closer Camilo Doval unavailable after pitching four of the past five days, San Francisco turned a 3-1 lead over to Rogers in the ninth, but New York rallied to tie the game on Harrison Bader’s two-run double and then delivered the final blow on Omar Narváez’s game-winning single to center field.

“I felt like we had a good chance to win the game, obviously,” manager Bob Melvin said. “The first game of the [road trip] was tough. The last game of the series was tough. In between was good, but it felt like a game that we were going to win.”

The ninth-inning collapse caused the Giants (27-27) to fall back to .500 as they prepared to fly to San Francisco to kick off a six-game homestand against the MLB-best Phillies (38-16) and American League East-leading Yankees (37-18). While its week-long swing through Pittsburgh and New York ended on a sour note, San Francisco is hoping it will be able to maintain the resilience it showed through the middle part of the trip and keep its upward trajectory going.

“Today kind of put a stink on the road trip, but it was a great road trip for the boys,” Rogers said.

Among the causes for optimism is the recent play of infielder , who got his second consecutive start at shortstop on Sunday due to the defensive struggles of rookie Marco Luciano.

Luciano, the club’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has impressed with the bat since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on May 14, but he’s been a liability on the field, committing five errors over his last five games.

The Giants felt it was important to optimize their defense behind the sinkerballing Webb, so they opted to once again sit Luciano in favor of the left-handed-hitting Wisely, who got the start even with southpaw Sean Manaea on the mound for the Mets.

“Maybe not Marco’s best trip defensively,” Melvin said. “We’ll get him some extra work today and get a little distance and then get home. The hard part is he’s swinging the bat really well, too, but both of them are.”

While he was primarily in there for his glove, Wisely continued to provide a boost at the plate, banging out two more hits, including a solo home run off Manaea that put the Giants ahead, 2-1, in the third inning. Wisely won the left-on-left matchup by drilling a 2-0 sinker from Manaea out to right-center field for his first homer of the season, bumping his batting average up to .438 (7-for-16) with a 1.037 OPS through eight games in 2024.

“Down in Triple-A, me and [Sacramento hitting coach Damon Minor] worked a lot on lefty-lefty approach things,” Wisely said. “I don’t think the swing really changes too much. It’s more the mindset and the approach going into the at-bat. I’m just trying to keep it simple and not trying to do too much. Let them supply all the power, and then just try to make contact on the barrel.”

Wisely, 25, came up primarily as a second baseman and has only 29 appearances at shortstop in the Minors, but he’s looking like a more sure-handed defender than Luciano at the moment and could continue to draw more starting opportunities until Nick Ahmed (left wrist sprain) is ready to come off the injured list. Wisely is building a case to stick even after Ahmed returns, as he could take over the utility role previously held by the recently-demoted Tyler Fitzgerald and give the Giants another lefty bat to help balance out their right-handed-heavy lineup.

“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Melvin said. “That’s not the easiest of assignments as far as lefty-lefty with Manaea. But he hits a homer and the next time up, shoots the ball another way. He looks comfortable out on the field no matter where we’re putting him. Since he’s gotten a little bit of regular playing time here, he’s played really well.”

Wisely’s blast helped take some pressure off Webb, who struck out a season-high eight while giving up only one unearned run over seven innings.

“I felt good with all my pitches today, so that’s probably a first for this year,” Webb said. “I’m excited about that, to keep that rolling.”