Notes From San Francisco Giants Clubhouse After Kyle Harrison’s Gem

In his first career game pitched at altitude, rookie Kyle Harrison delivered a gem for the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 07: Starting pitcher Kyle Harrison #45 of the San Francisco Giants throws against the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning at Coors Field on May 07, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

DENVER, Colo. – The San Francisco Giants had a lot of good news coming out of their clubhouse on Tuesday.

First, the day began when their team bus did not drop them off at Citizens Bank Park again. The Giants lost four games in a row at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, falling to 1-6 during the current 10-game road trip.

The final stop on their three-city tour put them at Coors Field, a place they’ve absolutely dominated in recent memory. Since the start of 2021, San Francisco is 18-8 in Denver with a +51 run differential.

They added another five to that with a commanding 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies to bring them to 16-21 and pull them from a season-worst six games under .500.

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Kyle Harrison was in peak form during his Denver debut, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just four hits. It was the first such outing with such length and lack of base hits for a Giants pitcher in Colorado since Barry Zito in 2012.

“I don’t know what his mindset was, but talk about pounding the zone and giving us seven innings here in this ballpark,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s gonna feel it a little bit tomorrow because it is different (here).”

At age-22, Harrison became the third youngest starter to go at least seven shutout frames and allow four or less hits at Coors Field.

“That’s something that I’ve really been trying to do this year is come out and throw strikes and attack these guys,” Harrison said of the contact that limited him to two strikeouts. “If you’re playing at a ballpark like this, you definitely want to come out and attack. You can’t have any wasted opportunities.”

Giants relievers had thrown 34.1 innings over the past week entering Tuesday’s contest, most in all of MLB. The length from Harrison, along with quick innings from Ryan Walker and Camilo Doval, couldn’t have come at a better time.

“If you could draw it up like that, it would probably be just like that,” Melvin said. “To get that deep in the game means you’re not going to strike that many people out either and he didn’t. But it was fantastic.”

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Melvin provided even more positive news about a few Giants who have fallen on harder times.

Banged Up

Jorge Soler was missing from Tuesday’s lineup for the third consecutive game after injuring his shoulder on a swing Saturday night. 

Melvin said Soler could see action in a pinch-hitting role against Colorado, but the opportunity never came to fruition once San Francisco gained a five-run lead in the seventh.

“Every day we go forward (it) gets a little bit more difficult, but this could be a day potentially that he could hit in the cage and be alright to pinch hit.”

Before the injury, Soler was 3-for-35 (.086) with only one extra-base hit in his previous 10 games. While it’s hard to know if the shoulder issue was plaguing him before, his hard hit rate has dropped from 48.0% last season to 37.9% in 2024.

Starting To Improve

Since Blake Snell was placed on the 15-day injured list on April 24 for a left adductor strain, the Giants rotation has been dead-last in MLB with 41.2 innings pitched.

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The plan for Snell was to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and upwards of 50 pitches.

“Each and every day, we’re pushing him a little bit more once he gets on the mound,” Melvin said. “So we’ll see how he feels after this and make a decision on what’s next.”

Though Snell is eligible to come off the IL on Thursday, there’s no indication from the club that he’ll be back at some point for the upcoming nine-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Rockies.

Since signing a two-year, $62 million deal less than two weeks before Opening Day, Snell has posted an 11.57 ERA in just three starts with San Francisco.

Can’t Catch A Break

When Patrick Bailey took a foul ball off his face mask on Friday night, it marked his second concussion in the past seven months.

The first, a collision last September, saw him miss the minimum seven days for the concussion protocol. The timeline in this instance could be longer. 

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“Every day gets better,” Melvin said. “I don’t know. Baseball activity, I think maybe a little bit starting tomorrow. That’s the case. He gets better every day. We’ll see what Saturday looks like.”

San Francisco would love to have their second-year catcher return as soon as possible, especially after Tom Murphy, the no. 2 backstop, suffered a knee strain over the weekend that will keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. With concussions though, they are not to be taken lightly.

For the time being, Blake Sabol will receive a bulk of the playing time with Jakson Reetz holding down the backup spot until Bailey returns.

Hot Corner Gone Cold

Going back to April 27, Matt Chapman is batting .135 (5-for-37) in ten contests and has struck out 16 times in 40 plate appearances. Because of that, he was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time all season. 

“Just had a tough week. It happens,” Melvin said of his Opening Day cleanup hitter. “I’ve been around him a lot. He tries even harder and harder and harder. He cares so much. Sometimes it’s a little bit more about trying easier for him. But he wears it, he wears it pretty hard. So we’ll just give him a little change of scenery today in the lineup.”

On the defensive side, the 31-year-old has also struggled. In 37 games this season, the third baseman and four-time winner of the American League Gold Glove Award winner has made six errors. That’s as many as he made all of 2021 and half as many as 2023.

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Chapman didn’t have a ball hit his way on Tuesday night. At the plate, he went 0-for-3, but battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a seven-pitch walk that sparked a four-run fourth inning for the Giants.

The solution for the time being is simply to run out Chapman every game. He’s appeared in all 37 games for San Francisco and has started 36.

Giant Gems

  • 1B LaMonte Wade Jr. (1-2, 2 RBI, 3 BB) logged a career-high tying three walks (4x, last: Sept. 15, 2023 at Colorado) … three of his four three-walk games have come at Coors Field … is slashing .303/.490/.333 with 13 walks and 11 strikeouts over his last 17 games.
  • CF Jung Hoo-Lee (3-5, R, SO) collected his first career three-hit game, second-straight multi-hit game and team-leading 10th multi-hit game of the year overall.