In terms of baseball and momentum and rhythm, this couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Giants spent Saturday at their hotel rooms across the street from Petco Park, missing their second game because one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus.
The best-case scenario for the Giants is getting cleared to play a doubleheader Sunday so that only one game would need to be made up after this weekend. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the player in question has had two negative tests since his positive and that “if everything is clear” Saturday night, a Sunday doubleheader would be played.
The worst-case scenario, competitively speaking, is for the Giants to remain shelved. The further they’re away from the field, the more their timing could be off when they return.
The team offered no comment Friday and released its first statement at 3:30 p.m. Saturday: “The San Francisco Giants learned last night that a member of the organization has tested positive for COVID-19 and have instructed the team’s players and staff to self-isolate in their San Diego hotel rooms with recommended safety precautions in place. The team conducted contact tracing and is continuing testing of the entire traveling party. The Giants organization and Major League Baseball will continue to provide updates as available.”
Playing their best ball of the season, the Giants were on a roll with 15 wins in 20 games before Thursday’s series-opening 6-1 loss to the Padres.
Still, the Giants had plenty of confidence and swagger as the eighth seed with 15 games to play and were determined to keep marching toward their first playoff appearance in four years.
Then the Giants were put on hold. Their bats. Their gloves. Their arms. Their collective energy and focus. They couldn’t play ball, and that’s a shame for a team that was predicted to do very little but was overcoming the odds, having finally moved above .500 late in the homestand.
Friday’s and Saturday’s games were the 44th and 45th to be postponed because of the coronavirus, the first two involving the Giants. In fact, they were the first two involving any teams from the National League West.
Major League Baseball said the games were postponed “out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.”
Instead of cruising through the rest of the schedule like normal — well, as normal as it gets these days — the Giants are facing the possibility of a chaotic finish with a slew of double-headers, on-the-fly pitching plans and a hope that all their north-of-30 players can keep up.
The Giants had planned to pitch Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman — their best starters — Friday and Saturday followed by rookie Logan Webb in Sunday’s series finale. Monday was to be off followed by two games in Seattle, another off day and three games in Oakland.
Then a week of home games against the Rockies and Padres to conclude the season.
Now, who knows?
One thing that’s known is the only previous time the Giants had a game called off, they weren’t sharp when resuming play. A day after the Aug. 26 game against the Dodgers was suspended — to protest racial injustice after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin — the Giants were swept in a double-header and collected just six hits.
It didn’t help that Clayton Kershaw pitched the opener and a string of relievers dominated in the nightcap. It’ll be no simple task whenever the Giants play the Padres, the majors’ hottest team since Aug. 18 (17-5), a tad better than the Giants’ 15-6. The teams are supposed to face off six more times, the final three in San Francisco.
Regardless, the sooner the Giants return to the field, the better. For now, their only game is a waiting game.