Giants’ energy lacking, time to refocus

Losers of 10 of their last 13 games, the San Francisco Giants have fallen from three games out of first place to 8½ back. They have trouble scoring runs and fielding their positions.

“I don’t think that we’ve brought our best levels of energy to the ballpark over the course of the last couple of weeks,” Kapler said, “and when that happens, I think it’s important to examine where we’re spending our energy.”

Entering Sunday, Kapler’s team had dropped to 40-36 in the wake of 2021’s historic 107-win season. He said before the series finale against the White Sox at Oracle Park that the energy could be directed in more positive ways.

“So you don’t have your best energy, why don’t you have your best energy? Where are you spending it that isn’t helping?” Kapler said. “And one thing that I think we can all do is take the energy that we’re spending on things that we can’t control and invest into teammates, into players.

“So by way of example, you can spend some energy during a full inning and examine an umpire’s call — was it a ball or was it a strike? Or you can take that same level of energy and invest it in a teammate that needs some support or challenge the bar raised for him.”

The Giants are without Buster Posey and Kevin Gausman, but most of the players on the roster were on the team last year. Newcomers Joc Pederson and Carlos Rodón are among the most notable exceptions, but a great majority of the returning players have slipped statistically.

Stats easily can be quantified by the Giants’ analytics-driven staff, but energy levels require a different measurement. They’re judged and valued based on the eye test, and Kapler has seen enough to know that the energy isn’t where it should be.

“We can talk about things like field conditions, by way of example, but the field is going to be challenging for both sides from time to time,” Kapler said. “So are we taking that energy and kind of throwing our hands up and being upset at some of the things that are outside of our control? Or are we investing that energy into the group in a positive way? Are we channeling and challenging ourselves with that energy?

“If collectively, we’re all doing that, it’s as simple as a player who doesn’t make a play on defense, and rather than express frustration about it, going up to that player and reminding him how good he is and how we ‘ve depended on him in the past and how we’re going to depend on him in the future, that’s a way to turn these things around very quickly.”

Kapler didn’t mention any of his players in particular who could use an energy boost, nor did he mention any players including veterans who could provide positive reinforcement to others.

“It’s a compounded thing,” he said. “It’s not one person making the commitment to invest energy into our teammates and into this team. It’s everybody making that decision. And then collectively, you can really change the energy quickly.

“It’s one of he things that we’ve been talking about in individual conversations and one of the things we feel like we can do to change the direction and do so quickly.”

Kapler said energy doesn’t have to be forced or fake: “It doesn’t have to be like some pollyannaish, positive bulls—. It can be sometimes a challenge, ‘Hey, we need something more from you,’ but it’s directed and it’s intentional, and it’s not chaotic.”

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