Giants Analysis

Frustration boils over as Davis, Kapler ejected in Giants' loss

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TORONTO -- J.D. Davis watched nearly all of Thursday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays from a seat in front of his locker, and in the sixth inning he was reminded of something he learned long ago. A lot of games can turn on one pitch, and on Thursday, that pitch was a hanging splitter that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. demolished for what proved to be the game-winner.

As he talked about it an hour later, Davis thought back to his own moment in the spotlight.

"That's what I mean by 'the chess match' in this game," he said after a 2-1 loss.

In the third inning, Davis felt he had moved all of his pieces perfectly. He also felt the board got flipped onto the floor without the Giants ever getting a fair shot.

Davis was ejected after arguing an inning-ending strike-three call, and within seconds, manager Gabe Kapler was gone, too. It wasn't just the first ejection of Davis' big league career, but the first of his entire life. Davis is as laid back as any position player on the team, but his frustration started to build in his first at-bat, and after his second at-bat, he couldn't hold it in any longer.

"I probably said some words that I probably shouldn't have said," Davis said. "And it cost us."

Davis was ejected in the third inning, but the Giants' issues with home plate umpire John Tumpane's zone went back to the first. Chris Bassitt was struggling to lock in, and after hitting Thairo Estrada, he walked Joc Pederson on four pitches.

Davis committed to making his former teammate throw a strike before he swung the bat, but a 1-0 cutter that was outside was called a strike. Davis felt that flipped the count.

Two innings later, Davis again came up with two runners on. A 3-2 sinker appeared to be a fraction beneath the zone, but Davis was called out. He angrily flipped his bat and signaled that it was the second mistake.

"I thought it was a ball. Looking back at it, it was a ball," Davis said. "I was just frustrated. It was a rubber game and it would have been bases loaded with Pat Bailey coming up, and he's had a hot bat. Shoulda, coulda, woulda in that particular chess match of a game with that caliber of pitcher up there, and I just feel like he doesn't need any help. He doesn't need any help outside the zone.

"I think we've preached as an offense to pass the baton, to swing at pitches in-zone with runners in scoring position and I felt like I did that and just tried to pass the baton to Patty in a big situation where we could have maybe chipped away and gotten a run."

The drama didn't dissipate once Davis and Kapler went back to the clubhouse. Early in the game, a Giants coach yelled so loudly that Bassitt had balked that it could be heard throughout the ballpark. The Giants felt other potential balk calls were missed, and Davis felt a pitch clock violation was missed, although that one was close and the pitch was a ball anyway.

The ejection proved potentially costly two innings later. Davis' cleanup spot came up again with two runners on, and this time Casey Schmitt lined out to shortstop. The Giants finished just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which certainly didn't help to extinguish any of the frustration.

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After the game, Kapler went back to look at the pitches, and he felt his team was justified in being upset. The ejection was just his second as a Giant and he maintained that Davis never should have gotten his first.

"Look, I never expect umpires to be perfect," Kapler said. "I do expect them to have patience, though, and I didn't really feel like he had a whole lot of patience with J.D. We're not supposed to be arguing balls and strikes at all, so by the letter of the law, of course, he can get thrown out of the game. I personally think you should give a guy a little bit more grace, particularly a guy with a reputation like J.D. Davis.

"He's off-the-charts solid with umpires, off-the-charts solid with everybody. I think that guy deserves the benefit of the doubt and I don't think he got it, and that's what pissed me off."

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