Alex Wood

With deadline nearing, familiar issues keep plaguing Giants

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WASHINGTON D.C. -- All things considered, if you're going to have a couple of leaks open up at any point of the season, this isn't a bad time for it.

The Giants have a little over a week to decide how they want to attack the Aug. 1 trade deadline, and on Friday night, a season-long issue and also a more recent one popped up in a 5-3 loss to the last-place Washington Nationals.

Alex Wood was charged with all five runs and recorded just 12 outs, continuing what has been an inconsistent third season in orange and black. Wood's latest rough one came a few days after Anthony DeSclafani had such a short outing that the Giants are contemplating what to do when his rotation spot comes up again Sunday.

The Giants don't want to chase rotation depth at the deadline. They'd prefer to go big if they're to make a pitching move at all, but right now their depth is failing them. Wood walked off with a 4.99 ERA and gave up at least five runs for the third time in the last month. He didn't hide his frustration after the Giants' third straight loss.

"I've been searching for it, man. I'm just trying to get it to click," he said. "I'm doing everything I can in between to try and figure it out. It just didn't click tonight. I'm working really hard to try to find my footing and hit my stride and string a couple of good ones together. I'm just going to keep working, you know? That's all I can do. It's super-frustrating.

"The guys have been playing really well, so to give up four or five, whatever it was, it's just very frustrating."

Wood said the issues are mechanical, and the work between starts and long relief appearances has been constant. He has gone back to things that have worked in the past, hoping for a quick fix.

"I'm just kind of waiting to have that 'oh s--t' moment where it all starts to come together," he said. "I'm going to keep working as hard as I can and get as prepared as I can for the next one."

Wood's velocity was down Friday and he got just one swinging strike. An aggressive Nationals lineup took advantage, beating the Giants for the third time in four meetings this season.

"Almost always there's command things happening when pitchers are struggling," manager Gabe Kapler said of Wood. "He's falling behind in counts, sometimes he's missing in the middle of the plate. With Alex, I think he's also looking for the right shapes on his pitches. That's always kind of a work in progress for pitchers but maybe he's had more struggle with it this season than he has in seasons past."

Before the All-Star break, when Wood was coming in after an opener, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said his main focus at the deadline might be on adding middle infield help, not to the rotation. That's only become more important on this trip, with Brandon Crawford joining Thairo Estrada on the IL, and on Friday, one of their replacements was in the middle of the game's biggest spot.

Casey Schmitt came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh with the Giants trailing by a couple of runs. He fouled off a couple of two-strike sliders from Jordan Weems but then swung through a fastball that was on the outer edge of the zone.

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Schmitt, who has four hits in his last 50 at-bats, slammed his bat on the dirt before walking back to the visiting dugout.

"He's finding his way right now," Kapler said. "He's a young, developing player who's got a lot of upside and he's gotta keep grinding."

The Giants have a few of those types in their lineup at the moment. The rotation, on the other hand, is full of veterans. Right now, both groups are looking like they might need a boost before the deadline passes.

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