Littell apologizes to Kapler for ‘disrespectful’ actions during win appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea
With the Giants clinging to a three-run lead over the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves on Monday night at Oracle Park, Gabe Kapler trusted Zack Littell in the eighth inning.
Unfortunately for Littell, Kapler and the Giants, nothing went right, leading to one of the strangest moments of a disappointing 2022 season.
Littell allowed the first four Braves hitters to reach base and Atlanta scored twice in the process. He was able to pull into a timely double play, but by that point, Kapler had seen enough and decided he needed lefty pitcher Scott Alexander to face Matt Olson with the leadoff line.
The 26-year-old thought differently and wanted to finish what he started. He informed Kapler, putting the ball in his coach’s hand with some force and saying something as he walked off the mound. That made Kapler look at Littell. The two then went into the tunnel at the side of the dugout to chat.
“I just said I wanted Olson,” Littell told reporters after the game about what he told Kapler on the mound. “Not that I pitched well enough to deserve it at all. I think any guy out there is going to want to finish an inning. That was it. Disappointment that I didn’t get it done and by no means a disappointment for [Kapler]. Just disappointed in myself and yes, I came out like that.’
After the Giants’ 3-2 lead, which Alexander kept, Littell and Kapler talked again in the manager’s office, where everything was settled and settled.
“That’s something we don’t really want to deal with during the game, obviously,” Littell told reporters. “We both knew that. We had a job to do and finish the game and get through that last inning. That was the priority. And after the game, I came in and apologized for my part in it and we moved on in front.”
Littell, who saw his ERA jump from 4.74 to 5.08 after allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Braves, made it clear that his actions had nothing to do with anything Kapler did. It was all about what he could control.
“What happened tonight was purely out of frustration with myself for my performance and it came out in a disrespectful way towards him and obviously, that was not my intention at all,” Littell told reporters. “Well, that’s it for me. We talked about it. I’ve already been in his office and that’s it. I don’t want to take away from what happened tonight. I won a game against a really good team. It’s a shame he had to be a part of it. I can assure you from my side, it won’t happen again.”
The Giants have had some weird moments this season, from baserunning blunders to dugout incidents in which Carlos Rodón kicked a bat that hit Thairo Estrada in the leg. In those moments, Kapler did his best to keep his emotions in check on board.
But Monday’s exchange was different. Despite how angry Kapler appeared on the field and in the dugout, cooler heads prevailed after the game.
“I think Zach obviously wanted to stay in this game,” Kapler told reporters. “He’s a competitor and he wanted to finish that inning and I think he just wanted me to know that he wanted that inning. There’s obviously a way to do that. Zack knows that. We talked about that. He knows when I go out to get the ball, he just has to put the ball in my hand, then we’ll talk about anything later. We open the door for conversations when players come in and out of games and I’m happy to discuss those things with the players. There’s a way to do that . I think Zach understands that.”
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A disappointing season is coming to an end for the Giants, and while there was some good news earlier in the day with Wilmer Flores agreeing to a contract extension, the night ended with another internal feud, though Kapler and Littell appear to have hit it off in bed.
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