LOS ANGELES – When Giants manager Gabe Kapler wrote his squad for Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday, Chris Bryant should have started in fourth in the series.
Bryant played left field on Friday, center field on Saturday, first base on Monday and will now play right field against Dodgers starter Walker Buhler, who is taking a short break for the first time in his Major League career.
Bryant may be one of the few stars in large companies willing to change positions every day, but he is in no hurry to settle in one place.
“It never mattered to me, and it never will,” Bryant said Tuesday. “I don’t mind, it’s just a little more thinking, a little more work, just in terms of getting ready to play. But no, I like randomness, it keeps me on my toes, I like it. ”
The former Chicago Cubs great settled in third base early in his career, but Bryant played in six different positions this year, including five with the Giants. The anticipated free agent has only played in San Francisco for two and a half months, but in many ways he epitomizes the spirit of the 2021 giants.
Kapler and Baseball President Farhan Zaidi have emphasized the importance of versatility and flexibility ever since the manager was hired to replace Bruce Bochy, and when the club acquired Bryant, it took him about 30 seconds to embrace the giant model.
“My first call with Chris after we bought him from the Cubs, he said, ‘I will play in any position,’ said Kapler. “I will get to any place in the squad. I just want to help this team win. ” And from the moment of acquisition, he was engaged in this. He played a lot of different positions. ”
Bryant had a tough September both on the plate and on the field, but made critical hits in the NLDS, including a solo home run from Buhler in Episode 1, which helped knock the Dodgers starter out of the game. Bryant made his first base debut Monday with the Giants, which proved critical on a windy night when the club benefited from his top defensive outfielder Stephen Duggar patrolling outfield at Dodger Stadium.
“He was very flexible,” Kapler said. “And it’s nice because you get a bat of this quality, of this caliber, and just knowing that they can play anywhere and that they will be ready to play gives us the flexibility to do a lot of other things.”
Since arriving in San Francisco, Bryant hasn’t played at the superstar level he had at the beginning of his Cubs career, but he expanded the Giants lineup, giving Kapler the freedom to explore new defensive combinations and helping the club push the edge. another “special” achievement.
With the Dodgers ‘106 wins on the brink of relegation, the Giants with 107 wins could end their rivals’ season with an away win.
“It just happened at the right time, and 107 wins later, and now we are in that position in the Division series,” Bryant said. “This is a very special place for this group.”
On Tuesday, at Kapler’s pre-game press conference, at various points, he highlighted the dedication and team spirit that his players have shown along a path that few would have expected to take so long. He pointed to Bryant’s positional versatility, Tommy La Stella’s willingness to pull out of Game 3 due to left Achilles soreness and aids like Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval taking the ball for several innings at once.
Back in July, when one of the greatest divisional races in major league history was just beginning, Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris searched the league to determine the best way to renew their squad and give the Giants a chance to win the World Series.
As the trade deadline drew near, the Giants settled on Bryant, who didn’t necessarily stand out, but did an outstanding blending job. For this iteration of the Giants, it was a push.
“The fact that we have seen this style of teammates up and down and we have had quite a long time, I think I don’t know if it’s unique, it’s quite an extreme word, but it’s rare,” Kapler said. …