ATLANTA — Camilo Doval thought there were three outs. He’d allowed a home run on a pitch he didn’t want to throw, the night after surrendering a walk-off hit. His frustration boiled over.
And so, the glove went flying.
“It was just a weird thing … just a moment,” said Giants catcher Austin Wynns, who put his arm around Doval and helped him regain composure along with manager Gabe Kapler.
The fly out from Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud was only the second out of the ninth. It came a batter after Matt Olson turned on a high heater from the Giants closer and put it over the right-field wall, pulling the Braves within 12-10.
But once play resumed, it took Doval only one more batter to send the Giants back to their hotel victorious, getting Marcell Ozuna swinging on a slider low-and-away to end the game.
Afterward, Kapler had a discussion with his closer about his outwardly emotional moment on the mound. Kapler has praised players for playing with passion and energy, and Doval hurling his glove at the ground was no different.
#SFGiants mgr Gabe Kapler said he had a discussion with Camilo Doval after he threw his glove on the mound. Frustrations from the past couple days boiled over.
“It won’t happen again.”
Doval thought it was the final out of the game.pic.twitter.com/owLNY6Ayyf
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) June 22, 2022
“There’s just been a lot happening for him over the last couple of days,” Kapler said. “He’s a young pitcher who’s finding his way. There’s a lot of frustration built up and that was just the moment it spilled out. …
“One of the things I love about Camilo is he gets pretty fired up on the mound when he makes a big pitch. That’s never a problem. It’s to be celebrated in the same way that Joc (Pederson) and all of our other players that show personality and emotion on the field. I think it’s a great thing. …
“What I think it was great for was an impetus to have a discussion, both yesterday after the game and today, when we talked about how to get in the zone. Like how to use frustration, how to use failure, how to use challenges to really focus and lock in.”
In his conversation with Kapler, Doval told his manager that he wouldn’t let it happen again. The 24-year-old closer, who grew up in a rural area of the Dominican Republic with two dozen brothers and sisters, intended to use it as a learning experience.
Since arriving last season with his almost unhittable combination of triple-digit heater and wipeout slider, Doval has been no stranger to high-leverage situations or the spotlight that comes with them. He was the Giants’ ninth-inning man down the stretch run and into the NLDS last year as they battled with the Dodgers on their way to winning 107 games and the NL West. He went the entire month of September — 14⅓ innings — without allowing a run, but he was also tagged with the loss in Game 5 of the NLDS after surrendering the go-ahead single to Cody Bellinger.
“I have learned that when you have good moments, you’d better celebrate them. Because when the bad ones come, there’s not much to celebrate,” Doval said through Spanish-language translator Erwin Higueros. “There’s always something good out of the bad, so I think I should go ahead and just grab the good out of that bad. I know that whatever happened, just leave it in the past and move forward and learn from it.”
Before the walk-off single he surrendered Monday night, Doval had gone 9⅓ innings without allowing a run.
Doval, who declined interview requests after Monday night’s loss and didn’t speak Tuesday, either, explained before Wednesday’s game that the moment of frustration stemmed from Olson’s homer, which stung doubly so because he had his mind set on throwing a slider but went with Wynns’ call for a fastball.
“That’s what the catcher asked for, but in my head I had slider,” Doval said. “I just go with what the catcher asks. Sometime he asks for a pitch and I strike them out. … I always have an input now, but yesterday I just went with what the catcher asked me.”
The task for a pitcher like Doval, who has two plus pitches, is to put the hitter on his toes, so that he is left guessing at which one is coming. That process is ongoing, Kapler said, especially with Wynns behind the plate, who was only acquired earlier this month and is still learning the ins and outs of every Giants’ pitcher’s arsenal.
“We want to create a coin flip in the mind of the hitter,” Kapler said. “I don’t think Camilo would feel that way if Olson lined out. … He wants to feel a lot of conviction, no matter what pitch he chooses to throw. So we’re working with our catchers and Camilo to make sure that he’s the main decision maker. If that creates something too predictable, we’ll have another group conversation and collaborate on making the adjustment.”
Contributed by local news sources