An interesting dialogue occurred before Wednesday’s game between the media and Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
The topic of discussion was the manipulation of the starting rotation for the Dodgers series on April 24-27.
Most interesting was that Bochy didn’t respond to the media inquiry by saying: “Dudes! I’m worried about today’s game, not one three weeks away.”
But the skipper took a different tact and fielded the questions.
The question revolved around whether Bochy would use two off days that bookend a two-game series in Kansas City on April 18-19 to skip the No. 5 spot in the rotation (currently occupied by Matt Cain) to set up the possibility of the Giants sending their top four starters into that series vs. their NL West rivals.
If the Giants stay on their regular turn, the Giants would send Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore into the April 24-27 series at AT&T Park.
Bochy responded that he generally doesn’t like to monkey with the rotation so that his pitchers stay on their normal routines. And that’s true. In his years as Giants skipper, Bochy has rarely used off days to skip spots in his rotation, unless injury forced his hand.
However, Bochy added that he would consider having Ty Blach start in place of Cain in certain situations. One of those situations could be against the Dodgers, who struggle notoriously against lefties. That was evidenced by their shutout loss against the Padres’ Clayton Richard on Tuesday.
But another thing to consider is that Giants have two series against the Dodgers over the next few weeks. San Francisco travels into Chavez Ravine for three games on May 1-3.
If the Giants skipped Cain in Kansas City and started their front four in the April series at AT&T Park, it would mean they would start Moore, Jeff Samardzija and the No. 5 spot in the May series.
However, if they stayed on turn, then it would be Cueto, Moore and Samardzija.
So, either way, the most lefties that Giants could throw at the Dodgers over those seven games is four, and both would involve swapping Blach for Cain.
Bochy did qualify his remarks by adding that the Dodgers series was still a long way off.
And he’s right. We don’t what decision the Giants may arrive at, or be forced to arrive at, by then.
Cain’s first two starts of the season will come Friday in San Diego and next Wednesday at home vs. Arizona. If those two starts don’t go well for the veteran, the Giants could use the off days around those Kansas City dates to reassess their starting rotation, regardless of potential matchups against the Dodgers.
Hot takes after the Giants’ 8-6 loss to Arizona on Wednesday.
- Many fans were upset that Brandon Belt’s error in the fifth inning that allowed Arizona two score two runs cost the Giants the game. But remember that on Tuesday it was an Arizona error on a potential inning-ending double play ball off the bat of Cueto that sparked the Giants’ five-run inning. So you win some, you lose some.
- I was actually surprised that Bochy send Matt Moore out to pitch in the sixth. The error notwithstanding, the Diamondbacks were starting to make solid contact in the fifth when they tied the game. At 85 pitches and having to labor through the fifth in his first start of the year, I would have thought Bochy would have hooked Moore and gone to the pen. Remember, he pulled Bumgarner after 88 pitches on Sunday, although that was after seven innings of work. Moore may have been pulled had the Giants not gone 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Moore was slated to bat fourth that inning. As it was, Moore was charged with two more runs in the sixth, although the bullpen didn’t help him with inherited runners.
- The struggles in left field continued Wednesday as they went 0 for 5 with two more strikeouts, making LFs 0 for 14 with 10 strikeouts on the season. Chris Marrero should get the start against Thursday against lefty Robbie Ray.
- The Giants signed another veteran outfielder Wednesday. Drew Stubbs was signed to provide organizational depth at center field. The Giants currently carry two true center fielders in Denard Span and Gorkys Hernandez, although Jarrett Parker can play center in a pinch. Justin Ruggiano is at Triple-A Sacramento and can play all three outfield positions. Stubbs, who was recently cut by the Twins, can make $1 million plus bonuses if he gets called up by the Giants. He’ll start at extended spring training before joining Sacramento.