Homers from Panik only part of a very unlikely start to 2018 for Giants

Johnny Cueto

The San Francisco Giants have nearly $52 million worth of pitching on the disabled list – in 2018 salary – and yet they are 2-0 because of a pair of 1-0 victories.

That seems about as likely as the fact that the Giants scored both runs off home runs by Joe Panik – one off Clayton Kershaw and the other off Kenley Jansen.

The Giants became the second team ever to open the season with back-to-back 1-0 victories. The 1943 Cincinnati Reds were the other team.

Since the 1943 Reds opened at home – as the Reds do every year – the Giants became the first team to accomplish the feat on the road.

Johnny Cueto took a perfect game into the seventh inning when Chris Taylor’s bloop single broke it up. Taylor was then erased on a double play by the next batter. Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland completed the shutout as the Dodgers sent the minimum – 27 batters – to the plate.

In 2017, the Giants were 0-23 when scoring just one run. So far in 2018, they are 2-0.

In 2017, the Giants didn’t record their first shutout win until June 2 – a 10-0 win at Phildelphia. They didn’t notch their second shutout until Aug. 21 – a 2-0 win over Milwaukee. They finished with five shutout wins.

It’s the second time in Giants history that they have opened with back-to-back shutout wins, and the first time they’ve done it on the road.

With John Burkett and Billy Swift starting, the 1994 Giants opened the season with 8-0 and 2-0 wins over the Pirates.

If the Giants can keep the Dodgers scoreless for 5.2 innings on Saturday, they will break the team record for most scoreless pitching innings to open a season, set in 1994.

Derek Holland gets his first pitching assignment for the Dodgers on Saturday. Hopefully, Holland can keep the streak going.

If he can’t, hopefully the Giants hitters – besides Panik – can get going against the first right-handed starter they’ll see this season – Kenta Maeda.

Look for Bochy to employ this lineup vs. righty

2B Joe Panik

1B Brandon Belt

RF Andrew McCutchen

C Buster Posey

3B Evan Longoria

SS Brandon Crawford

RF Hunter Pence

CF Gregor Blanco

P Derek Holland

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