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Giants’ Opening Day lineup contains another surprise



Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Giants’ lineup flexibility did not have to wait until Game Two to be tested.

In the wake of the Dodgers scratching Clayton Kershaw and putting the lefty on the Injured List, San Francisco radically reconfigured its lineup against righty Dustin May.

Here’s the lineup behind Johnny Cueto for Thursday’s season opener at Dodger Stadium:

1. Mike Yastrzemski, CF
2. Wilmer Flores, 3B
3. Pablo Sandoval, 1B
4. Alex Dickerson, LF
5. Hunter Pence, DH
6. Joe McCarthy, RF
7. Mauricio Dubón, 2B
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Tyler Heineman, C

The biggest surprise is Joe McCarthy, whose very inclusion on the 30-man roster was somewhat of a surprise. The 26-year-old outfielder, acquired from Tampa Bay at last year’s trade deadline, will be making his MLB debut, well-regarded for his plate approach and discipline but obviously unproven.

His lefty bat, though, will be one of six the Giants can throw at May, including Pablo Sandoval and Tyler Heineman, who are switch-hitters.

Heineman will be the Opening Day starter, just as he would have been the Opening Day starter against Kershaw. The fact the Giants like Heineman’s bat against a righty better than Rob Brantly’s may be telling, especially if Joey Bart gets the call-up next week and they want just one lefty complement.

The Giants, opening for the road for the 11th straight year, would have had a lineup that included players like Darin Ruf, Austin Slater and perhaps Donovan Solano if Kershaw had started. This will be a theme throughout this 60-game sprint as the Giants try to gain any advantage they can get.

Here’s the Dodgers’ lineup, which is a bit less platoon-heavy and contains much more firepower:

1. Max Muncy, 1B
2. Mookie Betts, RF
3. Cody Bellinger, CF
4. Justin Turner, 3B
5. Corey Seager, SS
6. Kike Hernandez, 2B
7. Joc Pederson, LF
8. AJ Pollock, DH
9. Austin Barnes, C