On a day that quite literally had too much darkness and haze, Kevin Gausman’s clean MRI brightened the Giants’ mood.
Gausman, who’s probably been the club’s best starter, has no structural damage to his right elbow, which had been tight while playing catch last week. The Giants hope he will be able to rejoin the rotation this weekend in Oakland, where the Giants play a three-game set that begins Friday.
“I think the Gausman news is the best news that we could have gotten in the last 48 hours,” Gabe Kapler said after the series that was set to begin Tuesday in Seattle was moved to Wednesday in San Francisco. “…Knowing that we have all of our starters intact right now — I know that’s something that not every club can say.”
Kapler was careful to be cautious, not actually announcing a Gausman start but saying the club had more evaluating to do on Gausman’s prized right arm. Assuming he pulls through, the development is enormous not just for the team’s playoff hopes but for their playoff chances, as Gausman (4.05 ERA, 62 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings) has the type of electric stuff that can calm big bats, like those of the Dodgers.
He and Johnny Cueto will continue to lead a rotation that also is welcoming back Drew Smyly, who’s been bumped up to Wednesday. Tyler Anderson is going Thursday, and Logan Webb likely will start against the A’s. This probably leaves Trevor Cahill out of the five, the sinkerballer not sharp recently and with hip concerns, but his arm could play out of the bullpen.
Jeff Samardzija, meanwhile, is set to throw five innings in a sim game Thursday in Sacramento, his arm continuing to build up. He will be an option for the Giants in the last week of the season, but it is hard to envision that option coming as a starter if the club needs to win each game to reach the postseason.
“It’s encouraging,” Kapler said of Gausman, “because we have our five starters, and that’s a big deal.”
Kapler on Pablo Sandoval catching on with the Braves:
“I’m really happy for Pablo. I still think he’s a talented guy. We’ve talked quite a bit about how agile he is and how athletic he is with the barrel. All of those things are still intact, and I’m really happy that he’s getting another opportunity.
“I remember that I had a couple of opportunities at the end of my career — I turned them down in part because I wanted to spend more time with my family, my young boys at the time. And Pablo has a family as well, so I know that was a major consideration for him. But with a few weeks ago to go and then the playoffs, he’s excited to be getting another opportunity and I’m certainly happy for him.”
Kapler was asked about what he thought about the newly announced playoffs and whether they were fair, containing no off days during the divisional and championship series.
“I skimmed through it. The one thing I’ll say with respect to fairness is always: If teams are facing similar challenges, it’s fair. Teams that have performed better and have had more success during the season I think deserve to be treated as such. I’m comfortable saying that if we have challenges that other teams have, then that’s a fair thing.”