The first surprise came early Wednesday afternoon, but there would be a few more coming from the Giants.
Their starter for Game Three against the Rockies would not be a starter, Caleb Baragar getting the ball against Ryan Castellani. Baragar, a minor league starter, has been a consistent bullpen option all year and has gone 11 2/3 straight innings without a run, Gabe Kapler calling out the fact he can get righties and lefties out. The southpaw will face righties Kevin Pillar and Trevor Story, the Nos. 2 and 3 hitters, for the start.
What comes next, though, is unclear. It was Logan Webb’s turn for a start, and it’s possible Webb could piggyback off Baragar and become a “bulk-innings” pitcher, a term the organization loves. It’s also possible Webb gets pushed back a day after throwing his worst start of the year Friday, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings to the A’s. Kapler said Webb is healthy, but that was the extent of his revelations about the game.
“As much as I want to be forthright and answer the question and talk game strategy here, I’m probably going to keep that more internal for now,” Kapler said over Zoom before the contest at Oracle Park.
The Giants are announcing their starters one at a time, either because of health uncertainty, competitive advantage or a combination of the two. Complicating matters is Friday’s doubleheader against the Padres, which will call for another arm — possibly Jeff Samardzija’s, the Giants saying he is a consideration to return in what could wind up being his Giants goodbye. In this 13-games-in-12-days stretch, every arm will matter.
Kevin Gausman’s spot in the order follows Webb. If Webb is pushed to Thursday, that would set up Gausman for a doubleheader start Friday, the Giants’ most consistent starter against a Padres club they will need to beat.
With six games left, here’s the Giants’ lineup as they try to creep back over .500.
1. Austin Slater, DH
2. Alex Dickerson, LF
3. Donovan Solano, 2B
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Brandon Crawford, SS
6. Evan Longoria, 3B
7. Mauricio Dubon, CF
8. Joey Bart, C
9. Steven Duggar, RF