The hits finally started falling for Tommy La Stella, and then he went down, too.
The Giants second baseman suffered a left hamstring strain running from third to home on Sunday, hobbling back to the Giants’ dugout flanked by trainer Dave Groeschner and Gabe Kapler. His next stop will be an MRI tube, and the manager acknowledged he “may be down for a bit.”
“For both Tommy and for the Giants I have concern,” Kapler said after the Giants’ 7-1 win over the Padres at Petco Park on Sunday. “He plays so hard. Every play is big — Tommy shows you that every play is big. He’s diving for anything that he’s close to getting to and runs the bases so hard and prepare so well. That makes it even more disappointing.”
The 32-year-old also appeared to jam his thumb diving for a line drive earlier in the game, but he hung in there after a visit from Groeschner.
La Stella was pulled in the midst of a 2-for-3 day with a pair of RBIs and runs scored, including a triple to left-center off San Diego’s Joe Musgrove. He has had a slow start to his Giants career results wise, although the club loves how he works pitchers, but it was possible he was emerging before his felt him hamstring tug at him.
He has played a lot of second base over the past week and a half because the Giants lost Donovan Solano to a moderate calf strain. The Silver Slugger winner hasn’t played since April 21, and there is no firm timetable for his return to the team. Calf strains can be tricky and linger, a bad one sidelining athletes for a month and a half. Solano hit off a tee and played catch Friday, so he is not close.
Solano’s normal double-play partner, Brandon Crawford, missed a second straight game with a contused calf after getting drilled by a Yu Darvish fastball Friday. Kapler said he could have played in “a real emergency,” but they wanted to stay away from Crawford.
Mauricio Dubon subbed in for him and made a few nice plays, and the Giants’ addition of Mike Tauchman as an extra outfielder was timed well to usher Dubon back to the infield.
But the Giants’ infield group is hurting.
Kevin Gausman tweaked something in his groin in one of his final pitches of his previous outing and reported back to the Giants feeling “pretty crappy,” he said. They pushed his start back a few days, and Gausman had no issues during a six-inning, one-run effort Sunday to help avoid the sweep.
The Giants look at Gausman like an ace, and he continues to pitch like one, his only run allowed coming on a Fernando Tatis Jr. home run. So Gausman’s one run allowed was one fewer run than he scored Sunday, coming around and touching home after a single to left and a bunt single that Musgrove mishandled.
Gausman’s ERA is 2.04, and the Giants’ rotation continues to roll in a fashion that resembles their bullpen: a lot of different angles and arsenals.
“We have a lot of different looks,” Gausman said. “From [Alex] Wood, who’s a funky lefty, to Disco [Anthony DeSclafani], who kind of does it all, and Webby [Logan Webb], who can do it all, and [Aaron] Sanchez, who’s a sinker guy, and then me. Then you put Johnny [Cueto] in that mix, too, who kind of does everything, too.
“I think we make it tough on teams.”
Is Kapler surprised that the Giants have started 17-11 and are first in the NL West?
“I believe in our players,” he said over Zoom. “I believe in the group in that room. I believe in our coaching staff. I believe in our preparation.”
He said he’s pleased, not surprised.
“I know we have a long way to go, but I believe in this team.”