Giants look for repeat performance vs. Marlins
The San Francisco Giants continue to get quality work from their starting pitchers through the first month of the season.
Veteran right-hander Kevin Gausman will try to follow Alex Wood's seven innings of one-hit ball Friday for the host Giants when he starts against the Miami Marlins on Saturday night in the third game of a four-game series. The Giants won 5-3 Friday.
Gausman (1-0, 2.45 ERA) has pitched at least six innings in each of his first four starts.
In his most recent start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, Gausman struck out five and tossed six shutout innings despite giving up six hits and walking four in a 2-0 win. One of Gausman's toughest spots came in the fourth inning when he put the first two runners on, but he worked his way out of trouble by retiring three consecutive lefties with a pair of strikeouts and a grounder.
"Honestly, I just kind of got lucky with the guys that were coming up to the plate -- two young guys who are left-handed hitters," Gausman said. "I was going to pitch to my strengths. I knew I was going to make them beat me with my best pitch."
That pitch is Gausman's filthy splitter, which he has used to record 16 of his 23 strikeouts this season while holding batters to an .091 average, according to MLB.com's Statcast.
"I joked with Andrew Bailey, our pitching coach, (and) I was like, 'I should just throw that every time, every single pitch,'" Gausman said after Monday's win.
The Marlins will try to reverse their current offensive trend against Gausman, who is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in five career starts and one relief appearance (27 1/3 innings) against them.
Until Jesus Aguilar's two-run home run in the ninth inning Friday, the Marlins had scored only one run in a 26-inning span over their past three games against San Francisco. Miami has had only two runners in scoring position during the first two games of the series.
"We're thinking we can get something going," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "And then Wood just kept us off-balance all day. He filters the ball both ways and down, and if you let him get his outs down, you'll be in trouble, and he really got his outs down."
Gausman will oppose Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez (0-2, 3.32). Although Lopez is winless, he has been solid through his first four starts, with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 21 1/3 innings.
Lopez faced the Giants last Sunday and gave up one unearned run over six innings in a 1-0 loss. He allowed five hits and walked two (one intentional) and struck out a career-high nine, all with his changeup.
In two career starts against the Giants, Lopez is 0-1 with an 0.75 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 innings.
With Lopez's fastball command a bit shaky at times, he used his improving secondary pitch to keep the Giants' lineup at bay. Lopez has 16 strikeouts with the changeup this season and has held hitters to a .189 batting average.
"The focus every time we threw the changeup was to think down and let the grip do the work," Lopez said after his last outing. "Sometimes we have to go back to the basics and that less is more."
--Field Level Media