Giants lean on ‘pen again in bid for series win over Rays

Giants lean on 'pen again in bid for series win over Rays

Right-hander Aaron Civale will shoot for his first victory as a Tampa Bay Ray in his first visit to Oracle Park as the San Francisco Giants host the finale of a three-game interleague series on Wednesday afternoon.

The playoff contenders have split a pair of one-sided affairs, with the Giants rebounding from a 10-2 thumping to earn a 7-0 victory on Tuesday.

The Giants have gone the bullpen route in both games and are scheduled to make it a hat trick on Wednesday as manager Gabe Kapler attempts to figure out which of the eight pitchers he used in the first two contests have the strength to throw again in the series finale.

Right-hander Ryan Walker (4-1, 2.28 ERA) is expected to serve as the opener. He tossed two shutout innings in that role on Monday, his first career appearance against the Rays.

Kapler wasn’t around to witness his team’s win on Tuesday, having been ejected for complaining too loudly about plate umpire Chad Whitson’s expansive strike zone. The game featured 21 strikeouts and just four walks.

Kapler was tossed while rookie Wade Meckler was making his second plate appearance of the night, which culminated in a strikeout.

However, the second-day major-leaguer came through with his first two big-league hits in his next two at-bats, including one that was sandwiched by sixth-inning homers from Thairo Estrada and Wilmer Flores.

Afterward, Meckler expressed his appreciation for his new manager’s boldness.

“There were a few questionable calls in my at-bats,” he said. “Hey, I’m a rookie. I can’t really say anything to the guy. Kap runs over and steps up and stands up for me. That’s something I really appreciate as a player, especially in my second game here.”

If Meckler, who began the season at Class-A Eugene, makes his third straight start on Wednesday, he will face Civale (5-3, 2.61 ERA) for the first time.

Several San Francisco players have enjoyed success in limited previous experiences against the 28-year-old, including Estrada, who belted a two-run homer off Civale when the Giants won 8-1 at Cleveland on April 17, 2022. Civale yielded four runs (three earned) in four innings.

That was the only previous time Civale has faced San Francisco. He was dealt from the Guardians to the Rays last month.

Civale is winless in two starts since arriving from Cleveland. He is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA as a Ray, having allowed 16 hits in 9 1/3 innings.

The arrival of Civale coincided with the loss of Rays ace Shane McClanahan, who is now scheduled for season-ending Tommy John surgery. An All-Star for the second year in a row, McClanahan finished the year 11-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 21 starts.

“He’s a big part of our team,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s done so many good things here in the first half. And then coming out of the break … and even going into the break … the injuries started to creep up.”

The Rays also have lost outfielder Manuel Margot during the course of the San Francisco series. After contributing an RBI single to the win on Monday, Margot left the team to return to Florida, where he will have bone chips removed from his right elbow.

Tampa Bay is hopeful of getting him back before the end of the regular season.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.