LOS ANGELES – The Giants made one roster adjustment prior to Tuesday night’s game at Dodger Stadium, optioning right-hander Chris Stratton and recalling left-hander Josh Osich from Triple-A Sacramento.
Osich gives the Giants a second left-hander in the bullpen, which is especially handy against the left-leaning Dodgers. Also, left-hander Steven Okert recorded critical five outs over two innings in Monday night’s victory and probably will have limited availability.
Osich didn’t exactly force his way back to the big leagues. He had a 7.71 ERA and two saves in nine games for Sacramento. Lefties were hitting .333 and right-handers had a .295 average. On the plus side, he hadn’t given up a home run.
I suspect that the Giants didn’t make the Osich move prior to Monday’s game because they wanted to keep Stratton as a long reliever in case Johnny Cueto’s blister forced him out in the early innings.
Cueto did say that his blister flared up in the third inning, but oddly, that also coincided with the start of his best stretch in which he retired 13 consecutive batters. Cueto was able to gut through seven innings as the Giants beat Clayton Kershaw 4-3.
Cueto’s blister might help to explain his 5.10 ERA in April. He said he has been dealing with it since the final exhibition start against the A’s.
“I still have it,” Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “I’ve been dealing with it for more than a month. It’s been nagging me. The third inning today, it swelled up. It’s, `What the heck is going on?’”
Cueto said he decided to “strap up my pants and start pitching. … I told myself in the third, yeah, I’ve got to man up to it and pitch. I cannot make up any excuses.
“They will have to take me out on one of those gurneys.”
That is the same attitude that Chad Gaudin used to take to the mound.
Cueto should get an extra day before his next start, which would come in Sunday’s series finale at Cincinnati. It would be his second start as a visitor in his former home stadium. According to the great Rob Butcher, Cueto (48-22, 2.98 ERA in 99 starts) owns the best ERA of any starting pitcher in the lively ballpark’s 15-year history.
The fact Cueto pitched for so long in a bandbox only makes it more unbelievable that he had never given up a grand slam before the Rockies’ Trevor Story hit one in April at Coors Field.
Brandon Belt returns to the lineup in left field with Buster Posey going to first base as the Giants face a non-Kershaw left-hander, Alex Wood, who took a no-hitter into the sixth when he faced the Giants at AT&T Park last week.
The Dodgers are giving Adrian Gonzalez a rest against Matt Moore.
This might be an important one for Moore, who was outstanding against the Dodgers last year apart from one huge outlier start: his last outing at Dodger Stadium, when he gave up six runs and recorded just three outs.
Moore said in the spring that he wistfully thought back to that start when he ended the season just five outs short of throwing 200 innings for the first time.