SAN FRANCISCO — Following a dramatic 3-2, 11-inning win over the Dodgers that allowed the Giants to regain sole possession of first-place in the National League West, manager Gabe Kapler has called on right-hander Jay Jackson to make his first career start.
Jackson has pitched in 52 career games over parts of three major league seasons, but Saturday’s game against Los Angeles will mark the first time he’s pitched in an “opener” role.
The Giants likely won’t ask Jackson to record more than three-to-six outs, but he’ll draw the tough assignment of facing the top of a loaded Dodgers lineup that often features All-Star Trea Turner, MVP candidate Max Muncy and former American League MVP Mookie Betts.
Jackson has appeared in 18 games for the Giants this season after having his contract selected from Triple-A Sacramento following the All-Star break. The former Padres and Brewers reliever has a 3.24 ERA and has struck out 25 batters in 16 2/3 innings.
Kapler hasn’t revealed who will pitch behind Jackson on Saturday, but there’s a good chance either left-hander Sammy Long or veteran southpaw José Quintana will follow. Long last pitched on Sunday in Atlanta where he gave up six runs over 4 2/3 innings in relief of starter Anthony DeSclafani.
The Giants had Long available to pitch after DeSclafani again if he encountered trouble on Friday against the Dodgers, but he instead turned in one of his best starts of the season with six innings of shutout ball.
Quintana made his Giants debut on Tuesday at Oracle Park as he fired 3 1/3 scoreless innings while racking up six strikeouts against the Brewers. The Giants claimed Quintana off waivers Monday from the Angels and it’s possible the lefty could play an important role down the stretch for a rotation that’s without veterans Alex Wood (COVID-19) and Johnny Cueto (right elbow strain).
The Giants are waiting to determine who will start Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers as Kapler has indicated bullpen usage from the first two games of the series will dictate the decision.
The Dodgers used righty Corey Knebel as an opener in Friday’s game and had 11 different pitchers take the mound. Knebel was the only Los Angeles pitcher to log two innings.
The Giants used five relievers behind DeSclafani including winning pitcher Jarlín García, who held the Dodgers scoreless in the 11th inning.
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Author: Kerry Crowley