SAN FRANCISCO -- A Giants team that has scored two or fewer runs in 11 of its last 15 games doesn't get any favors from the pitching matchups over its next two games. Today they face nemesis Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers left-hander who owns the lowest career ERA (1.33) against San Francisco of any pitcher. Tomorrow they get Matt Harvey when the Mets come to town. Both are leading candidates to start the All-Star Game for the National League.
As it happens, that decision belongs to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy was asked today if his decision could be swayed at all by what he sees from Kershaw and Harvey over the next two days. His answer: "Maybe slightly," but he already has a pretty good idea of which way he's going (he didn't tip his hand).
Not that Bochy needs to see any more of Kershaw, who has allowed three earned runs in 24 innings over three starts against the Giants this season. Brandons Belt and Crawford are both getting the day off today against the Dodgers left-hander. Here's the full Giants lineup for today's game:
And the Dodgers' lineup against Gaudin:
C A.J. Ellis
2B M. Ellis
* Gaudin will be making his first start since June 20, when he was struck on the pitching arm by a line drive comebacker. The Giants reinstated Gaudin from the disabled list this morning and optioned left-hander Michael Kickham back to Triple-A Fresno. Bochy said Kickham, who came on in relief in his last appearance with the Giants, will return to the starting rotation in Fresno.
Bochy said Kickham showed progress in his last outing pitching out of the stretch, where he "had a little more rhythm." Kickham allowed 12 earned runs in two starts after being recalled June 25, and gave up two runs on a Juan Uribe homer over three innings of relief in the Giants' loss to the Dodgers on Friday night.
"I thought he made progress up here," Bochy said. "IT's all about growing and I thought his last outing was better. We told him that and gave him some things we want him to work on."
* A couple injury updates: Santiago Casilla is scheduled to throw one inning today and one inning tomorrow in rehab games with Single-A San Jose. If all goes well, Bochy said he could be activated right before the All-Star Break.
Bochy also sounded encouraged by the progress of Ryan Vogelsong, who has regularly been out playing catch under the supervision of trainer Dave Groeschner before games this weekend. Bochy said he talked with Vogelsong yesterday and the right-hander said his recovering pinkie finger isn't bothering him when throwing.
"He said, 'I don't feel the finger,'" Bochy said. "He feels real good, so that's good news."
The original plan was for Vogelsong to start throwing off a mound after the All-Star break, but Bochy said there's a possibility that could be pushed up to before the break depending on how Vogelsong feels.
* Several players before the game made snarky comments when they walked past the new videoboard in the Giants clubhouse looking for today's lineup, after yesterday's batting-out-of-order incident. One came up to check his spot in the order and, smiling, asked: "Can I trust this thing, though?"
Just in case, a member of the Giants' media relations staff double-checked the lineup on the board against the card handwritten out by Bochy. They matched.
-- Matt Kawahara