SAN FRANCISCO -- Aside from one day in late April when Eric Hacker took the mound, the Giants have used just five starting pitchers all season. Their rotation once again is the prime reason they stand atop the NL West in September.
"It'll be the same," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Zito vs. Kershaw is not a matchup that will inspire confidence among Giants faithful, and the club could move up Ryan Vogelsong to make that start. The Giants have a day off on Thursday, so every pitcher will get one extra day of rest as things stand.
That's what Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti value most. And besides, there's no reason to make a move that might have a tinge of panic. While the division race is by no means over, the Giants are in the driver's seat and the doors are power locked.
(They needed Hacker to start April 27 because a doubleheader in New York forced them to play six games in a five-day span.)
The Giants added three more players to the active roster following Monday's season finale at Triple-A Fresno. Left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander Dan Otero were added to the bullpen, and the club purchased the contract of infielder Emmanuel Burriss. To make room, the aforementioned Eric Hacker was designated for assignment.
Why Burriss and not Brock Bonds, another infielder who wasn't on the 40-man but seemingly deserved a reward for finishing third in the PCL in OBP (.422) and 6th in batting average (.332)?
Well, Bond doesn't play shortstop and Burriss does. The Giants felt they needed a bit more depth in case Joaquin Arias' sore calf flares up again. Also, Bochy realized he could use another pinch runner after Monday's game, when he used Gregor Blanco early. Bond is not considered a burner.
And as Bochy said, "Manny went down to Fresno and played hard, played well," Bochy said. "He deserves this."
As for Runzler, he was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 29 games for Fresno. But he struck out three of the five batters he faced Saturday in his final appearance for the Grizzlies (33 strikeouts in 27 innings overall), and Bochy said Runzler is throwing hard again after missing a huge chunk of the season with a strained lat muscle.
Runzler could be used to face a lefty when Javier Lopez or Jose Mijares needs a day off.
One question: Now that Hacker is off the roster, who would be the next line of defense if a Giants starting pitcher becomes ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated? Well, you might see a Brad Penny-Shane Loux-Guillermo Mota relay team. Obviously, the Giants hope it won't ever come to that.