SAN FRANCISCO – A couple of Giants were reeling Monday afternoon, and it wasn’t just the after-effects from a disastrous road trip.
Center fielder Angel Pagan and third baseman Pablo Sandoval both are fighting a bug of some kind that’s going through the Giants clubhouse, and manager Bruce Bochy was unsure during his pregame media chat if Pagan would even remain in the lineup Monday night against Washington.
“He’s going to take batting practice and we’ll see how he’s doing,” said Bochy, who also was feeling under the weather. “If he still doesn’t feel good enough to go, we’ll make a change.”
Sandoval was in the lineup and hitting in his customary No. 3 spot ahead of Buster Posey, who got the day off Sunday.
Any kind of questionable condition regarding Giants position players is noteworthy right now. Bochy has a lighter bench than normal – just four reserve players – because the team is carrying eight relievers as a result of the starting rotation’s recent struggles.
The wobbly state of the starting staff was the major storyline coming out of a 1-5 road trip that also saw the Giants play shoddy defense.
San Francisco’s rotation entered Monday night with a 4.87 ERA, second-highest in the National League, after it allowed 42 runs on the just-completed six-game trip.
“It’s as tough a trip as I’ve seen the starting rotation have,” Bochy said. “What’s important now is how we deal with this.” Monday’s game is the opener of a six-game homestand that also includes a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies. Then the Giants play a four-game home-and-home series against the A’s.
-- Santiago Casilla is trying to get accustomed to a bulky brace on his right knee. The reliever has a cyst in his knee and went eight days without pitching before throwing a scoreless – but adventurous – inning Friday at Colorado. Casilla walked two and allowed a hit but escaped a bases-loaded jam.
“He seems to be doing better,” Bochy said. “He’s only pitched one time since that happened, and as he pitches more we’ll see how his knee can handle the stress of pitching. The knee brace seems to be working right now.” Casilla did say before the game that the knee brace is a little uncomfortable when he pitches. --Nationals star right fielder Bryce Harper was back in the lineup after missing two games with swelling in his left knee, a lingering effect from when he slammed into a wall at Dodger Stadium last week.
“We’ll see how it feels,” Harper said. “I’m just going to try to get in there and do what I can do.” A notable absence from Washington’s lineup – former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki, getting a rare night off as Jhonatan Solano starts behind the plate. Suzuki was dealt from Oakland to Washington in August.
“(Being in the Bay Area) brings back memories, but I’m in a great place right now,” Suzuki said. “I definitely can’t be happier.”
--Tuesday night’s game offers a marquee pitching matchup of Matt Cain vs. Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg has won both of his career starts against the Giants, striking out 15 in 12 total innings.