SAN FRANCISCO – The injury to lefty Jeremy Affeldt leaves a noticeable hole in the Giants bullpen, and filling it takes an ensemble effort.
In Friday night’s win over San Diego, George Kontos stepped up with 1 1/3 scoreless innings and two strikeouts, as San Francisco’s bullpen held down the fort and allowed the Giants to walk off with a 3-2 victory.
Kontos endured a couple of rough outings over the first week of the season, but the right-hander has been strong of late, retiring 18 of his last 20 hitters going into Saturday night’s game against the Padres. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he has confidence using Kontos against both lefties and righties in Affeldt’s absence.
“When you lose a guy like Affeldt, one of your setup guys, you hope the other guys pick it up,” Bochy said. “Kontos did that for us last night. He’s got the command of his pitches, where he can get up and down (for more than one inning). He’s got the secondary pitches too.”
Bochy said he also envisions Chad Gaudin as another right-hander who can be used in more crucial relief situations for the time being.
Affeldt is sidelined by a strained right oblique. His D.L. stint is retroactive to April 15, making him eligible to return April 30. Bochy said he’d be surprised if the lefty isn’t ready to go by then.
--Andres Torres was originally slated to play left field and Joaquin Arias first base Saturday, but when the Padres scratched left-handed starter Clayton Richard (flu-like symptoms) and replaced him with right-hander Andrew Cashner, Bochy shifted back to his standard lineup against righties. That meant Brandon Belt at first base and Gregor Blanco in left.
Bochy said Torres and Arias would both start Sunday’s matinee. He added that Buster Posey would definitely play “somewhere,” suggesting that Posey might get a start at first with Arias playing third base, shortstop or second base.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford is the only infield regular not to have received a day off yet.
--Giants starting pitchers have posted just eight quality starts in 17 games this season. Their 4.95 ERA is tied for the highest mark in the National League.