Giants aim to ride bullpen to another win over Padres

Aug 31, 2023; San Diego, California, USA;  San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Scott Alexander (54) throws a pitch against against the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres with a quasi-bullpen start.

On Friday, Giants manager Gabe Kapler switches into full bullpen mode.

Right-hander Tristan Beck (3-2, 3.52 ERA) will open for the Giants against Padres right-hander Michael Wacha (10-2, 2.84).

Padres manager Bob Melvin admits he doesn’t know exactly how Kapler will conduct a second straight bullpen start.

“I’ve managed against them for years,” Melvin said of the Giants. “They can be very unpredictable. You don’t know who is coming in, whether it’s a planned guy or if they’re going to match up the entire way.”

In the series opener on Thursday, the Giants stuck to a plan en route to a 7-2 victory.

Right-hander Jakob Junis started and didn’t allow a hit through four scoreless innings. Left-hander Sean Manaea followed and worked his way out of three innings worth of jams before finally yielding a run in the eighth. Righty Ryan Walker and lefty Scott Alexander combined to get the last five outs.

Junis has served as an opener three times this year, while Walker has done so 11 times and Manaea has made six starts.

Beck, a 6-foot-4, 27-year-old rookie, is set to pitch at the beginning of a game for the second time after starting the season with 28 consecutive relief outings.

He has gone three innings or longer 12 times.

“He was a starter in the minor leagues,” Kapler said of Beck earlier this season after a 5 1/3-inning appearance. “He’s not a single-inning reliever.”

Beck made his first start against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Sunday. He gave up three runs on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 70 pitches, his second-highest total on the season.

The Stanford product threw 81 pitches in his major league debut against the New York Mets on April 20. That was also his first 5 1/3-inning outing, which came after four starts with Triple-A Sacramento. He went 5 1/3 innings again, matching his high, on May 10 against the Washington Nationals.

Beck has faced the Padres once, and he allowed one hit and a walk with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings on June 20 in San Francisco.

Wacha will be making his fourth start since returning from the injured list after missing six weeks with shoulder fatigue. After giving up one run over 10 1/3 innings in back-to-back wins in his first two starts back, the National League’s Pitcher of the Month in May yielded four runs on four hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Milwaukee on Sunday.

Wacha has made one start against the Giants this season, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings during a no-decision on June 19 at San Francisco. Wacha has a 2-0 career record against the Giants in eight starts with a 1.64 ERA, a 1.091 WHIP and a .219 opponents’ batting average in 44 innings.

While Kapler hadn’t tipped his hand on who might be following Beck, both the Giants and Padres are expected to add a pitcher Friday. San Diego’s new arrival could be left-handed reliever Tim Hill, who has been on a minor league rehab assignment. He has been out since early August due to a sprained left ring finger.

–Field Level Media

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