The Giants announced Sunday that, in light of injuries to Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija, lefty Ty Blach will take the mound against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers Opening Day in Los Angeles Thursday.
The Giants had Opening Day scripted a little differently, but Blach is no lamb being sent to slaughter. He’s faced Los Angeles more than any other team in his major league career and held his ground firmly, with a 2.23 ERA in 36-1/3 innings with a 1.041 WHIP.
Johnny Cueto, San Francisco’s No. 2 starter before their rotation got clubbed by the injury stick Friday, was already scheduled to start the “friendly” in Oakland Sunday. Pushing him to start Opening Day on just three days rest would not have been a very palatable option for the team.
Manager Bruce Bochy said:
“It’s the simplest (solution). Instead of disrupting three guys, Ty falls into that slot. It just keeps it easier for everybody.”
Not only has Blach already clocked some innings against the Dodgers, he’s faced down Kershaw without blinking — on both sides of the plate.
In the first start against Los Angeles’ ace of aces in October 2016, he shone in a three-hit shutout. In his second, in 2017, he gave up only two runs on four hits in a 2-1 loss. Oh yeah, he’s also gone 3-for-5 at the plate with a double against Kershaw.
Blach seemed in good spirits Sunday morning, telling reporters:
“It’s just a game. I’ve pitched against him twice in my career and it’s been a good game both times. It’ll be good to take on that challenge.”