Anthony DeSclafani, Giants aim for series win vs. Nationals
The San Francisco Giants and visiting Washington Nationals will try to do more with their scoring opportunities when they continue a three-game series on Saturday afternoon.
Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (9-3, 2.84 ERA) is scheduled to face Nationals lefty Jon Lester (2-3, 5.34) in the pitching matchup.
The Giants got home runs from Curt Casali, Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores in an opportunity-filled, 5-3 win in the series opener on Friday, but clutch pitching and precision defense also played critical roles in the win.
The Nationals got at least one man aboard in every inning except the third, but they twice had runners thrown out at home and once had a threat end on a double play with the bases loaded.
Gerardo Parra had a role in all three key plays. He was thrown out by center fielder Steven Duggar trying to score on a Paolo Espino single in the fourth, nailed by shortstop Brandon Crawford when attempting to score from third on Trea Turner’s grounder in the seventh, then grounded into an inning-ending double play after the Nationals, down 5-3, loaded the bases in the eighth.
The Nationals got 11 hits in the game but stranded 10 baserunners.
The Giants didn’t do much better, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, including Austin Slater’s inning-ending liner to shortstop with the bases loaded in the fourth. San Francisco had 10 hits.
DeSclafani could be pitching with an All-Star berth at stake. The Giants have lobbied to get their nine-game winner added to the National League roster should some pitchers, as expected, be unable to perform on Tuesday due to injury or having started on Sunday.
The Giants’ Kevin Gausman, the club’s scheduled starter in the final game of the first half, is one such pitcher.
“DeSclafani has a chance,” San Francisco pitching coach Andrew Bailey said earlier this week. “Tony’s been throwing the ball well.”
Added Giants manager Gabe Kapler, “He’s been as steady as they come.”
DeSclafani, 31, threw a two-hit shutout against the Nationals when the clubs met in Washington last month. He had eight strikeouts and one walk in the 1-0 win.
He has gone 3-1 against the Nationals in his career, compiling a 2.79 ERA in nine games, including six starts.
While the Giants have an incentive to make their pitcher look good Saturday, Nationals manager Davey Martinez seemed to indicate this week that his team could use a rest.
“I think the All-Star Break is definitely coming at a good time,” he said. “It couldn’t come at a better time for us right now.”
Washington could be without starting catcher Yan Gomes for the rest of the series after he pulled himself from the Friday contest in the second inning due to an oblique injury. Tres Barrera, the only other catcher on the active roster, took over and smacked a two-run triple, his first career extra-base hit.
Martinez said of Gomes postgame, “He’s getting evaluated, so … we’ll know more tomorrow.”
Lester hasn’t faced the Giants in a regular-season game since 2017 with the Chicago Cubs. He is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA in six regular-season starts vs. San Francisco.
He also beat the Giants 1-0 with eight innings of five-hit pitching for the Cubs in Game 1 of the 2016 NL Division Series, a best-of-five the Cubs went on to win 3-1.
–Field Level Media