The San Francisco Giants hope right-hander Johnny Cueto can rebound quickly from an illness when they attempt to avenge a series-opening loss in a rematch with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Corbin Burnes pitched six innings and ran his unbeaten streak to 15 straight starts in Milwaukee’s 3-1 win on Monday. He added an RBI single as the Brewers moved within 4 1/2 games of San Francisco atop the National League standings.
The Giants, whose lead over the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West dropped to 1 1/2 games, had hoped Cueto would face Burnes on Monday. But the veteran had what was described as flu-like symptoms during the day, forcing Giants manager Gabe Kapler to run a succession of seven relievers to the mound.
Cueto was placed on the injured list Monday because of those flu-like symptoms but tested negative for COVID-19. Kapler said after the Giants’ loss that Cueto felt well enough to come to the ballpark before the game, keeping the door open for him to start Tuesday night if he continues to test negative for COVID.
“He did come in for some treatment,” Kapler said of Cueto. “He got a couple of bags of IV fluid, got some meds in him to make him feel more comfortable and potentially he’ll sleep better. But we’ll have to check in with him (Tuesday) to see where he is.”
Cueto (7-6, 3.73 ERA) last pitched in a win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. He has gone 11-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 23 lifetime starts against Milwaukee.
Giants left-hander Alex Wood has tested positive for COVID and was scratched as the starter for Tuesday’s game after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell noted before Monday’s game that situations such as the one forcing Wood out could affect any team at any time.
“You’re doing whatever you can, but there’s not much you can control at that point, really,” he said. “Once you have the first patient, then you don’t know. You have to get 10 days past anything before you feel comfortable. Once it happens, you realize it can happen again every day.”
The Brewers are set to start right-hander Brandon Woodruff (8-7, 2.38), who is coming off one of his best outings of the season. He struck out 10 and scattered four hits in six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-1 win.
The 28-year-old also pitched well when the Giants visited Milwaukee on Aug. 7, limiting them to one run in six innings. But San Francisco won that game 9-6 in 11 innings.
Woodruff has faced the Giants just twice in his career, having made his first start against them four weeks ago in Milwaukee. He has never pitched in San Francisco and is 0-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his two lifetime appearances against the Giants.
Kapler acknowledged Monday no team looks forward to seeing Burnes or Woodruff, let alone seeing them in succession.
“The top of their rotation is as good as any in baseball,” he said of a group that includes Freddy Peralta. “Burnes and Woodruff and Peralta, the three of them combined — and this is not to take anything away from the other starters — but those are three powerful right-handed starters, for sure.”
The Giants got just six hits in Monday’s win, just four off Burnes. Brandon Belt and Kris Bryant each singled and doubled for San Francisco, which lost for the third time in its past four games.
–Field Level Media