The Giants announced Thursday that they will play a doubleheader against the Padres at Oracle Park on Sept. 25 to make up the second game that was postponed following a positive COVID-19 test this past weekend in San Diego.
Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. PT with the Giants as the home team. They will be the road team for Game 2. Both games will be seven innings, a format that has not served the Giants well in their first two doubleheaders against the Dodgers and Padres this season.
The Giants have gone 0-4 and been outscored by 17 runs (18-1) in those twin bills, a trend they’ll have to reverse given what could be at stake in the final weekend of the regular season. San Francisco entered Thursday tied with the Phillies for the top National League Wild Card spot, though the Cardinals, Brewers and Rockies are all within two games of the playoff picture as well.
San Francisco is in a stretch of 13 games in 12 days to end the season. The doubleheader will likely complicate the club's efforts to line up its rotation over the final weekend and potentially into the playoffs, though manager Gabe Kapler said he isn’t looking that far ahead just yet.
The Giants still haven’t announced their rotation plans for this weekend’s series against the A’s, as they’re waiting to see if right-hander Kevin Gausman will be available to return and start one of the three games. Gausman was scratched from his last scheduled outing, against the Padres on Sunday, with right elbow tightness, but his MRI came back clean and Kapler said the 29-year-old felt great while playing catch on Wednesday.
“I guess there’s just not much planning to do on that front right this minute,” Kapler said Thursday. “Obviously, we want to see how Gaus does, assuming that he’s able to make a start for us this weekend, which we’re still optimistic about. Setting up the rotation from there will be a little bit easier, but we’re also going to be paying very close attention to how extended our starters get over the course of the next five days. It’s a little early to kind of plan for that game now, although we do have options in place. I’m just not sure we’re there yet.”
Outfielder Austin Slater returned to the Giants’ lineup on Thursday for the first time in 11 days, batting leadoff and starting at designated hitter against Mariners left-hander Nick Margevicius. Slater has emerged as one of the club’s breakout hitters this year, but he’s been limited to DH duties due to a right elbow issue, which has diminished his playing time.
The Giants have preferred to start Wilmer Flores at DH, but Flores was deployed at first base on Thursday to give Brandon Belt a day off. Kapler didn’t rule out the possibility of Slater returning to the outfield before the end of the season, though he admitted that there are still a few hurdles to clear before that becomes a viable option for the Giants.
“I think it’s realistic,” Kapler said. “I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario. But I do think it’s a possibility. It looks like we’re going to attempt some catch play here in the next week, probably not in the next couple of days. We’ll see how that goes.”