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Gausman bright spot; Giants dealt DH sweep

Right-hander could be trade target as Deadline approaches
@mi_guardado
August 28, 2020

Kevin Gausman has been here before. Two years ago, the Orioles dealt Gausman and reliever Darren O’Day to the Braves at the Trade Deadline. Gausman admits that he didn’t handle the news well, as he saw it as a sign that the Orioles had given up on him after selecting

Kevin Gausman has been here before.

Two years ago, the Orioles dealt Gausman and reliever Darren O’Day to the Braves at the Trade Deadline. Gausman admits that he didn’t handle the news well, as he saw it as a sign that the Orioles had given up on him after selecting him with their first-round pick of the 2012 Draft.

Box score

It’s unclear how the Giants will choose to approach Monday’s Trade Deadline, but if they opt to dabble in selling, Gausman could be on the move again. The 29-year-old right-hander would prefer to stay in San Francisco, but he said he’ll be prepared for any possibility.

“I definitely feel more comfortable this time around,” Gausman said. “Whatever happens, it's just part of the business.”

In his final start before the Trade Deadline, Gausman showcased his intriguing stuff while allowing two runs over 4 2/3 innings in the Giants’ 2-0 loss to the Dodgers, which sealed a sweep of Thursday’s doubleheader at Oracle Park.

San Francisco was also shut out, 7-0, in the first of two seven-inning games between the archrivals, who both decided not to play on Wednesday night to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., on Sunday. It was the first time the Giants had been shut out in a doubleheader since July 25, 1943, when they dropped a pair of 2-0 games to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Giants (15-18) won their seventh consecutive game with a thrilling 10-8 walk-off win against the Dodgers on Tuesday, but their offense -- which has been one of the club’s most consistent strengths this year -- went cold on Thursday.

After mustering four hits against Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, they couldn’t advance a runner past second base against seven Dodgers relievers in Game 2. A pair of singles by Brandon Belt stood as the lone hits of the nightcap for the Giants, who finished their season series 4-6 against the Dodgers.

“You have to give credit to Kershaw, he pitched a nice game,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “In the second game, they mixed and matched well. They brought a tough bullpen and put them all together to string together seven strong innings of work. That’s the bottom line.”

Gausman, who joined San Francisco on a one-year, $9 million deal over the offseason, struck out six while walking two in the 93-pitch effort. Joc Pederson produced two of the Dodgers’ three hits against Gausman, launching a solo home run in the second inning and doubling and scoring in the fourth.

Gausman has logged a 4.54 ERA over seven appearances this year, but he could be a popular trade target for clubs in search of pitching help. He has experience pitching out of the rotation and the bullpen and pairs his mid-to-upper-90s fastball with a devastating splitter, which has a 43 percent whiff rate, according to Baseball Savant.

Gausman was originally scheduled to start on Wednesday, but the Giants decided to save him for Game 2 of their doubleheader in part because they thought his splitter would be even tougher on hitters in the late-afternoon shadows. He induced 16 swinging strikes on Thursday, with eight coming on his splitter and seven on his fastball.

The Giants will now head to Arizona for a three-game series against the D-backs, giving them one final opportunity to show president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi that they deserve to stay together and continue their surprise run for the playoffs. Gausman said he would love the chance to stick around and be part of it, though he recognizes that the decision is out of his hands.

“The only thing you can do is just go out there and pitch, try to just be a good teammate,” Gausman said. “Obviously, I don't want to leave these guys, honestly. It's been a really great group of guys. They've made coming to the ballpark really fun. In a situation with the pandemic where it's pretty frustrating, all the things that we have to go through just to even get into the ballpark, these guys have really been great. It’s been really fun to come to the ballpark every day with this group of guys.”

Regardless of what happens at the Trade Deadline, Gausman left open the possibility of extending his tenure with the Giants by re-signing as a free agent this offseason.

“It has no bearing on where I end up next year,” Gausman said. “I could get traded and you could definitely see me re-signing here. I really like this team. I really like all these guys.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.