By Cyril Penn
Special to S.F. Examiner
ORACLE PARK — After skipping Drew Pomeranz’ regular starting rotation spot on Thursday, Bruce Bochy will give the struggling southpaw another chance against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s squared off against Los Angeles twice already this season, with the Giants going 1-1 in those outings, and will have the tall task of dueling with one of the game’s best in Clayton Kershaw.
Bochy had hinted on June 1 that Pomeranz might be demoted to the bullpen, one day after an abysmal outing of eight earned runs on 1 1/3 innings pitched saw the lefty’s ERA rise to 8.08. However, Pomeranz was never used as a reliever.
With an off day between road trips to Baltimore and New York on June 3 allowing Bochy to stretch his rotation, perhaps the extra day of rest can help Pomeranz shake his recent swoon. Since tossing six shutout innings in a win against Toronto on April 24, he’s given up 25 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings pitched, good for a 15.70 ERA.
“The extra time, it allowed him to work on some things in the bullpen,” Bochy said. “Out hope is he’s going to go out there and give us a quality start.”
After Bochy’s June 1 comments about skipping Pomeranz in the rotation, it seemed that right-hander Dereck Rodriguez might move into the starting rotation. With a potent Dodgers’ offense batting .269 against right-handers and .257 against lefties, however, Pomeranz seems to provide the better match-up.
Bochy implored that the Giants simply want Pomeranz to, “Be himself.”
“He’s gotten away from that,” Bochy said. “I mean, he’s a good pitcher. Everybody has their tough streaks and he’s gone through one. And there’s things that happen in a tough streak. It can be a call behind the plate, it can be a ground ball that gets through that changes things.”
Aramis Garcia will get the start at catcher with Buster Posey still on the 10-day injured list with a sore right hamstring. San Francisco recalled the former 2014 second-round pick from Triple-A Sacramento on June 2 and will slot him in at the No. 7 spot in the order. He will platoon with Stephen Vogt in Posey’s absence, starting Friday and Saturday before Vogt nabs the start on Sunday.
In nine at-bats this season, Garcia has had two hits, two runs and two RBI to go with a home run. He showed some hitting ability last season with a .286 batting average, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio has been horrible in his brief time with the Giants. He struck out 32 times in 63 at-bats in 2018 with only two walks. This season, he’s struck out in five of his nine plate appearenes with one walk.
Posey will stretch with the team and throw today, before hopefully getting back to batting practice tomorrow.
In other injury-related news, left-handed reliever Travis Bergen will begin a rehabillitation stint with the High-A San Jose. Bochy says Bergen will pitch a single inning in San Jose today and will have “a few outings” in the South Bay as he works back from a shoulder strain on his throwing arm.