As spring training nears its conclusion, the SF Giants are beginning to answer some early-season questions. In a videoconference with reporters, manager Gabe Kapler revealed that he plans to start right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman on Opening Day against the Seattle Mariners. Gausman was easily the best starter in San Francisco last season, but veteran Johnny Cueto has the resume to justify an Opening Day nod as well.
Kapler noted Cueto will start the team’s second game of the season. Cueto will then be scheduled to pitch in the team’s home opener on April 9th against the Colorado Rockies. By confirming that Cueto will pitch the second and seventh games of the season, Kapler acknowledged the Giants will start the year with a five-man rotation.
SF Giants name Kevin Gausman Opening Day starter.
The Giants first signed Gausman prior to last season on a one-year, $9 million deal. Coming off a peculiar season with the Reds, where his peripheral numbers were strong, but his ERA and traditional numbers were terrible. The Giants bet on the former fourth overall pick bouncing back. Their investment paid off.
In 2020, Gausman produced the highest strikeout rate of his career and maintained an above-average 3.62 ERA. FIP (3.09) and other advanced metrics were even higher on his performance. His performance was strong enough to entice the Giants to offer him a qualifying offer, which he accepted.
Gausman is scheduled to make one more appearance during spring training. Thus far, he’s made three preseason appearances, completed eight innings, struck out seven, walked one, and posted a 5.63 ERA. Cueto is also slated for one more spring start before the beginning of the regular season. Cueto has surrendered eight runs, recorded nine strikeouts and four walks, across 7.1 innings of work.
Back in San Francisco on another one-year deal, Kevin Gausman will once again play a big part of the SF Giants rotation. Now slated to be the team’s Opening Day starter, Gausman will face a new set of expectations. On Opening Day against the Seattle Mariners, he will have his first opportunity to assert himself as the team’s ace in 2021.