SAN FRANCISCO — If a lineup could talk, Giants manager Gabe Kapler’s card for Game 2 of the National League Division Series would be screaming just one thing:
“KNOCK JULIO URIAS OUT EARLY AND THEN WE’LL BRING THE GLOVES IN.”
Kapler went heavy on right-handed bats against the Dodgers left-hander, who was the only 20-game winner in the big leagues this season. Kapler has Darin Ruf in left field and leading off, followed by center fielder Kris Bryant and right fielder Austin Slater. It’s a subpar defensive alignment, but the Giants surely hope to get to Urias in the first inning or shortly thereafter, and then change it up with guys like Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Steven Duggar.
Here’s the full lineup, which includes only one left-handed bat aside from starting pitcher Kevin Gausman:
Will it work? Well, Urias doesn’t even really have differing splits — he’s been that good this season — but the Giants have had success with Ruf leading off in righty-heavy lineups, and Slater crushed southpaws, too. Bryant homered in Game 1 on Friday night.
Bryant has made just three starts in center field since being traded to the Giants, but he has not looked comfortable in right field, which is harder to play at Oracle Park.
The Dodgers didn’t have big changes, but they did swap Chris Taylor in for Matt Beaty, who was part of a brutal night for the bottom of their lineup Friday:
Gausman made three starts against the Dodgers this season and allowed five runs in 14 innings. They didn’t hit him hard, but they showed an ability to lay off his splitter and get his pitch count up early.