Facing a roster conundrum, the Giants went into a must-win Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday knowing they had a hobbled bench.
Outfielder Angel Pagan was not in the lineup for a second straight game because of back spasms. Third baseman Eduardo Nunez remained limited by a hamstring strain.
Hours before Game 4, the Giants discussed replacing one or both with healthier players. The caveat: Any player removed from the NLDS roster would be ineligible to play in the National League Championship Series.
Still holding out hope of advancing – and of quick improvement by Pagan and Nunez – the Giants stood pat and did not make a move before Tuesday’s first pitch. It indicated the Giants believed Pagan, who was not available at all in Game 3, and Nunez could be ready to return as early as a potential NLDS Game 5 on Thursday in Chicago.
Pagan said his back had bothered him Saturday and he played through discomfort in Game 2 after receiving extended treatment.
Nunez pinch hit in each of the first three games of the series but looked to be running gingerly on a groundout Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy said Nunez’s hamstring “has come around slower than we had hoped.”
Big hits – How improbable was the Giants’ eighth-inning rally against Chicago closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 3? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Conor Gillaspie’s go-ahead, two-run triple was the first triple Chapman has ever allowed to a left-handed hitter in the majors. Chapman has also given up just one home run to a left-hander – Luke Scott of the Orioles in 2011.
“Gillaspie putting the ball against the wall against Chapman is one of the unlikely things in any series,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Give the guy credit, man.”
Gillaspie and Brandon Crawford, who followed Gillaspie’s triple with an RBI single, became just the third duo of left-handed batters to get hits off Chapman in one game.
Mistaken identity – Cubs pitcher Jon Lester found himself in a strange situation after the first presidential debate. Lester received a flood of angry Twitter mentions from users who apparently confused him for debate moderator Lester Holt.
“It’s pretty unbelievable, right?” Lester said Tuesday.
The Chicago left-hander actually responded to some of the tweets with variations of the message: “I think you have the wrong Lester.” Asked Tuesday what he thinks of Twitter, Lester, the Cubs’ potential Game 5 starter, did not mince words.
“I hate it,” he said. “Hate it.”
Lester explained that he uses Twitter mostly to promote his foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research. Lester was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 when he was with the Boston Red Sox. He said while social media can be “very useful” for such causes, it has drawbacks.
“My kids have to grow up with this and the Facebook, and it’s real easy to sit behind a computer screen or your phone and type something and not think twice about it,” Lester said. “But that person on the other side that’s reading it, it could have some ramifications for them.”
Et cetera – The Giants’ Game 3 win over the Cubs was their 10th consecutive in playoff elimination games. According to Elias, they are just the third team in the four major U.S. sports with 10 or more such wins in a row, joining the 1959-1967 Boston Celtics (11) and 2002-06 New England Patriots (10).
▪ Warriors forward Draymond Green threw out the first pitch Tuesday at AT&T Park. He bounced it.