Casey Kelly

Casey Kelly impresses Giants, could reunite with father in Cincinnati

Casey Kelly impresses Giants, could reunite with father in Cincinnati

SAN FRANCISCO — Casey Kelly’s father, Pat, is the interim bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds. When he was called up by the Giants on Friday, Casey didn’t want to think much about the possibility of being reunited next week. He didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself, but it now seems likely that Kelly will be in Cincinnati next weekend. He actually might start a game.

On an otherwise lifeless night for the Giants, Kelly pitched five sharp innings out of the bullpen. He allowed just two singles, but it was too little, too late in a 4-0 loss to the Pirates. Manager Bruce Bochy said the staff would discuss what to do with the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

“What a great job he did,” Bochy said of Kelly. “He really pitched well and he’s been throwing the ball well, and that’s why he’s here. He’s a strike-thrower with all his pitches. He’s a four-pitch guy that pounds the strike zone with quality strikes, too. He had a good tempo out there. He got the ball and went.”

The Giants don’t technically need a fifth starter right away. They are off Thursday after playing three with the Dodgers, but Bochy always prefers to use those built-in days to give his regular starters a break. That seems more important than usual with two rookies — Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez — in the rotation. You would think they know all they need to know about Ty Blach at this point. Chris Stratton might be in the same boat, although when he was optioned back to Triple-A, there was hope that he could make some mechanical adjustments. 

Kelly, 28, took over for Blach in the fifth and showed a lot of the traits you would expect from a veteran who has lost a touch of his best stuff. He worked quickly and pounded the bottom of the strike zone, getting eight outs on the ground and striking out three more. Kelly threw just 58 pitches in his five innings, 42 of which were strikes. 

“He was really good,” catcher Buster Posey said. “He mixed four pitches well. It was impressive.”

Kelly had a 4.78 ERA in 23 starts for Triple-A Sacramento, but showed a tendency to mix in plenty of gems. He had six starts of seven innings or more, and all six times he gave up fewer than two runs. The ERA was wrecked by a few rough starts in a league full of unforgiving ballparks.

Perhaps the Giants can catch lightning in a bottle for a few starts.

Giants get shut out by Pirates after retiring Barry Bonds' jersey

Giants get shut out by Pirates after retiring Barry Bonds' jersey

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A day before facing the Giants, Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams posted a funny message on Twitter.

“I’m really excited to watch Barry Bonds get his number retired by the Giants on Saturday,” Williams wrote. “I’m also slightly terrified that he will sign a one-day contract and be in the lineup.”

Williams had nothing to worry about. Bonds spent the night in a suit and tie, making the rounds on his big night. The guys on the field did absolutely nothing against Williams, who dominated in seven innings of a 4-0 win. The Giants scattered six hits and went down quietly inning after inning.

Here's what else you need to know ... 

— Ty Blach’s return to the rotation wasn’t great. Blach was sharp early, but gave up a three-run homer to Josh Bell in the fourth to fall behind 4-0. That was his final inning. 

— Casey Kelly took over for Blach and pitched well in his Giants debut. The former top prospect allowed just two singles over five shutout innings. There’s a very real possibility that he’s the fifth starter now. 

— The Giants failed to take advantage of a rough night for the top of the NL West. The Diamondbacks lost to the Reds and the Dodgers got walked off at Coors Field. The Giants remain six games out. 

— Francisco Cervelli left the game after taking a foul tip off the mask early on. Both Giants catcher have been watched for concussion symptoms in the past week. Catching is a rough job, man.

Giants promote former top prospect Casey Kelly

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River Cats

Giants promote former top prospect Casey Kelly

SAN FRANCISCO — The timing couldn’t have been better for Casey Kelly’s promotion to the big leagues. His dad, Pat, is the bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds, and the Giants make their only visit to Cincinnati next weekend. 

Before Friday’s game, Casey didn’t want to think much about the possibility. He smiled and said he hopes he’s still around. At the very least, it appears he’s the latest to get a chance to stick as a long reliever. 

Kelly was called up Friday and added to the active roster after the Giants optioned Derek Law back to Triple-A. The 28-year-old had a 4.78 ERA in 23 Triple-A starts, with 104 strikeouts. He can start or relieve, and for now it appears he’ll be the long reliever, with Ty Blach still scheduled to start Saturday’s game. 

Kelly is a former top prospect and has 19 big league appearances for the Padres and Braves. The right-hander hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2016, but he joined the Giants organization last summer and coaches said he has shown good stuff in his year with them. 

"Whenever you get in contention to get called up it's awesome," Kelly said. "I've been there a couple of times, so I know what to expect, but it's still cool."

To clear a 40-man roster spot, the Giants put Johnny Cueto on the 60-day DL. Cueto will be out until at least next September after having Tommy John surgery. 

— Barring a setback, Brandon Belt will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Belt is expected to play two or three games with the River Cats before returning to the big league lineup. 

“He’s ready to go,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’ll get some at-bats and if all goes well he’ll meet us in Los Angeles.”

The Giants face Clayton Kershaw on Monday, so Tuesday seems like a likely date for Belt’s activation. Belt has missed 13 games already with a hyperextended right knee.