Ty Blach

Giants designate Ty Blach for assignment, clear 40-man spot for Logan Webb

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Giants designate Ty Blach for assignment, clear 40-man spot for Logan Webb

SAN FRANCISCO -- It wasn't long ago that Ty Blach stepped in as an emergency starter for the Giants on Opening Day. On Saturday, they designated him for assignment. 

Right-hander Logan Webb is eligible to return to Double-A Richmond after serving an 80-game suspension for use of a banned substance. The Giants brought him off the inactive list and cleared a 40-man spot by DFA'ing Blach, who made 87 appearances for them over four years but had pitched in the big leagues just twice this season. 

Blach, 28, was a fixture in the rotation at points of the 2017 and 2018 seasons and had some strong runs -- particularly against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, who couldn't quite figure the lefty out. He made 24 starts in 2017 and 13 last year, stepping in on Opening Day when Madison Bumgarner got hurt at the end of the spring. 

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Blach pitched five shutout innings at Dodger Stadium that afternoon, but overall he had just a 4.56 ERA as a Giant. Both of his appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. Blach had a 5.93 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento. 

Webb, 22, was on the fast track before a positive test that he has passionately fought. He threw well in tuneup appearances in recent weeks and still has a chance to finish his season in Triple-A. Webb was in big league camp this spring and should be back next February, with an outside shot at competing for a rotation spot. 

How Giants pitchers and prospects could be affected by using opener

How Giants pitchers and prospects could be affected by using opener

SAN FRANCISCO -- No matter how Nick Vincent fares as the Giants' opener Tuesday, you can bet this isn't just a one-game experiment. A front office that opts for something so untraditional isn't going to base any future decisions on one or two innings.

So the Giants have officially joined the opener era, and they'll do it again, perhaps adding their own twist. They have internally discussed wide-ranging concepts for getting 27 outs, and at the Winter Meetings in December, Farhan Zaidi explained why the idea of using a reliever in the first inning is so appealing. 

"Once you get away from 'this guy is going to throw the first six innings of the game,' it opens up a lot of stuff," Zaidi said at the time. "Even with an opener, is an opener a one-inning guy, a two-inning guy, a three-inning guy? Again, I think the more versatile your pitching staff is and the more kind of multi-inning guys you have, the more kinds of ways you can get through (games)."

Even though they haven't tried it yet, the Giants actually do have a staff with plenty of good options. Here's a look at how the opener could open opportunities for some current Giants:

Derek Holland: Moved to the bullpen over the weekend, he could end up being the "bulk innings" guy if the Giants want a lefty soaking up most of the outs. Perhaps he's even the choice to follow Vincent, a righty, on Tuesday. 

Holland's strikeout rate (10.9) is the highest of his career and he's holding lefties to a .437 OPS. Imagine him coming into a game when the opponent has lefties stacked up for a couple of innings? Holland also did well out of the bullpen last year, so this won't be new to him. 

Trevor Gott: Vincent was the choice for Tuesday's first inning, but Gott could also be a good option down the line. With a fastball that sits 95-96 mph, he would be an uncomfortable way for a lineup stacked with righties to start a game. 

Tyler Beede: There are some in the organization who still feel Beede's best chance at having an impact in the big leagues is as a reliever, and with a 98 mph fastball, good curve and plus changeup, he certainly has a repertoire that would fit in short stints, too. With a lesser load to worry about the fastball would play up, and Beede got bullpen experience last year in Triple-A, so the warming-up aspect wouldn't be new to him. 

Travis Bergen: The rookie doesn't have huge splits so far, but if the Giants are to turn to a lefty in the first inning, Bergen would be the likely choice since Tony Watson and Will Smith are late-innings fixtures. 

Reyes Moronta: Alright, this is a bit extreme, but if you really want to make an opponent uncomfortable, imagine Moronta coming out in the first throwing 98 mph fastballs? Against an opponent with righties at the top -- say, the Trevor Story/Nolan Arenado Rockies -- Moronta could be a good bet to get through a couple of shutout innings and give Bochy just seven innings to figure out. One of the main points of the opener, after all, is to make sure your best pitchers get in while the game is important. 

Ty Blach: He's still on the 40-man roster, and the Giants considered using him to open for Jeff Samardzija last month. Blach ended up getting rocked by the Dodgers, but the Giants may turn to him again as they start getting creative. Blach has the ability to stretch out to four or five innings if he's having one of those nights when a lineup can't figure him out and he's sprinting back and forth from the dugout to mound. 

Madison Bumgarner: Just to be clear, the Giants would never use an opener for their best pitcher. This is something you only do once a rotation, for the most part, so this will never be a concern:

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Shaun Anderson: A closer at the University of Florida, Anderson would have no issues figuring out the bullpen part, and the Giants may find that this is a good way to ease their top pitching prospect into the big leagues. The Giants could start someone like Bergen and then bring Anderson in to try and get through a lineup twice with a completely different look. In fact, the Giants announced that Anderson will make his MLB debut on Wednesday -- but it appears he'll be used as the traditional starter.

Pablo Sandoval: Ok, this is *mostly* a joke. But Bruce Bochy loves rewarding one of his all-time favorite players, and if the season keeps going this way, it would be one hell of a story to let Sandoval take the mound in a September game and then shift over to an infield spot for the final eight innings. Also, keep in mind that Bochy wants to let Sandoval play all nine positions at some point. Why not start that day on the mound? 

Giants takeaways: Pitching struggles on tough homestand vs. heavyweights

Giants takeaways: Pitching struggles on tough homestand vs. heavyweights

SAN FRANCISCO -- It seemed odd when relief pitcher Trevor Gott started warming up in the fourth inning of a close game Tuesday night, until you realized that Ty Blach was sitting in the Giants dugout. 

No Giant has had more success against the Dodgers over the last few years than Blach, who was recalled Tuesday, and it certainly appeared the Giants had him lined up for a significant role. Blach did end up throwing 66 pitches, but not for the right reasons. 

The lefty entered with a 1.88 ERA in 57 1/3 career innings against the Dodgers but gave up six runs in his first frame of the season as the Giants lost 10-3. If the plan was to have Blach carry a heavy load in a win, it blew up quickly. Instead, he hit "wear it" territory, throwing 3 1/3 innings to try to save a bullpen that included several players who needed the night off. 

Blach may be removed from the roster as soon as Wednesday. He was here for the series, and the Giants reportedly are calling up catcher Stephen Vogt, who could take that roster spot Wednesday and then possibly stay in place of Erik Kratz moving forward. 

Another move is expected Friday, with the Giants tentatively lining Tyler Beede up to start against the Reds. Beede would join a staff that's unexpectedly reeling. In five home games against the Yankees and Dodgers, the Giants have given up 36 runs.

Manager Bruce Bochy said he's not concerned. 

"You look at the first series (against the Yankees) and the starters had a tough go," Bochy said. "We played well (Monday) and it just got away from us in the sixth inning (Tuesday). I think overall we're fine. These guys are not tired."

[RELATED: Top Giants pitching prospect Webb suspended for PEDs]

--- Last night was one of those nights when you wonder how much longer Buster Posey will be allowed to catch. He took a wicked foul tip for the second straight game, this one appearing to ricochet off both legs and possibly somewhere else. Posey was pulled after the six-run inning but Bochy said he's fine. 

--- First base umpire Tim Timmons was 100 percent sure that David Freese's opposite-field shot against Drew Pomeranz had cleared the brick wall, immediately twirling his finger to signal home run. Replays showed the ball only cleared by about an inch, and in the moment it looked like Timmons had escaped disaster. There was a Dodger hung up between third and home and two between first and second as he signaled that it was a home run and Steven Duggar tried to throw the ball in. Had he been wrong, that would have been a disaster. 

But Timmons made a hell of a call, probably for the same reason the Giants didn't use a challenge. 

"We heard it hit the tin," Bochy said. "It's a dreaded sound when it's from the other side."

Bochy said the Giants still double-checked the broadcast feed to confirm that they should not challenge. Give credit to Timmons, though. We complain about umpires a lot, but he made the right and difficult call in the moment and never wavered.