SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi inadvertently caused a stir in December when he told reporters that the Giants could use "openers" as they search for any edge that might help them win more games.
The staff never seriously considered it, and Zaidi ended up amassing so much starting depth that the Giants should be in pretty good shape even with a pitching injury or two. But it still is a concept Giants fans may have to get used to at some point, and they should get a look at it this weekend.
The Rays were the first to use the opener last season, with former Giant Sergio Romo among the relievers who pitched the first inning on occasion to mess with matchups. The strategy is spreading, and the Rays currently use it for two of their five spots. They lined up their rotation so that those two spots would come up in San Francisco this weekend, allowing the American League club to minimize their pitching staff's need to take at-bats.
The plan is to use right-hander Ryne Stanek to "start" on Saturday. He has made three appearances this season, including a start where he struck out three while pitching just the first inning against the Rockies. Lefty Ryan Yarbrough may follow Stanek, and the Rays likely will use a similar strategy Sunday.
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Manager Bruce Bochy said he already has spent time studying the matchups and has told players to expect some different lineups this weekend as the Giants try to counteract the opener strategy.
"We'll wait and see what they're going to do," Bochy said. "Until we know, we'll be ready for different scenarios."