7:52pm: Cueto has been diagnosed with a grade 1 strain but will likely only need to have his next start pushed back, per manager Bruce Bochy, via Baggarly (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Crawford is wearing a splint and won’t play tonight, but says he expects to play through the injury once the pain subsides somewhat, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets.
8:58am: While the Giants topped the Dodgers last night in a 2-0 victory, the win was somewhat bittersweet, as both Johnny Cueto and Brandon Crawford departed early with injuries. Crawford dislocated his left pinkie finger while sliding into third base, whereas Cueto suffered a groin strain that will lead to an MRI today, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes.
Cueto was in good spirits following the injury and displayed a sense of humor about the injury, likening the injury to “a crab going there and biting me,” per Baggarly. Cueto’s curious and upbeat demeanor notwithstanding, though, the Giants can ill afford to lose their rotation’s No. 2 even for a lone start. San Francisco is currently in a three-way tie with New York and St. Louis for the two National League Wild Card spots, so each of the remaining 11 games on the Giants’ schedule is of the utmost importance to their postseason hopes. Giants GM Bobby Evans called Cueto day-to-day last night when asked by ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Twitter link), but the extent of the damage remains to be seen.
Cueto, 30, signed a six-year, $130MM contract with an opt-out following the second season of the deal this winter, as the Giants showed faith that his downturn in effectiveness during his Royals tenure was an aberration and not the beginning of any notable decline. Cueto has emphatically rewarded that faith in his first Giants season, pitching to a pristine 2.79 ERA with 7.9 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 in 212 1/3 innings behind ace Madison Bumgarner in the rotation. While the Giants have been ice cold in the season’s second half, that pairing alone would give the team as formidable a punch as any opponent could muster in a short playoff series.
Crawford, meanwhile, had his finger popped back into place in the tunnel following the injury and was wearing a splint on his hand after the game. However, the Giants are at least somewhat fortunate that the injury was sustained on Crawford’s glove hand as opposed to this throwing hand. X-rays after the game ruled out a fracture, Baggarly writes, but the 29-year-old shortstop is listed as day-to-day as well, with the chief concern likely to be how the finger injury impacts his ability to swing a bat. Crawford is one of baseball’s premier defenders at shortstop and is in the midst of his third consecutive above-average season at the plate, having batted .268/.334/.424 with a dozen homers, 28 doubles and nine triples under his belt.