Aug. 5, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy was so loose before Thursday's game against the Phillies that when there was a brief lull during his daily dugout skull session with the media he actually broke out into a little chair-dance.You know the chair-dance, right? You do it in your car when a particular song moves you. You break into a half-body gig, maybe even bite your lower lip for emphasis.That was Bochy on Thursday. On Friday? No chair-dancing. Strictly business.And understandably so. Cliff Lee of the Phillies on Thursday night christened the four-game series with such complete dominance from the mound that the Giants never seemed to have a chance, and Friday's game brought another look at Philadelphia rookie Vance Worley, who rolled the defending world champs last week in the City of Brotherly Love. Countering Worley on Friday at AT&T Park: Jonathan Sanchez, in his first big-league appearance since June 24. Sanchez, as we all know, is a question mark any time he takes the mound. This time, the first time he's faced the Phils since his mental meltdown in Game 6 of the 2010 National League Championship Series, was an even bigger question mark, whether Bochy wanted to admit it or not.
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He didn't, of course. Bochy is beloved in the clubhouse because he always has the backs of his guys, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the short, clipped answers the skipper offered in response to virtually every question thrown his way as his players stretched in front of the home dugout suggested that he was feeling a certain sense of urgency as the series headed into the weekend.Asked about Hunter Pence, who has yet to lose in a Phillies uniform since coming over in a pre-trade-deadline deal, Bochy seemed ready to roll his eyes, knowing the question had as much to do with Carlos Beltran as Pence."He's a quality right-handed bat, and that's what they were looking for, so sure, he makes them that much better," Bochy said. "It's along the lines of getting departed free agent Jayson Werth back."On the struggles of his left and center fielders -- Nate Schierholtz, Cody Ross, Andres Torres and Aaron Rowand -- Bochy was a little more expansive, noting how important Torres' speed element is to the lineup, and he conceded that the collective funk makes writing out the lineup a "tough decision every day."Looking to spin something positive, Bochy found an opening when first baseman Aubrey Huff's name was mentioned. The Giants optioned rookie first basemanoutfielder Brandon Belt to Triple-A Fresno on Thursday, and it was an unpopular move to say the least. Bochy, though, said he likes the way Huff has been swinging the bat of late, and the numbers back him up.Huff was 5-for-15 on the homestand through four games and was batting .341 (14-for-41) over his past 13 games."I think he's swinging with more confidence," Bochy said. "We got him a little break last weekend in Cincinnati, with Brandon getting in there for a couple of games, and it helped. I think Huff was close to out of gas."No real news came out of Bochy's session, other than the suggestion that right-handed hitters Rowand and Ross are likely to start in the outfield Saturday against lefty Cole Hamels, and that Mark DeRosa might get the call at first base.