Bleary-eyed Giants, Cardinals ready for NLCS, etc.

October 14, 2012, 3:12 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- To his best recollection, Bruce Bochyshead hit the pillow around 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The Giants manager knowsfor sure he was awake by 9.

So youll forgive a bout of momentary confusion, such as whensomeone asked him about sharing the Sunday spotlight in the Bay Area with the49ers.

Yeah, Bochy said. Who are the Giants playing again?

He smiled as he realized his mistake.

Well, it is a bit confusing. the 49ers are playing thefootball Giants. The St. Louis Cardinals are playing the baseball Giants. Andwe probably shouldnt confound the situation, but the football Cardinals areplaying the Buffalo Bills.

Heres the important part: Bochys Giants and Mike MathenysCardinals both landed at San Francisco International Airport past 5 a.m. aftera crazy, hazy night for both clubs.

The Cardinals got on a plane after coming back from a 6-0deficit, refusing to bow out 13 times when down to their final strike, andscoring four in the ninth to stun the Washington Nationals Saturday night atNationals Park.

The Giants, stuck in Cincinnati following their clinchingcelebration Thursday night, watched the Nats rattle off a big lead from ahospitality suite in their hotel. They left around the sixth inning and by thetime they boarded their plane, the game was in the ninth.

The timing was perfect, Bochy said. Everything was goingwell.

Players watched the game on their iPads and phones. Severalwives and girlfriends were calling with updates, since the Internet broadcastwas delayed by a few seconds.

Oh, it was funny, Posey said. It was a sight to see. AndIll tell you what, whoever made the call to wait until the end of the game,that was a good idea. I was ready to take off to DC.

But the Cardinals worked a series of impossibly tough, grindingat-bats against Nationals closer Drew Storen. Posey watched carefully, knowinghe might have to game-plan to get these hitters out in two days.

I love watching games this time of year, Posey said. If Ican pick up even something subtle, it can lead to an advantage. Thats the funthing about baseball. Each game is so different. You have to be able to changeas the game progresses. I enjoy the chess match, you could say, of makingadjustments game to game, at-bat to at-bat and even within an at-bat.

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The Cardinals won and the Giants, while not necessarilyrooting for either team, were glad to be going home.

There was just one problem: The plane only had enough fuelto go to Washington. So they had to wait for a refueling truck to arrive. Thenthey had an even bigger problem: A hydraulic system didnt pass the pre-checkinspection, and it took almost three hours to repair it.

Bochys wife watched a whole movie before the plane tookoff. Were assuming it wasnt Gandhi.

Darn shame, Bochy said. We were going to get in before2.

Instead, they beat the Cardinals flight to the tarmac byjust a few minutes. Hey, at least theyre all in the same boat. (Yes, thats amixed metaphor. Im sleep-deprived too, OK?)

Jeremy Affeldt threw off a bullpen mound and said he feltfine, but his left thumb was wrapped and his entire hand was immobilized in asplint that ran up his forearm.

Bochy didnt expect to have to replace Affeldt on the NLCSroster, which is due at 10 a.m. But the manager wasnt ruling anything out withhis calamitous lefty, who is more injury prone than Scooby Doo surrounded byball bearings and banana peels.

He thinks hell be back to normal, Bochy said. But hestill has to go home and cook or something tonight.

The Cardinals will not change their roster from the NLDS,Matheny said.

Matheny said the dugout even before the Cardinals begantheir comeback was borderline high school football in its intensity andrelentless positive energy.

And to think, they dont even have a Hunter Pence.

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Someone sent Brandon Belt a video file of his play inCincinnati, when he dived into the stands chasing a foul ball. As Belt wasstretched out over the railing, a young lady seized the opportunity to slapBelts uh posterior.

I never even felt it, said Belt, who found the cliphilarious.

Posey told an interesting story. He said when he waslearning to catch his sophomore year at Florida State, nothing helped him morethan watching major league games on TV.

Id try to study how guys set up with runners on base, howthey framed pitches, Posey said.

When Posey arrived in big league spring training, what tapes did bullpen catcher Bill Hayes send to him?

"Old video of Matheny," Posey said. "Billy raved about the way he blocked balls."

OK, I lied. Heres one more gem from Game 5 in Cincinnati,courtesy of our Drew Shiller:

Buster Poseys grand slam landed in the second deck at GreatAmerican Ball Park, 434 feet away.

Poseys first career home run came June 9, 2010. It landedin the second deck at Great American Ball Park, 439 feet away.

That last one traveled 5 feet shorter, but carried him so much higher.

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