Giants not necessarily 'showcasing' Schierholtz


Giants not necessarily 'showcasing' Schierholtz

PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants aren't necessarily looking to trade Nate Schierholtz, even though he's made it clear he would welcome a fresh opportunity elsewhere.

That's not to state Schierholtz won't be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline. He's a useful player and other clubs will be sure to inquire about his availability. Maybe it'll take parting with Schierholtz, by himself or as part of a package, to bring in someone who could impact the team in another way.

But I can tell you this much, as the Giants take the field on a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Philly: Schierholtz isn't in the lineup because GM Brian Sabean wants to showcase him.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sitting Gregor Blanco against a left-hander, as has become the fashion. Instead of Justin Christian, Bochy is going with Schierholtz because he's 4-for-6 against Phillies starter Cole Hamels. And as Bochy pointed out, Hamels is tough on lefties and righties alike. It's a decision that makes pretty good baseball sense.

Plus Bochy liked Schierholtz's at-bats the previous night, when he started in place of struggling outfielder Angel Pagan.

Sure, Schierholtz hasn't played nearly as much as he hoped. He's on pace for just 248 at-bats this season, which is almost 100 fewer than last year. It's understandable that a 28-year-old outfielder would feel a sense of urgency to get an everyday opportunity, through hot streaks and cold streaks, to get his career going while his window is still open.

For now, though, he is not just hanging onto a roster spot. If Pagan continues to struggle against right-handers, Schierholtz's time could pick up. And there's always the chance someone could get hurt. Depth is a good thing to have.

So don't assume that Schierholtz is playing his last two weeks as a Giant.

Aubrey Huff's MRI exam showed patellar tendinitis in his left knee. He'll rest over the weekend and be reevaluated.

Brandon Crawford, who hit a grand slam as part of a five-RBI night, is out of the lineup against Hamels. Joaquin Arias is at shortstop instead, and Brandon Belt is starting in the No. 8 spot for the first time all season (second time in his career).

NEWS: Giants lineup -- Arias, Belt in

Feel free to argue the baseball sense of those decisions to your heart's content.

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Clayton Kershaw stands between the Cubs and the World Series, a possibility that left veteran catcher David Ross thinking about Ric Flair inside Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse late Thursday night: To be The Man, you got to beat The Man. 

“Woo!” That’s how the Cubs like to punctuate their postgame celebration routine, channeling the professional wrestling legend in a ritual with so much sensory overload that the fog machine set off fire alarms throughout the underground Wrigley Field lair…after a win in the middle of August. “Woo!” 
The Cubs left Los Angeles one win away from their first National League pennant since 1945, and with two chances to pull it off this weekend at Wrigley Field, beginning on Saturday night in Game 6. So imagine how this crew would trash the Party Room if they beat Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP. 

“The guy competes,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s pretty much like mechanics be damned, it’s just about me beating you somehow. 

“He’s got a good fastball that he locates. He doesn’t walk people. He’s got a dynamic curve and slider. And he’s got deception. He’s a little bit funky, and that’s got to be hard to pick up. The ball gets on you pretty quickly, and then he commands it. 

“So there’s nothing you could possibly ask for that he doesn’t already have.”

Now we’ll see if something clicked while the Cubs turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 NLCS lead – handling rookie starters Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda and the softer parts of the Los Angeles bullpen – or if those 18 runs combined in Games 4 and 5 were a mirage.

In 16-plus innings so far, the Cubs still haven’t scored a run off Kershaw, if-necessary Game 7 lefty starter Rich Hill or dominating closer Kenley Jansen, who got this review from Maddon: “He’s like a 100-pound heavier version of Mariano Rivera. He’s the bigger man with the same kind of stuff.”


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series

CLEVELAND -- Wild Thing will have to stay in the bullpen during the World Series.

While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the movie "Major League" offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices have already been made.

A spokesman told the AP on Friday that MLB has worked with the Indians to identify "former franchise greats" to throw out the first pitch for the games in Cleveland. An announcement is expected early next week.

The Indians host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, Cleveland will host Games 6 and 7 on Nov. 1-2.

There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw the first pitch and be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen got wind of the buzz and responded on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and wrote, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

Sheen made an appearance during the playoffs at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Released in 1989, "Major League" is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players including Vaughn, who struggled to find the strike zone and warmed up to "Wild Thing," a No. 1 hit song in 1966 by The Troggs.

The real Cleveland Indians, who overcame injuries to win the AL Central, before knocking off Boston and Toronto in the playoffs, took a page from "Major League" this season.

Slugger Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis constructed a shrine in an empty clubhouse stall between their lockers like one in the movie. In the film, character Pedro Cerrano practices Voodoo and prays to an idol named, "Jobu" to help him hit curveballs.

Like Cerrano, Napoli and Kipnis have their own "Jobu" and have left gifts, including small bottles of rum and cigars, to keep them out of hitting slumps.