Pagan hears, responds to Bochy's 'wakeup call'


Pagan hears, responds to Bochy's 'wakeup call'


DENVER Giants manager Bruce Bochy didnt stare directly atAngel Pagan throughout Fridays pregame meeting. His message was meant for thegroup, even if some players needed to hear it more than others.

But clearly, Pagan was the most frustrated hitter in theGiants lineup. His mind had becoming a tangle of frustration and fixation. Afree agent after the season, and with the outfield suddenly pinched with thearrival of Hunter Pence, you couldnt blame Pagan for feeling a sense ofurgency panic, even to start putting up numbers.

Sitting him wouldve been the easiest course of action. ButGregor Blanco hasnt been a dynamo in the leadoff spot of late, either. And theGiants know what kind of everyday impact Pagan can make when hes healthy andin a good frame of mind. They saw it just a couple months ago, when he hitsafely in a remarkable 46 of 48 games. They saw the way he efficiently stolebases and put himself into scoring position. They knew he could be every bitthe spark that Andres Torres was in 2010.

So Bochy held that meeting, and challenged his hitters to manup and compete better.

REWIND: Bochy challenges Giants

Then he put Pagan in the leadoff spot for the first timesince May 22.

Pagan responded in the Giants 16-4 victory over theColorado Rockies. He finished a home run away from the cycle while also drawinga walk the first time hes reached base four times in a game via hit or walk sinceMay 18 -- 62 games ago.
RECAP: Giants 16, Rockies 4
Pagans problems mostly have been from the left side, and hewas batting right-handed when he doubled and walked against Jonathan Sanchez.But Pagan later cranked an RBI triple from the left side against right-handerMike Ekstrom, and he also reached on an infield single.

He scored aggressively on a wild pitch, too.

He put himself in position to utilize his speed something hehadnt done while the strikeouts were piling up.

That was huge for us, and for him, Bochy said. He reallyput together a nice game. Sometimes you end up fighting yourself instead ofdoing what youre supposed to do, and thats competing.

Pagan said he appreciated Bochys message, calling it awakeup call.

But he also credited hitting coach Hensley Bam Bam Meulensand hitting coordinator Joe Lefebvre for helping him key on some mechanicalthings he was doing in previous seasons.

A good game like that is a good start for me, Pagan said. Imade an adjustment in the cage and I took it out there. But tomorrow is anotherday. I need to keep doing it, and thats the most important thing.

That meeting was very encouraging. We needed somebody topick us up because the energy level was down. We have to be honest about that.We needed to go out and have fun.

The Giants need more games like this from Pagan.

"We need him," Buster Posey said. "Hes going to be huge for us. With his speed,he can do a lot of things, so it was nice to see him swinging the bat welltonight."

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Four years ago, Giants coaches made no secret of the fact that they felt some veterans were affected by playing in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants were coming off a long postseason run, but eight of their big leaguers chose to participate in the 2013 event. 

Four years later, the list is down to just four, and the Giants won’t stand in their way. Buster Posey has already been announced as a catcher for Team USA and Brandon Crawford is expected to play as well. Johnny Cueto has told the Giants that he intends on pitching for the Dominican Republic and Albert Suarez plans to pitch for his native Venezuela. 

In past years, clubs have primarily been concerned about pitchers. In an odd way, hitters are almost better off playing in the WBC instead of facing amped up prospects in Cactus League games. The Giants learned that lesson the hard way in 2015 when Hunter Pence was drilled by a prospect with a lack of command, causing him to miss the start of the season. For pitchers, the run-up to Opening Day is a tedious one, but Giants officials said they’re not concerned about their co-ace, Cueto, participating. 

“Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to help us protect them in terms of the quantity of players on the roster and pitch counts and innings,” general manager Bobby Evans said. “We feel MLB is working carefully to help all of us manage guys while they’re away from camp. We feel as confident as ever that they’ll be protected. Lessons have been learned, and everyone involved will try to find ways to avoid issues.”

If Crawford commits to playing, he could find himself in a fun spot. Nolan Arenado has already said he will play for the United States and the two National League West stars could form one hell of a defensive duo on the left side of the infield. Posey will start for a team that already has Max Scherzer and Chris Archer as part of the starting staff. Evans said the teams will carry three catchers, and Posey isn’t expected to be overworked. His manager said he’s not worried about the decision. Posey will simply have to start his preparation process a bit sooner.

“I’m fine with it,” Bruce Bochy said of Posey playing. “Buster wants to do it and I’m good with it.”

This will be the fourth edition of the WBC. In 2013, the Giants were represented by Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Angel Pagan, Santiago Casilla, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Jose Mijares. 

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Bruce Bochy had grown accustomed to being in the October spotlight during even years, so he had a hard time getting on board as a spectator during one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory. 

Bochy’s Giants blew a three-run lead in their final game of the season, a loss so devastating that several players headed home the next day without even packing up their lockers. Two months later, Bochy is all smiles. He likes his team, and on Monday he got the closer he needed back in Game 4 of the NLDS. 

Bochy sat down with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday for a one-on-one interview about Mark Melancon, left field, that postseason loss, his new coaches and much more. It will air tonight on SportsTalk Live at 5 p.m. and we’ll run the whole thing back as a podcast. But for now, here are Bochy’s thoughts on the loss that ended his even-year run: 

“I had a hard time, I’m not going to lie. In all my years, that’s the toughest game I’ve ever had to bounce back off of,” he said. “It took a while. It was hard to watch that first postseason game but gradually it got a little better. Just the way we went out, that’s a tough way to go. Our bullpen has been such a big reason for our success so to go out that way, it really wasn’t just that game — it was the second half — we just had a hard time trying to get it figured out. 

“You know, you’ve got to put it behind you, but I’m not going to lie, that was a pretty big blow to the chin. It took a while to get over it.” 

The Giants led the Cubs 5-2 when Bochy made the decision to pull Matt Moore after eight brilliant innings and 120 pitches. That night, Moore and Bochy and everyone else involved said that there was a consensus that Moore had reached the end of the line. Two months later, Bochy doesn’t regret the move. Moore’s 120 pitches went down as the postseason high. 

“I think you can always look back, but these cards have backs on them,” Bochy said. “I felt good about protecting Moore. If he goes back out there he’s probably looking at 135 or maybe more pitches or you’ve got to bring a reliever in with men on base. I felt with the three-run lead that the guys I had could get three outs.” 

Derek Law was the first man out of the bullpen and he gave up a single that was inches from Brandon Crawford’s glove. Javier Lopez walked Anthony Rizzo. Sergio Romo entered and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Will Smith gave up a single to pinch-hitter Willson Contreras. After an error, Hunter Strickland gave up a single to Javier Baez. The Cubs won 6-5 and went on to win the World Series. 

“We knew we could get the matchups that we wanted,” Bochy said on Tuesday. “It started out with Law and he got the ground ball right in the shift. The walk hurt. We got behind Rizzo and ended up walking him and Romo ended up getting behind Zobrist and that hurt, the double. And then we had Smitty. I was comfortable and sure they put in the right-handed bat, but the tying run was on second and I didn’t want a left-handed bat up there to pull the ball. He hits a ball that Smitty doesn’t quite get to, a seeing-eye base hit, and unlike us, we made a costly error. There was another, I felt, like a cheap hit there.

“But these are moments you relive. The good ones, but the bad ones stay with you too sometimes.”