CHICAGO -- It was past 3:30 a.m. by the time the Giants received their luggage at the team hotel Friday morning. They barely had time to blink before dragging themselves onto the team bus for a customary day game at Wrigley Field.
(Thanks, Astros, for scheduling a night game Thursday! Oh, and great thinking by going head-to-head with the Houston Texans exhibition game! No shocker, the woeful 'Stros drew the smallest crowd in the 13-year history of Minute Maid ParkEnron Field.)
The big surprise is that Buster Posey is in the lineup. He and Bruce Bochy talked at length on the flight to Chicago and even though he had a "cranky" ankle from catching on the hard surface in Houston, Posey must have used the orthopedic version of a pacifier. He told Bochy he was good to play and so he's in there.
Bochy acknowledged he'll have to rest Posey one game in this series, though -- likely Sunday, since the Giants have another quick turn before beginning a homestand with a Labor Day matinee on Monday.
The remnants of Isaac could change those plans. We're supposed to get a lot of rain this weekend. So as usual, everything is subject to change.
This is a big day for Chicago land native and Northwestern University alumnus George Kontos, who has a cheering section "into the hundreds" for his first game at Wrigley Field.
"He's ballhogging all the tickets," Bochy said.
And, of course, Joaquin Arias is playing against a right-hander. That's news. You can't deny a guy who is hitting almost .450 in August. Brandon Crawford takes a seat in the series opener. We'll see who yields to Arias over the coming days -- and weeks, if he keeps on hitting.
GIANTS LINEUP: Arias in vs. righty
September callups will join the roster Saturday, and you can probably guess most of the names. We've already told you that splitter specialist Jean Machi is a solid bet to come up. It's a thinly veiled secret that Xavier Nady will have his contract purchased, too.
These callups usually come in two waves. The Giants will add some players Saturday, and then they'll discuss whether to bring up others after the Triple-A season ends on Monday.
Finally, as brutal as the Giants' travel has been in the past 24 hours, they've got nothing on the good lads at Single-A San Jose. The minor leaguers already knew they were in for a treat when they had to bus home eight hours after a night game at Lake Elsinore on Friday night. That was before the team bus broke down in the middle of nowhere on I-5. Players were stranded for more than three hours on the side of the road somewhere -- I like to imagine it was between Buttonwillow and Pumpkin Center -- and watched the sunrise over the Central Valley.
That's paying your dues, right there.