SAN FRANCISCO -- In what amounted to a skull session on what-to-dowhat-not-to-do if the Giants All-Star catcher ever finds himself in such a homeplate collision situation again, manager Bruce Bochy and Buster Posey watched video Saturday of Pablo Sandoval's Friday night hit of Houston catcher Chris Snyder."If it came up, would you do anything different?" Bochy said he asked Posey. "It's part of what we do."Those are two big boys there and that's a play that's part of baseball. He was right there at home plate, trying to get a handle on the ball, and those (collisions) are unavoidable. The one with Buster is a little bit different and that's the pedestal I got on, that Hey, as long as the (runner) is going for home plate, instead of the catcher, that's when, I think, a guy is more susceptible to injury."You always feel for someone when they get hit there at home plate, and I think especially since I caught, and anybody's that caught, you realize that. There's a lot of force and mass coming in there and if you're not in somewhat good position, you're very susceptible to getting hurt."After Posey's ankle was shredded and his season ended by his collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins last May, Bochy in particular and the Giants in general were very vocal in there displeasure with homeplate collisions.So you could imagine the more cynical waiting for the Giants brass to complain about Sandoval's hit of Snyder. Keep waiting.For his part, Sandoval said he emerged from the scrum no worse for the wear, physically or mentally."It's part of the game; you don't have time to think about it," Sandoval said. "It's really reaction and the intention is to score a run. It was clean. All I was trying to do was score. It's part of the game."I'm glad we're OK and that no one got hurt so that's why I think it's clean."And the ball popping free?"That," Sandoval said with a smile, "makes it even better."Bochy said there's an art to a catcher taking a hit and said Snyder successfully shielded himself by turning, making himself a smaller target and taking Sandoval's hit at an angle."Sometimes it's hard to get in a good position because the throw will dictate that," Bochy said."If I thought my runner went at it the wrong way, sure, I'd talk with him about it."Despite reports that Tim Lincecum would be on a short leash Saturday against Houston, Bochy said he would not address the topic until after the game.Hector Sanchez was in the starting lineup to catch Lincecum for the fifth straight outing, though Bochy said calling Sanchez a "personal catcher" would not be accurate. Same for Sanchez for Barry Zito, despite his catching him most of the season.In fact, Bochy said Posey would catch Zito in his next start, at Atlanta.
As if the possibility of clinching their first National League pennant in 71 years didn’t create enough drama and excitement in Wrigleyville, the Cubs have sent Kyle Schwarber to the Arizona Fall League, hoping he can add another chapter to his October legend.
Schwarber earned this chance after beating every expectation in his recovery from major surgery on his left knee in April. The Cubs haven’t ruled anything in or out – and still need to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers one more time this weekend – but they want to see how he responds on Saturday with the Mesa Solar Sox and ultimately decide if he would be a viable designated-hitter option for the World Series.
Schwarber gained clearance on Monday from Dr. Daniel Cooper, the head team physician for the Dallas Cowboys who reconstructed his ACL and repaired his LCL after a devastating outfield collision during the first week of the regular season. Schwarber immediately phoned president of baseball operations Theo Epstein after the six-month checkup.
“I wasn’t expecting the call,” Epstein said. “We got news that was beyond better than we could have expected by any reasonable standard.
“He asked for a chance to do this. And with as hard as Kyle has worked and as much as this means to him – and potentially to us – we wanted to give him that opportunity.”
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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.”
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