Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.


Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants landed Hunter Pence but didnt beefup their bullpen ahead of Tuesdays non-waiver trade deadline. Any deals theymake from this point are likely to be supplemental arms and not a full-fledgedcloser.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he remained confident inhis late-game options.

I feel good about our situation here late in the ballgamebecause we have guys with experience, Bochy said.

BAGGARLY: Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

How will Bochy line up those guys, exactly? What is the pecking order?

Well, the manager acknowledged he wanted to give SantiagoCasilla and Sergio Romo some time out of the fire Tuesday night, when he hadleft-hander Jeremy Affeldt pitch the final two innings of a 4-1 victory overthe New York Mets.

Affeldt entered a 3-1 game and protected Tim Lincecumsvictory by retiring all six hitters he faced, three on strikeouts.

Since the All-Star break, Affeldt has held opponentsscoreless in eight of nine outings while holding them to a .108 average. Hesstruck out 11 and walked two in 11 23 innings.

Sounds like closer material to me.

Although Bochy didnt express a lack of confidence in Casilla, the right-hander has been scored upon in seven of 15 appearances beginning with his rough series June 22-24 at Oakland. Casilla has converted just five of 10 save chances over that run while serving up four homers, and he couldnt preserve a tie in the 10th inning of Monday nights loss to the Mets.

We'll have to see which way Bochy goes if he has a save situation tonight.

Aubrey Huff was placed back on the 15-day disabled list toclear a space on the active roster for Pence. Bochy said he didnt know howlong Huffs knee would keep him out this time.

Hector Sanchezs sprained knee passed all the tests atTriple-A Fresno and hes expected to be activated prior to Thursdays game.Bochy didnt commit to starting Sanchez, but its almost a given because BarryZito will be on the mound and its a day game after a night game.

EXTRA BAGGS: Posey welcomes pain in catching Lincecum, etc.

Bochy was asked if hell be more likely to let Buster Poseysoak up more starts at first base now that Sanchez will be on the roster again.The manager danced around the question a bit, but no doubt, it would behooveBrandon Belt to keep getting his hits.

Posey is going to catch for the most part, and Belts beenswinging better, Bochy said. But weve got a chance to get Hector, a prettygood bat in there.

Sanchez wont be appearing at first base any time soon,though. Hes been taking grounders there all season but Bochy said that PabloSandovals strained hamstring which he sustained while stretching to receivea throw at first base influenced the decision to take away Sanchezs lightlyused first basemans mitt.

You put a guy at a different position, theres a risk, tobe honest, Bochy said. I didnt think there was with Pablo, but it happened."

Sandoval could find himself back at first base when hereturns, though. If Marco Scutaro keeps hitting as the third baseman, that movewould be almost automatic.

Nate Schierholtz already has a home run in his Philliesdebut, and you fantasy leaguers already know what to do with your next supplementaldraft pick.

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent


As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers


Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.