Bochy: 'Fair to say' Zito will be on playoff roster

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Bochy: 'Fair to say' Zito will be on playoff roster

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants will wait to make firm decisionsabout their playoff rotation. But manager Bruce Bochy answered one majorquestion amid throbbing heads Sunday morning, saying its a near certainty thatall five of his starting pitchers will be on the postseason roster.

Thats fair to say, said Bochy, adding that one of thefive starters would be used in relief. Thats the plan, for sure.

The most important aspect of that news: Barry Zito, who wasso obviously left off the playoff rosters in all three rounds two years ago,will be a part of the action this time.

It feels really good, said Zito, informed of Bochyscomments. Im not sure whats going to happen. Its tough to process thingswhen Im getting ready for the next game Thursday But the playoffs are themost fun part of the game because all bets are off. Its all about getting itdone in one game, and if things work out, you have another game. Youre goingup against the best teams, the best starters. Thats what its all about.

The Giants are 19-11 in Zitos starts this season. Theyveonly won more often behind Matt Cain (20-10) this season.

Cain is the presumptive No. 1 starter for an NL DivisionSeries against Cincinnati or Washington; Bochy said the opponent wouldnt have muchinfluence on how he aligns the rotation, but a bigger factor could be whetherthe Giants open at home or on the road. If they are the No. 3 seed, they would playthe first two games at AT&T Park before the series shifts east.

The guess here: Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum andthen some combination of Zito and Ryan Vogelsong in the No. 4 spot.

Theres still a chance the Giants could catch the Reds orNats in the victory column, but Bochy said he wouldnt wear out hisroster trying to improve the clubs playoff seeding. (In fact, the advantagewould be negligible; in a one-year quirk to the playoff schedule, thetop-seeded club wont know where its going until its opponent wins thesudden-death wild card game).

Bochy is running out a lineup Sunday that wouldnt be legalin a spring training split-squad, but he said he couldnt pass up the chance togive nearly all his regulars a full, 48-hour break when combined with Mondaysday off. Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro need the rest more than anyone, he said.Bochy thought about putting Buster Posey at first base but he and the cleanuphitter decided the rest would be more beneficial.

Bochy plans to put his regular lineup out there on Tuesdayagainst Arizona, when Tim Lincecum will take the mound. Bochy said the rotationwould continue in the normal order after that, with Cain and Zito.

The manager said he wanted to give extra rest to Lincecum,who was scratched from Sundays start and replaced with right-hander YusmeiroPetit. Its possible that Petit will make another start down the stretch as theGiants slot starters into a playoff order, Bochy added.

And what about Lincecums odd absence from the teams NLWest celebration Saturday night?

Bochy said its customary for the starting pitcher to leaveearly when he is on the mound for a day game the following day. Lincecum wascontacted and invited to return, but the traffic made it logistically tough,Bochy said. The manager said he should have contacted Lincecum earlier to lethim know that Petit would take his spot.

Still, it was more than odd that Lincecum left in theseventh inning, knowing the Giants were just nine outs away from clinching.

Lincecum was back at the ballpark Sunday morning to gothrough his usual routine, but the clubhouse closed before reporters could havea chance to speak with him.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.