Bochy keeps cards close when it comes to playoff rotation

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Bochy keeps cards close when it comes to playoff rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochyis keeping his cards close to the vest when it comes to the Giants' playoff rotation. But he did confirm that Madison Bumgarner will start Game 2 Sunday at AT&T Park after Matt Cain takes the ball inthe opener against the Cincinnati Reds.

RELATED: NLDS broadcast schedule
You look at the years that Matt and Madison have had,thats why theyre going Game 1 and Game 2, Bochy said Thursday afternoon ashe watched his players work out at AT&T Park. We feel like thesetwo have earned these starts and thats why theyre out there.Cain and Bumgarner tied for the team lead with 16 wins apiece, with the formerposting a rotation-leading and career-best 2.79 ERA and 193 strikeouts. WhileCain beat up on other NL Central opponents, including a perfect game against theHouston Astros, he allowed eight runs in 13 innings against the Reds. Histeammate, left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt, isnt worried though.When he faced them the last few times, I think he had some pitches working forhim, but he didnt have the other pitches working for him, Affeldt said. Fromwhat Ive seen his last few outings out, he seems to be controlling hisoff-speed and his fastball pretty well. And hes not afraid to throw whateverin any count. So I think that Matt doesnt really shy down to any kind ofopponent, no matter how hes faced them before.Just as Affeldt endorsed Cain, outfielder Hunter Pence did the same for BochysGame 2 choice.Bumgarners pitched excellent, Pence said. Every one of our pitchers hasdone a good job and earned a spot. Our pitching is a big reason why we won theNL West.Pence came to the Giants in a deadline deal and, unlike many of his newteammates, has faced Bumgarner before. In fact, Pence has three hits, includingtwo solo home runs, in just five at-bats against the Giants young lefty. Pencetold Comcast SportsNets Amy Gutierrez what makes Bumgarner so effective.Hes got a really good angle; just a lot of movement. Hesgot a real good cutter. His long leverage is something unique that you dontsee very often. Hes got a lot of deception.Deception is something Bochy knows a little something about, considering hetold beat reporters after Wednesdays regular-season finale in Los Angeles that hed announce his fullplayoff rotation after Thursdays workout. He quickly changed his mind.Well announce the rest of the rotation a little later,Bochy said. Obviously, we want to talk to the guys. Really, thats where wereat right now. The candidates to start Game 3 are Tim Lincecum, RyanVogelsong or Barry Zito and Bochy said that all three could come out of hisbullpen in the best-of-five National League Division Series.We want to keep our options open for games three, four andfive, Bochy said. We may have to switch the order, so instead of setting itright now, we just decided to announce Game 1 and Game 2.Zito, who has six relief appearances in his Giants careerbut none in his Athletics tenure, said he is ready for whatever Bochy needs himfor. Were all flexible here; weve all shown that we can pitchin various roles, said Zito, who has allowed five runs in six innings as areliever. If Im on a mound, Im on a mound and I look forward to that.Bochy masterfully managed his bullpen en route to a World Series win in 2010and has been put to the test in 2012 because closer Brian Wilson was lost for theseason in early April. But his closer-by-committee approach has been workingand he has no intention of fixing what aint broke.Well use everybody and theyve done a great job doing it,Bochy said. We now have at least one long guy to help us in the bullpen andgive us coverage there. Im not going to really make any changes now becauseits been working. Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla willall be used in the eighth and ninth and maybe the seventh; and well have astarter to help out.There arent many more mysteries surrounding Bochys playoff plans. Although hehas not made it official, its safe to assume Gregor Blanco will start in leftover Xavier Nady in Games 1 and 2 with the Reds starting right-handed pitchers.But after that, if he decides to use Hector Sanchez to catch Tim Lincecumandor Barry Zito, theres a chance that Brandon Belt could shift to left withBuster Posey playing first base. Belt has played just 27.1 innings in theoutfield this season compared to nearly 1,000 at first base. But, like Zito,hes prepared for any assignment.If that scenariodoes arise, Ill be ready for it, Belt said.If Belt starts all three necessary games in the NLDS, hellhave surpassed his managers postseason playing experience at the tender age of 24.Bochy amassed just two career playoff at-bats, one in 1980 with Houston and another in 1984 with San Diego. That gives him a perspective hewants to pass down to his players.You cherish it; its what you play for. These guys haveearned that. This is when the fun begins.

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO — As he was wrapping up the first press conference of his career, Heliot Ramos was asked when he expects to be back at AT&T Park as a player. The 17-year-old smiled and said he hopes to debut in three years. 

“I know it’s hard, but that’s my dream,” Ramos continued. “I know I’ve got to work hard for that.”

A half-dozen Giants officials stood a few feet away, smiling. Three years would be incredibly impressive. It took Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones four years after being drafted out of high school to reach the big leagues. Buster Posey got a cup of coffee a year after he was drafted, but he was already 22 years old because he had played three years at Florida State. 

Ramos doesn’t turn 18 until September. The Giants hope he is dominating A-ball in three years, and yet, he’s the the kind of prospect that allows them to dream for so much more. 

“If he grew up in Southern California (instead of Puerto Rico) we never would have had a shot at drafting him,” one team official said Tuesday.

Ramos certainly opened eyes in his second trip to AT&T Park, but then again, he put on a display the first time, too. The Giants brought him in for a pre-draft workout and someone pointed out to Ramos that the deepest part of the park was 421 feet. The right-handed hitter, making the transition to a wood bat, wasn’t bothered by the dimensions. He took aim at Triples Alley and tried to blast one out, and he nearly did. Then he started pulling the ball, peppering the left field bleachers with homers and convincing the front office that he was the right pick at No. 19 in this month’s draft. Ramos, described as a potential five-tool center fielder, said he enjoys hitting here.

“It’s a park with a lot of history, and I like that,” he said. 

The clock on his career starts this weekend. Ramos will travel back to Arizona and play in a rookie league game Friday or Saturday. It is always a slow progression for a high school draft pick, but the Giants believe Ramos is physically mature enough to jump right in with both feet. 

Ramos, who said his favorite player is Andrew McCutchen, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and he carries it well. One member of the front office compared his body type to Yasiel Puig as a rookie; another called him a “mini-Cespedes.” Bruce Bochy lit up when asked about the physicality of the organization’s latest top pick. 

“Any time you get a young kid like this, the ceiling is so high,” he said. “That excites you.”

Bochy spent some time with Ramos and his family after batting practice. As they posed for photos, the manager looked out at the field and then turned to a PR representative.

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group,” Bochy said, smiling. “I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”

Ramos didn’t end up taking swings, but if all goes according to his plan, it won’t be long.

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for Game 2 of their series at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-32) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Alexi Amarista (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jeff Hoffman (R) P

Giants (28-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-7, 5.54 ERA)