LOS ANGELES – The Giants begin a four-game series at Dodger Stadium knowing that they could be on the wrong end of a clinching celebration.
They could avoid it by winning at least two of four, regardless of what the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks do over the weekend.
But ask Giants manager Bruce Bochy about keeping the champagne on ice for his archrivals, and you won’t get a rah-rah answer.
“I don’t care about that so much,” Bochy said. "It’s inevitable that they’ll do that. We’ll do all we can to play our best ball and win games.”
There would be some pride, too, in winning the season series against the Dodgers, even though they caught absolute fire and will upend the Giants’ throne as easily as folding a baby stroller.
Context aside, though, I asked Bochy if he could be happy for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, whose job security was anywhere from threatened to nonexistent in the public discourse when his club was in last place in early May.
Knowing how much scrutiny managers are under and how so few are able to achieve longevity, does that allow Bochy to appreciate what Mattingly has accomplished?
“Well, it does,” Bochy said. “There’s a lot of stress for coaches and managers, and when you walk about somebody’s job and they turn it around, you feel good for that person. I’m happy for Donnie and their success. I don’t know what all happened or what the conversations were or what their plans were. But for it to turn around for them, he deserves a lot of credit for what they’ve done.”
Bochy will still make sure Mattingly doesn’t double back on any mound visits in this series, though.
Jeremy Affeldt was activated from the disabled list and is available Thursday night. Bochy said he hoped he could put Affeldt in a low-stress situation to start, since he hasn’t pitched in a big league game since July 20.
“But if it has to be, we’ll use him,” Bochy said.
Affeldt’s return provides Bochy with one more option to use over epically struggling lefty Jose Mijares, who has allowed 15 runs in his last 15 appearances.
Chad Gaudin (carpal tunnel syndrome) will throw a simulated game on Friday and be activated after that if all goes well, Bochy said.