Bochy meets with club, reminds them work not done


Bochy meets with club, reminds them work not done

SAN FRANCISCO Marco Scutaro almost never swings andmisses. He seldom strikes out.

In 23 career at-bats against Justin Verlander, hes struckout eight times.

That pretty much tells you what the Giants are up against inGame 1 of the World Series at AT&T Park. Verlander, the reigning AL MVP andCy Young Award winner, already killed the Bernie-leaning As in the NLDS. Nowhell try to drive a stake through another team that seemingly cant be killed.

Just call him Justin Van Helsing.

The Giants do not have the benefit of rest and a perfect alignmentof their rotation, but they have a hopeful symbol in Barry Zito, whose fastballis an Oldsmobile pace car compared to Verlanders Formula One screamer.

One bad omen for Zito: The plate umpire for Game 1 is GerryDavis, who had more runs score on average when he worked the plate than anyother umpire from 2007-2010, according to statistician Andrew Godlblatt.

RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page

Zito, who usually lives on the fringes of the zone, has a5.05 ERA with 25 walks in 35 23 career innings with Davis behind the plate.

His career numbers against the Tigers are encouraging, though. Prince Fielder is just a .167 hitter with one home run in 18 at-bats while Omar Infante is a .150 hittter with no extra-base hits in 20 at-bats. Jhonny Peralta (3 for 14) is no great shakes, either. Zito has only faced Miguel Cabrera a couple times, holding him to 2 for 8 -- both singles -- with two walks and a strikeout.

And for what it's worth, Zito threw six shutout innings, with a three-hour rain delay wedged in the middle, on three days of rest at Detroit last year.

This is the fourth World Series Game 1 that pits two former Cy Young Award winners, although Zito's trophy came a decade ago with the A's. Tim Lincecum beat Cliff Lee in Game in in 2010, Lee started against CC Sabathia in 2009 and Greg Maddux met Orel Hershiser in the 1995 World Series opener.

The postseason is usually about pitching, power and pluck, andthe Giants displayed plenty of the latter while winning six elimination gamesto cheat death against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. Theyrightly feel a sense of accomplishment just for making it to the Fall Classic forthe second time in three years.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted to make sure his teamstayed hungry, so he addressed them prior to Tuesdays workout.

You have to savor special moments like (NLCS Game 7 againstthe Cardinals), you have to enjoy them, which we did, Bochy said. But itstime to move on now, and the journey is not over. We have a big series hereahead of us and its a little different in the World Series. Theres moremedia, more distractions, and I told them, Hey, do what you have to do to makeyourself available to the media, but at the same time, lets keep our focushere. We still have a job to do and a team to play and try to beat.

There are more keys to this series than you could fit on acustodians belt, but here is one important one for the Giants: Get intoDetroits bullpen, which is in disarray with erstwhile closer Jose Valverdeleaving everything over the plate in this postseason. Of course, withVerlander, thats no small feat.

Scutaro is just one of many hitters who must try to putVerlander in the stretch. With one more hit in Game 1, Scutaro will extend his playoffhitting streak to 11 games matching Irish Meusel in 1921-22 for the longestby a Giant in postseason history.

Good ol Irish never had to face Verlander, though.

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Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his season managing Barry Bonds, Bruce Bochy watched the slugger get intentionally walked 43 times. 

“There were (managers) who had the (signal) up before he even got to the batter’s box,” Bochy said Wednesday. 

That’s part of the reason Bochy is completely on board with a new rule stating that managers only have to signal for an intentional walk. The elimination of the four pitches has been approved by MLB and the MLBPA, with the caveat that a manager can change his mind in the middle of the plate appearance. 

“I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I know a few pitchers are happy because they kind of have a thing about throwing (those pitches), not on our team, but last year it happened to us and we didn’t go. I’m fine with it.”

It’s rare that an intentional ball would go to the backstop, but the Giants experienced it last year against the Yankees. Dellin Betances threw wide as he tried to put Brandon Crawford on and Angel Pagan didn’t react quickly enough to score from third. 

Bochy met with league officials last week to go over some of the new rules and ideas, and he said he wants MLB to keep pushing to cut the time of games. 

“We talk about it so much but we really haven’t done a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m all for (limiting mound visits). I’m all for it, I am. It’s gotten more and more popular in the game. It used to be the catcher, and now it’s the catcher and infielders, and they go to the mound and come back and then the pitching coach goes out there.”

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is currently slated to start Friday’s Cactus League opener, with Matt Cain also throwing an inning. Ty Blach will start Saturday, Matt Moore and Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and Jeff Samardzija will start Monday. It’s possible that 18 or 20 different pitchers will take the mound over the first two days since almost all of them will be scheduled for just three outs. With the exception of Will Smith, every projected Giant should see the field this weekend. Hunter Pence is the only guy who has been held back at all, but his intercostal issue has cleared up. Pence put several on the left-field berm during BP on Wednesday.

“Hunter wants to (play Friday). He's ready to go,” Bochy said. “I’ll make that call tomorrow once I talk to the staff, but Hunter assured me he’s a full go with no limitations, and he really wants to play.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Bochy took the van over to the minor league facility to watch some of the projected Triple-A players take part in live BP. Jae-gyun Hwang hit a homer off Jose Dominguez during his session. 

“He’s a guy that rotates (well) and he’s got good power,” Bochy said. “He can go the other way. He’s got some bat control. He’s got a nice swing.”

Over on the main field, Gorkys Hernandez hit an impressive homer to left-center. 

ICYMI: From this morning, Smith is being held out of workouts. Reporters spoke to him in the afternoon and he said there’s no concern. Also, here’s a podcast with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t … there’s a very popular Giant coming soon.

QUOTABLE: Smith missed time last season because he tore a knee ligament while taking his shoe off, so this spring’s speed bump is somewhat easier to take. He had a message for the trainers: “I said I’m going to sit down every day this spring,” when I take my shoes off.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."