Giants

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

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AP

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

These are difficult, which is to say battleship-gray dull, days for the Oaklandcisco Giletics. They go out, they lose three of every five times they play, they disappear again. It’s like watching Nerf whack-a-mole.
 
Which is why, in these final 40 games, both Bob Melvin and Bruce Bochy need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y we can linger on, at least for a bit. The transition from the end of the Warriors season (and the subsequent fetishizing of everything they do) to the start of football training camp has been too easy, and baseball’s window to captivate the easily distracted has pretty much been closed.
 
And this is why we enjoyed Cincinnati second baseman Scooter Gennett, pitching in a lost-cause game Tuesday night (the Reds have given up double digits 20 times this year, so that’s not a big enough thing), referred to his speed gun rating in the mid-90s, which was corrected by reporters to the more accurate “68.”
 
Gennett’s response? “Yeah, I don’t believe that. I think the radar gun might be broken or something. That, Statcast, off-the-bat speed, all that’s fake news.”
 
Perfect, and perfectly timely, too.
 
Then there is manager Terry Collins of the injury ravaged New York Mets, who is so bereft of players that he had to play catcher Travis d’Arnaud at third base but also needed to find a way to avoid having the ball hit to him. So he had d’Arnaud switch with second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera every time a right-handed hitter came up for the Yankees. So you get a box score that looks like this.
 
This is also the game in which Aaron Judge hit a 457-foot home run AND set a record for consecutive games with a strikeout, with 33. His season has fallen into a chasm since the All-Star Break, thus making him the latest “face of baseball” to find out that this “face of baseball” thing isn’t such an easy gig after all.
 
Besides, the new face of baseball is Scooter Gennett, whom the Giants or A’s should absolutely pay Giancarlo Stanton money to get in 2018. I mean, this is a guy who gave a fake name to the cops because his mom brought him to a stationhouse once to scare him into wearing his seatbelt -- when he was still watching Muppet Babies.
 
If that’s not the true face of baseball, there is none at all. Billy, Bobby, make this happen, or resign.

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

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USATSI

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

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USATSI

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.