Bochy names Theriot his opening-day second baseman

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Bochy names Theriot his opening-day second baseman

PHOENIX -- The Giants included a neat stat on the front page of their game notes: If Emmanuel Burriss were to get the nod at second base, the Giants would field their first fully homegrown starting infield on opening day since 1993.

Oops.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoiled the fine work of his PR staff. He told KNBR this morning that Ryan Theriot would be his starter at second base against Arizona right-hander Ian Kennedy.

Theriot is 3 for 9 against Kennedy, but the move probably has more to do with Burriss' late-spring cooling trend. It also has to do with Brandon Crawford's consistently strong showing at the plate. Bochy had planned to bat Burriss seventh in the hopes he could get on base and Crawford could move him over. But the Giants are confident enough in Crawford's ability to drive in runs that he will begin in the No.7 spot.

Also, the Giants do not have an additional backup infielder because Joaquin Arias didn't make the club. Burriss is seen as more of a true backup than Theriot, who really struggled on the left side of the infield.

All perfunctory caveats apply: This is just opening day. One out of 162. No, this doesn't mean you can mark down 600 at-bats of Ryan Theriot this season.

One other news item from Bochy's appearance on Murph and Mac: He said Buster Posey will catch all three games in the Arizona series. Count on Hector Sanchez catching Barry Zito on Monday at Coors Field.

Getting back to that infield note, the Giants in 1993 featured catcher Kirt Manwaring, first baseman Will Clark, second baseman Robby Thompson, shortstop Royce Clayton, third baseman Matt Williams and pitcher John Burkett.

Here are a few more nuggets from the game notes that aren't completely irrelevant:

--There are just 13 players on the opening-day roster who were active for the Giants on opening day in 2011.

--On today's roster, 15 players are homegrown. Last year, just 10 were homegrown.

--Tim Lincecum is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three opening-day starts. With his fourth assignment, he's second only to Juan Marichal's 10 lid-lifting starts.

--Yes, it's required that all beat writers work in the term "lid lifter" at some point today. That's one item checked off, and it's not even noon. Swell!

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The return to AT&T Park was a huge boost to Matt Cain, who has wild home-road splits this season, but it did predictable things to an already-limp Giants offense. 

The Giants entered the night as the lowest-scoring team in the National League and they got blanked 2-0 by Jaime Garcia and the Braves. Garcia out-dueled Cain and provided the only offense of the night, as well. The Giants have dropped five of six.

Here are five things to know from AT&T Park, where they keep having Star Wars Night but they’ve never once celebrated Super Troopers … 

--- Cain entered the seventh with a 0.94 ERA at home this season, but the opposing pitcher busted him. With one on and two outs, the Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, a career .145 hitter. He bounced a single into shallow left and it looked like Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw home hit the runner. That allowed Swanson to race home for a 2-0 lead. 

--- Cain’s final line: seven innings, one earned run, one walk, three strikeouts. Yep, that’s a Caining.

--- Justin Ruggiano is here for the opportunity he was given in the sixth. Ruggiano has always crushed lefties, and Bruce Bochy put him behind Buster Posey on Friday night. The Braves intentionally walked Posey to load the bases for Ruggiano, who grounded out to third. Even the platoon splits are failing the Giants. 

--- If you need a little perspective on Christian Arroyo’s struggles, look across the field. Swanson, the former No. 1 overall pick, is batting .198. The shortstop slashed .302/.361/.442 as a rookie but his numbers are way down across the board, and he’s nearly two years older than Arroyo. These things take time. Having said that, Arroyo’s hole is pretty deep. He’s hitless in his last 21 at-bats after an 0 for 3.

--- There were three no-pitch intentional walks. I hope you used the extra ninety seconds wisely.