SAN FRANCISCO Until August 15, Bruce Bochy didnt have tospend much time deciding who to play in left field on a game-by-game basis.Melky Cabrera was the Giants everyday left fielder, other than the occasionalday of rest and a brief hamstring issue. But when Major League Baseball handedthe Giants No. 3 hitter a 50-game suspension, it left Bochy with a dailydebate.That debate hasnt gotten any easier in the last month, as both Gregor Blancoand Xavier Nady, two of Bochys most experienced options, have dealt withinjuries. Nady hasnt played since Sept. 5 due to a left hamstring strain, butis back in the starting lineup for Mondays series opener against the ColoradoRockies. With Jhoulys Chacin, a right-hander, on the mound, the left-handed hittingBlanco would normally be in line for a start, but the speedster has his ownshoulder issue to deal with.Bochy said that Blanco will take batting practice and be re-evaluated Tuesday.He added that he feels comfortable using Blanco as a pinch-runner but istargeting Wednesday for a potential return to the starting lineup. In themeantime, hes happy to have Nady back.Hes a guy we brought up that helped us right away, Bochysaid of Nady, who went 4-for-12 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Giantsbefore his hamstring acted up. Now it looks like hes good to go so hell beout in left field with Blanco still feeling the shoulder a little bit. He needsanother day or two. I was close to starting Nady yesterday, but felt like heneeded another day. He ran the bases well, passed all the tests, and checkedall the boxes off, so hes good to go.Nady was in left field along with Justin Christian,Francisco Peguero and Ryan Theriot before Mondays game going through drills.While Bochy has previously mentioned Theriot as an option in left in the past,he made it clear that he wont put the long-time infielder in the outfieldunless hes forced to.He wants to go out there bad, Bochy said of Theriot. Andweve thought about it, but hes probably more of an emergency guy. But hesavailable Ill say that.Theriot, who once jokingly said that he was fine in theoutfield except for on fly balls, updated his comfort level after Mondayspregame practice: I feel good.Theriot will remain in a reserve role, however, as long as Nady stays healthyand Blancos shoulder improves. Bochy said he plans to platoon the twoeventually.Ill use both of them, Bochy said. Gregor gives you a little differentdynamic: speed, defense out there. And I really like the way hes been swingingthe bat. And X, hes more of a power-type bat. So Ill use both of them andwell ham and egg it with those two once they get healthy.Blanco has started 19 of the Giants last 29 games sinceCabreras suspension and has hit .280 over his last seven games. For hiscareer, Blanco hits .260 against right-handers and .227 against southpaws. Nadyhas hit lefties at a .285 clip for his career compared to a .265 averageagainst right-handers. The splits matter to Bochy, but the way he talked aboutNadys veteran presence suggests that the Cal alum might have the upper hand toget more starts during the stretch run.Hes been around; he knows how to play the game, Bochy said of Nady. Hes abig right-handed bat that can help this lineup and he was swinging well beforehe got hurt. And he hasnt missed too much time so I dont think it should takehim long to feel comfortable up there at the plate. When you have a guy thatsplayed in the big leagues as long as he has, thats a good thing down thestretch.Asked by a Rockies reporter why his team has excelled lately,Bochy said the Giants are winning because theyre getting contributions fromevery spot in the lineup.Were not a team that leans on one or two guys, Bochy said.We need everybody to do something to help out and thats whats happened.Bochy made it clear the hes focused on the stretch run andnot what could come after it, however. He wasnt ready to discuss thepossibility of clinching the N.L. West title in front of the home crowd or whata potential playoff rotation would look like.Weve got a lot of baseball left, Bochy said. If that gets done, then thatsOK to talk about it, but until then, as a club, myself, weve got work ahead ofus and thats how we have to look at it.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...
San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP
Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP
LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch.
Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …
“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.
The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while.
“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”
It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts.
“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”
It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs.
After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options
“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”
Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job.
“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.