Giants

Bochy: Posey's time behind plate about to pick up

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Bochy: Posey's time behind plate about to pick up

SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy has taken greatcare to pace Buster Posey through this season. But now the homestretch isnearing, and its time to flash the spurs.

Not only is Posey starting behind the plate for Wednesdaysmatinee following a Tuesday night game, but hes catching Tim Lincecum abruising assignment that Bochy has tried to inflict more often on HectorSanchez in recent weeks.

The Giants have a day off Thursday, so thats part of theconsideration. Another: Brandon Belt is on an absolute tear, so putting Poseyat first base isnt such an easy call.

My guess is he wont be there as much, Bochy said of Poseythe first baseman.

Speaking generally, Bochy said Posey would be receivingfewer days off behind the plate the rest of the way

Hell be out there as much as possible without wearing himdown here these next two or three weeks, Bochy said. We have to be smartabout this. We want him out there as much as we can. When you get down to thispoint in the schedule, hopefully youve taken care of your players, especiallyyour starting catcher. But you have to watch them, too. If they need a break,youve got to give them a break.

A break in the schedule is finally arriving. The Giants onWednesday are playing their 20th game in 20 days; they havent had aday off since July 26.

Thursday marks the first of five days off on the schedulethe rest of the way. Thatll help Bochy keep Posey reasonably fresh despiteincreased playing time.

It also helps that the Giants are done with hot-weathercities. They only cross the Mississippi one more time, when they play atWrigley Field over Labor Day weekend and its been cool of late in Chicago.Theyll have the benefit of air conditioning in places like Houston andArizona. And its always cool at Petco Park and at night in Chavez Ravine, thetwo venues where the Giants travel next.

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In other pregame news, Bochy said Santiago Casillas blisterissue appears to have subsided and the club is hoping its behind thehard-throwing right hander. Asked pointedly whether Casilla could regain thecloser role, Bochy didnt rule it out. But he said the plan was to stay with acommittee of Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez to get the final sixouts, all subject to late-inning matchups.

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Theres a framed picture on the wall in Bochys officeshowing Guillermo Mota dumping a bucket of ice on the skippers head. Bochysaid he looks forward to seeing Mota again soon.

The recent draftees and teenagers in the Arizona RookieLeague were glad to have Mota around when he threw 1 13 innings in a rehabassignment Tuesday.

He bought them all steak dinners, Bochy said.

Mota, who is serving a 100-gam suspension for testingpositive for a banned substance, is eligible to return Aug. 28.

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A couple weeks ago, I heard (off the record) that the Giantswould visit new Yankee Stadium for the first time as part of the 2013 schedule.In fact, the tentative schedule calls for them to spend an entire week in NewYork in September playing the Yankees and Mets back-to-back.

Now the word is out, and the Red Soxare on the schedule to visit AT&T Park, too.

The schedule is subject to change and hasnt been approvedyet. Usually teams release it in mid-September or so. Its never too early tolook for Manhattan hotel deals (or lack thereof).

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants were in a different situation, Tuesday night’s loss was the kind that really would sting for a few days. As is, it was simply loss No. 77 in a stunningly bad season. 

The Giants went down 4-3 in somewhat familiar fashion, with their offense failing to break through and their bullpen coming up short. But this loss, No. 77, was also about small mistakes, both mental and physical. Let’s count down some of the ways the Giants went down:

--- Gorkys Hernandez, a late addition to the lineup because Hunter Pence has a tight hamstring, dropped a fly ball in deep right in the fourth inning. That cost Jeff Samardzija a run and a few more pitches. Bruce Bochy said Pence likely will be off Wednesday and then return Friday in Arizona. 

--- Bochy pulled Samardzija after just 89 pitches, and it was certainly peculiar in the moment. The thing is, the intention fit in with the reality of this season. Samardzija has carried a heavy load and Bochy was trying to protect his arm a bit. 

“The inning before, he logged some pitches,” Bochy said. “I’ve worked him pretty hard and I’m really looking after him as much as anything. We’re trying to give some guys a break and it didn’t work out. We had some guys lined up in the seventh, eighth, ninth — it just didn’t work out in the seventh.”

--- You can’t really argue with protecting a big-money pitcher in a down year. But Bochy probably wishes he had chosen someone other than Albert Suarez, who was fresher than others but has now given up runs in six of seven appearances. Suarez turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit. It was more glaring when Kyle Crick entered and pitched 1 1/3 sharp innings. 

--- The Giants still had a chance — it helped that the Brewers took a dominant Josh Hader out of the game just because he’s a lefty and Nick Hundley bats right-handed — and they put two on in the eighth. Denard Span hit a soft single to right and Phil Nevin waved Hundley, who has catcher’s legs. He was out by a mile. Bochy said he was fine with forcing the issue there, although that’s a call Nevin probably wants back. 

Another twist on the play: Bochy could have put speedy Orlando Calixte in for Hundley and then moved Pablo Sandoval over to first in the next inning, with Calixte at third. He didn’t second-guess that decision.

“He was out pretty easily,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if a little more speed would have helped out.”

--- In the bottom of the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson singled. He was promptly caught stealing second with the heart of the order coming up. Again, a decision that went the visiting team’s way. 

Those moments could be defended or second-guessed. On another night, maybe they all work out and the Giants win 3-2, or 6-4. On this night, it was simply a familiar script, and loss No. 77.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Just when it seemed the Giants were starting to find some continuity in their bullpen, they have taken a couple of steps back. 

Two days after Hunter Strickland imploded late, Albert Suarez gave up the lead. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers in a game that dragged. The Brewers did open the window a bit in the bottom of the eighth and Denard Span bounced a single to right with two outs and two on. Phil Nevin waved Nick Hundley all the way around third and Hundley was thrown out by 10 feet to end the inning. 

Anyway, here are five other things to know … 

—- Just one of Jeff Samardzija’s six innings went 1-2-3, and Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen after just 89 pitches. Samardzija was charged with two runs, one of them earned. It was a little odd that he came out so early. 

—- Suarez entered in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up two runs before being lifted. He has allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. 

—- Brandon Crawford momentarily gave the Giants the lead with a two-run homer, his 11th. He is definitely starting to hit his stride. Crawford has four extra base hits and six RBI on the homestand. 

—- Why is it so hard for the Giants to sign power bats? Well, just ask Eric Thames. He hit a 433-foot blast to lead off the third but ended up with just a triple when it bounced off the top of the bricks in right-center. Per Statcast data, Thames is the first player in the last three years to hit a ball more than 430 feet and not get a homer. He was stranded at third. 

—- Over in Sacramento, a couple of rehab appearances went as planned. Johnny Cueto threw three scoreless innings for the River Cats; he will make at least one more minor league start. Joe Panik was 0-for-2 in five innings; he will join the San Jose Giants on Wednesday for another rehab game.