Bochy talks to NL All-Star skipper La Russa


Bochy talks to NL All-Star skipper La Russa

PITTSBURGH -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoke by phone with NL All-Star skipper Tony La Russa, but they didn't spend most of the conversation talking about Matt Cain's case to start or Buster Posey's ability to catch the knuckleball.

La Russa wanted to know about Melky Cabrera.

"We spent a lot of time on the outfield situation," Bochy said.

La Russa lacks an everyday center fielder in his starting lineup of Cabrera, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Braun. Cabrera has played center in the past, as has Beltran. La Russa wanted to get a feel for which player would be more comfortable in that spot.

It's likely that the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, a starting center fielder, would enter the game before long.

As for choosing a starting pitcher, La Russa told Bochy that it remains a topic of conversation. with former Cardlinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

"He did say they're still debating, he and Duncan," Bochy said.

With Yadier Molina out of the game, it's likely that Buster Posey could end up working with Cain, New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and perhaps someone like the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg.

In other pregame news, Bochy said Santiago Casilla's status was the same as Friday. He is technically available but Bochy would prefer to stay away from him because of a blister on his pitching hand.

Sergio Romo, despite pitching 2 13 innings over the last two games, is available to pitch and likely would serve as closer again, subject to matchups.

Bochy indicated he's leaning toward having Hector Sanchez work with Tim Lincecum for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday. That's a move dictated by the weather, more than anything. It's 97 degrees and smoking outside; the coaches hustled the players off the field after a very abbreviated batting practice session.

Bochy didn't want to overtax Posey by having him catch consecutive games in these conditions, especially when he won't get much of an All-Star break. It's 101 degrees in Kansas City, too.

Dodgers hold largest winning percentage gap over Giants in rivalry history

Dodgers hold largest winning percentage gap over Giants in rivalry history

The Dodgers won an NL-best 50th game on Saturday night.

At the same time, the Giants lost an NL-worst 50th game.

At 50-26, the Dodgers have a .658 winning percentage, while the Giants own a 27-50 record and a .351 winning percentage.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the .307 differential in winning percentage is the largest gap the Dodgers have ever held over the Giants through a minimum of 70 games.

In fact, it's the first time ever that the Dodgers have had a winning percentage differential of at least .300 over the Giants.

The two franchises go all the way back to 1890 when they got their start in New York. That's 127 years of history.

While it's a first for the Dodgers, the Giants have had a .300 winning percent differential over the Dodgers four times in history, but it's been a while. According to Elias, it happened in 1904, 1905, 1908 and 1912.

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”