Cardinals consider Holliday's slide hard, not dirty


Cardinals consider Holliday's slide hard, not dirty


SAN FRANCISCO Its not the Giants vs. the Dodgers, butthis National League Championship matchup includes a history of bad bloodbetween the two teams.Just ask Will Clark, Jose Oquendo and Ozzie Smith. The youngsters can Googlethat threesome for an important history lesson.In Game 2 between the Giants and Cardinals Monday at AT&T Park, MattHolliday took a figurative baton from the recently vanquished Mat Latos tobecome Public Enemy No. 1 in San Francisco. After singling with a man on and one out in the first inning, Holliday hustledfrom first to second to break up a potential double play. Instead of slidingwell in advance of the bag, Holliday hit the ground late and collided withGiants second baseman Marco Scutaro as he tried to complete the relay throw tofirst.In hindsight I wish I had started my slide a step earlier,but you know its happening fast, Holliday said after the Giants beat hisCardinals 7-1 to even up the best-of-seven series.Scutaro was wincing as he detangled himself from Hollidayand immediately received attention from his teammates, head trainer DaveGroeschner and manager Bruce Bochy. After taking some time to walk around theedge of the outfield grass, Scutaro stayed in the game and exacted some revengewith a single in the bottom half of the first. But that was nothing compared to the bullet he sent inHollidays direction that broke the game wide open.After the Giants took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, they loaded the baseswith two outs and Scutaro at the dish. The 36-year-old midseason acquisitionthat compiled a whopping 88 hits in 61 games as a Giant drove ChrisCarpenters 1-1 sinker into left-centerfield. A clean single that shouldve ledto just two runs ended up clearing the bases when Holliday couldnt comeup with the ball cleanly. Scutaro made matters worse for Holliday when he movedup to second base on the error.Holiday was curt in his explanation of the mistake: Yeah, Ijust missed it.He also acted like he expected Scutaro to come through in the clutch.It doesnt surprise me at all. Hes a great player. Heshad an unbelievable second half and has come up with huge hits for them.Scutaro was replaced by Ryan Theriot to open the sixthinning with what the Giants announced as a left hip injury and was sent for X-rays,leaving Holliday to answer more questions about the play in question.I hope hes OK, Holliday said. I know him. Hes a goodguy and I wasnt obviously trying to do anything other than keep us out of adouble play Every run in the postseason is huge. The only regret I have is Ishould have started my slide a step earlier so that I wouldnt have ended up ontop of him.A remorseful Holliday said he asked Scutaro if he was OK in the immediateaftermath of the collision. He also said he spoke with Giants catcher BusterPosey at home plate before his next at-bat.I just told him to tell Marco that I wish I had started myslide a step earlier and that I wish he was OK, Holliday said. I just wantedhim to know that I wasnt trying to hurt him He told me hed tell him.Hollidays questionable slide was a major talking point inthe Giants clubhouse, but his Cardinals teammates were quick to defend theirstar outfielder.You have to give Matt the benefit of the doubt because hesnot a dirty player, said Lance Berkman, who also acknowledged that his locker neighbor in the visitor's clubhouse was late to slide. He plays hard, but I think hes well respected in the game and Ithink the other side knows that. Said third baseman David Freese: I did not see it and I have yet to see it.Holliday plays hard and thats all I can say.St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso offered his perspective as a fellowmiddle-infielder that has been involved in similar situations:As a second baseman, Ive been hit hard many times and itjust comes with the territory. You dont like getting hit. Its not fun to gethit. But if you hang in there on double plays, sometimes youre going to getwhacked. Its just part of the game.Descalso added that he was impressed with Scutaros ability to complete therelay throw, even if it didnt get to Brandon Belt at first in time.A good second baseman is going to hang in there, likeScutaro did. And he did a great job of hanging onto the ball and making a goodthrow to first base. A lot of guys would throw the ball in the dirt and maybe arun scores, which is why you go in hard at second base, especially with a guyon second. If he throws it away, thats a run for us.The idea that a run may have scored if Holliday forced Scutaro to make anerrant throw is what the Cardinals are leaning on to consider the slide a hardbaseball play, not a dirty one.Im not a dirty player, Holliday said. I wish I had startedmy slide a hair earlier, a step earlier, but when youre out there in the heatof the moment, youre trying to make sure he doesnt complete the double play.I play hard and was trying to take a double play. Thats really all it comesdown to. People can say what they want. I hope hes OK.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny stuck to the hard not dirty script.As I watched it live it looked like it was a hard slide. Itdidnt go out of the baseline to get him. We teach our guys to go hard. Playthe game clean, play it hard, not try and hurt anybody. And I hated to see thatit ended up that way. Thats not how we play the game. But we do go hard, butwithin the rules.The unwritten rules of baseball suggest Holliday could be in for a pitch aimed forhis head at some point over the next three games in St. Louis. If they take exception to it we really cant say anything because it was pastthe bag, even though I dont think he had any intention of hurting Scutaro,Berkman said.Cardinals centerfielder Jon Jay said the team isntconcerned with potential retaliation.Im not worried about that. Were just worried about going out there andplaying hard.For Holliday and the Cardinals, the bigger concern is a brand new best-of-fiveseries and a date with Matt Cain in Game 3.Hes a great pitcher; I expect a battle, said Holliday,who is 8-for-40 with three home runs in his career against Cain. Were goingto have to work hard to try and get runners in, just like we do with the restof their staff. They have good pitching, thats why theyre here, and that willbe a challenge for us.

Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion


Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion

SAN FRANCISCO -- At this point, the Giants have gotten used to some of the realities of this season. They have been a last-place team for months, and when they were officially eliminated from the National League West on Sunday the response was basically a "long time coming" shrug. 

But some parts of this season still stun team officials, and the continued injuries are at the top of the list. It's not just that players are getting hurt ... it's that key guys are getting hurt at every single level of the organization. The latest to go down is Heliot Ramos, this year's first-round pick. Per general manager Bobby Evans, Ramos suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday night. 

Ramos was tearing up the Arizona League, hitting .348 with a .404 on-base percentage, six homers, six triples and 11 doubles. The 48 strikeouts in 138 at-bats are a bit of an early concern, but the Giants are not stressing too much over a 17-year-old with a 1.049 OPS in his first professional season. Ramos is expected to miss 7-10 days, which is disappointing because the Giants were hopeful he would get a big taste of postseason action, even if it is just in the rookie league in Arizona. 

The injury continues a stunning trend. Chris Shaw and Bryan Reynolds are the only prospects out of the organization's top seven -- per MLB Pipeline -- who have avoided an injury setback. There is some good news, however, for a couple of those players who have gotten hurt. Austin Slater is 10-14 days from starting a rehab assignment, although he would probably need the San Jose Giants to make their postseason to see significant game action.

Steven Duggar was promoted from San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and had a good first night. He's unlikely to be a September call-up because of the injuries, and he's also in the same situation as Shaw and Andrew Suarez as a player who doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. 

--- As for the injured big leaguers: Johnny Cueto (elbow) is scheduled to throw three innings for Sacramento tonight and Joe Panik (concussion) will play five innings. Cueto will make at least one more rehab start. Panik will join San Jose on Wednesday and could return to the big league lineup on the next road trip. 

--- Bochy said Mark Melancon feels good after going back-to-back days. It doesn't sound like he'll return to the ninth inning anytime soon. It's easier to monitor Melancon's pronator strain when he's not the closer and Bochy said the two have talked about that situation. For instance, Matt Cain stayed warm after pitching the seventh on Monday. If Melancon had felt something while warming up for the eighth, Cain would have gone back out there.

Giants lineup: Pablo Sandoval starting night after getting hit on arm

Giants lineup: Pablo Sandoval starting night after getting hit on arm

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Brewers-Giants coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

Bruce Bochy said after Monday's game that he expected Pablo Sandoval to start Tuesday despite getting hit. And he was right.

Milwaukee Brewers:
1. Eric Thames (L) 1B
2. Neil Walker (S) 2B
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 3B
5. Domingo Santana (R) RF
6. Manny Pina (R) C
7. Eric Sogard (L) SS
8. Keon Broxton (R) CF
9. Jimmy Nelson (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Hunter Pence (R) RF
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P