Giants

Daily 5 -- Do closers belong in the H.O.F.?

540044.jpg

Daily 5 -- Do closers belong in the H.O.F.?

Have you caught your breath after the "Moneyball" premiere in Oakland on Monday night? Good. We now return to real baseball, with our daily dose of MLB-related questions that give you an opportunity to weigh in on the most significant on-the-field issues of the day. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or your genius goes wasted.

1) Mariano Rivera is the new all-time saves leader. First-ballot Hall of Famer?In a word, YES. The closer role has changed over the years, and that's why the Cooperstown question exists, but this man is by far the best of his generation at his position. Ergo, he's in.

2) If we're allowing closers into the Hall, shouldn't we drop the aversion to designated hitters?Again, YES. It's a position; it's right there in the AL box score: "DH." You can't deny that. Nor can whatever your thoughts are on the position prevent the best at it to be recognized in the game's history.3) How many years, and how much money, would represent your ceiling for bringing back Carlos Beltran to the Giants?It's almost certainly going to take three years, so lock that in. But at what cost? Any more than 15 million per year seems a reach for a 34-year-old.4) Is A's catcher Kurt Suzuki having a down year, or is this who he really is?Remember, his rep when he came to the bigs was as a defensive whiz whose offensive upside was minimal. He changed that by swinging a hot bat the first couple years, but now it looks like the label was dead-on.5) Is the notion of power on the corners out-dated?There was a time when the conventional wisdom said your first and third basemen, and your left and right fielders, needed to bring the bang. That was before shortstop and catcher became "offensive" positions.Don't forget to leave your thoughts, folks. Let us know how you'd handle today's Daily 5. Reader with the best answers gets a month's supply of Dutch Crunch sandwich rolls.

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

mad-gorkys-us.jpg
USATSI

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

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. 

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

span-ap.jpg
AP

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P