EXTRA BAGGS: Giants' relief committee slices and dices, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Giants' relief committee slices and dices, etc.

CHICAGO Its hard to feel confident in acloser-by-committee approach whenever a team tries to employ it down thepennant stretch. But so far, Giants relievers mostly are missing their thumbswhen they slam their gavels.

Even though the road is always more stressful for thebullpen, the Giants recorded saves in each of their victories while going 5-1 ontheir road trip to Minute Maid Park and Wrigley Field.

Bruce Bochy matched em up and right-hander Sergio Romo gotthe save three times. Left-hander Javier Lopez earned two, both with double-playgrounders including one to bring an end to affairs in Sunday afternoons 7-5victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Bochy knew hed have to put on his salesmans hat when hemet with the relievers Aug. 6 in St. Louis, and informed them that they wouldform a closer by committee for the remainder of the season.

As any door-to-door vacuum peddler could tell you, nothingsells like seeing the product in action.

Given the committee's success, does Bochy believe the relievers are buying into it now?

Yeah, I do, the manager said. Theyre fine with it. Itsabout trying to win ballgames. Theyre all in on that and they put their egosaside and what a job they did (Sunday).

Its so important that they buy into doing whatever theycan to win a ballgame, and not get caught up in whos getting the save or holdor whatever.

The Giants are 66-2 when they lead after eight innings, and7-5 when theyre tied after eight. So the bullpen remains more an asset than aliability, for sure.

BAGGARLY: Giants are loose, confident as they hit stretch drive

Lopez wasnt ready to compose an aria to the committeeapproach yet, though.

Its working out pretty well so far, said Lopez, who hasntbeen charged with a run in 23 consecutive appearances. Obviously, the resultshave been there. Its nice to have (Sergio) Romo to fall back on and (Santiago)Casilla already proven he can get righties or lefties out. I think all thepieces are in place.

Its the way well go into this month and hopefully thepostseason. Its what we have to get used to regardless of any personal opinionwe may have.

Bochy made a good point about Matt Cain, who was pulledafter five innings and 91 pitches: The lightened load should benefit him.

Cain threw 118 pitches in his previous start at Houston andhad been over 100 twice before that, too.

One more item worth pointing out: Because the Giants get abreak on Thursday, Cain will have an extra day of rest before his next start.And Cain has been much less hittable when given an extra day of rest thisseason.

In 14 starts on regular rest, he has a 3.28 ERA and a .258opponents average (92 hits in 93 13 innings).

In 10 starts on one extra day of rest, he has a 2.45 ERA anda .180 opponents average (46 hits in 73 13 innings).

One more fact to mention: Cains next start will comeSaturday against the Dodgers.

Itll be another new experience for Xavier Nady when hemakes his home debut as a Giant on Monday. The Salinas native and Cal alum isalready getting blitzed for tickets from family and friends.

Nady will have a new number, clubhouse manager Mike Murphypromised. The only Giant ever to wear No. 68, Nady will switch to No. 12 lastworn by Danvilles Nate Schierholtz, another player who grew up going to Giantsgames.

Nady wore his pulling guards number very well over twogames. First came the three-run double in Saturdays debut. Then he doubled andwalked twice to start all three of the Giants scoring rallies in Sundayscome-from-behind victory.

Yet when asked if he should think about hanging on to No. 68,the ballplayer good-naturedly lectured the media about being superstitious.

Hopefully its not the jersey that affects you, Nady said.

The Giants are set to renew their player development contract with Triple-A Fresno, according to David Taub of Fresno-based Taub Sports.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."