EXTRA BAGGS: The Misfits rise again, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: The Misfits rise again, etc.

Programming note: Tune in to Giants October Quest for complete wrap-around coverage of Game 2 today at 4pm leading up to the first pitch, and again right after the final out, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

SAN FRANCISCO Two years ago, the Giants won the WorldSeries with a bunch of outcasts and misfits.

But even in that social circle, there existed a subculture.Misfits among the misfits. Outcasts among the outcasts.

Barry Zito was left off all three postseason rosters, anemasculating experience for a former Cy Young Award winner reduced to a 126million knickknack. And Pablo Sandoval was banished to the bench, too out ofshape to be trusted to pick up a ground ball at third base.

RELATED: SanFrancisco Giants 2012 World Series page

Buster Posey thought back to that postseason. Into thatcontext, he inserted the events of Wednesday night, when Zito outpitched theimpregnable Justin Verlander and Sandoval thrust himself into baseball historywith three home runs.

It just goes to show you that this game this is a greatgame, Posey said, spreading a smile of admiration. If you work hard andpersevere, good things will happen. Those two guys never complained in 2010,not that I heard, anyway, and they have a love of the game. That counts for awhole lot.

The Giants have won 14 consecutive Barry Zito starts. Whoever thought youd hear club employees greet each other with Happy Zito Day!?

RELATED: Ratto -- Game 1 shows us now much we don't know about baseball
Tim Lincecum was dominant in relief. He faced seven battersand retired them all, five by strikeout. He acknowledged afterward that hesbeen in a better frame of mind as he jogs from the bullpen.

For me, its just getting mentally locked in, Lincecumsaid. When Im starting, I fall off. I start thinking about the wrong things.When Im in the bullpen, Im just out there, just thinking about getting outs.

Lincecum said he could back up Madison Bumgarner in Game 2after throwing 32 pitches. But manager Bruce Bochy said he planned to giveLincecum the day off.

Heres Lincecums aggregate stats as a reliever thispostseason: 10 23 innings, three hits, one run, one walk, 14 strikeouts.

You think the Detroit Tigers should be nervous after losinga Justin Verlander start in Game 1? Thats nothing. They should be absolutelyterrified if Buster Posey starts finding his swing after a dry postseason.

Posey had a very Poseyish RBI single to right field in theeighth inning.

Yeah, that was a better path, he told me. Ive been inand out of the zone a little bit too fast there. So that was nice. Hopefullythat was a good sign.

Hunter Pences current bat is named Nikko, according to thediligent reporting of Alex Pavlovic of Bay Area News Group. And his backup batis named Zeak.

Nikko and Zeak. That was a Disney movie, wasnt it?

From the looks of Pences swings at sliders in the otherbatters box lately, though, youd swear he named his bat Rowand.

Lincecum relieving Zito marked the first time a former CyYoung winner relieved another former Cy Young winner in a World Series gamesince 1983, when the Orioles Jim Palmer came in for Mike Flanagan. SteveCarlton started for the Phillies in that game, and he also was a Cy Youngwinner as was Justin Verlander for the Tigers on Wednesday.

Zito deserves the last word after his first World Seriesvictory in his first World Series appearance:

I battled in September to make the postseason roster.Thelast thing I would have expected at that point was to be starting Game 1.Justthe opportunity was just magical.To be able to go up against Verlanderand give our team a chance to go up 10, and the fact that we won, it's justkind of surreal.It's just a pleasure to be a part of it all.

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent


As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers


Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.