SAN FRANCISCO Buster Posey wanted to catch Tim Lincecum onWednesday, and Bruce Bochy knew it.
The Giants manager usually makes sure to explain his lineupdecisions to players in advance, and so he brought Posey into his office afterTuesday nights game.
I told him the plan, Bochy said. He wants to catch. Healso knows it makes sense (to go easy) with a day game after a night game. Ijust want to make sure he knows why, because he does a great job for us andwith this staff, going back to when we brought him up in 2010. Hes a specialtalent. Hell be back there.
Did Bochy think that Lincecum and Posey were having anyissues working together?
I dont, but I do think its fair to say that theres timesa pitchercatcher relationship can get off being on the same page, Bochy toldme. For no particular reason, you can get in a rut. Its something that getsresolved with time.
With Buster, though, you wont have any more confidence ina guy being able to handle the staff. Just look at the ERAs of pitchers whenhes out there. This is more of a Lets break it up kind of a thing.
Bochy shared those thoughts with me before Hector Sanchezcaught seven shutout innings from Lincecum, who emphatically broke his 10-startwinless streak. It was the second consecutive time Sanchez worked with thetwo-time Cy Young Award winner.
RECAP: Giants shut out, sweep Dodgers
All of a sudden, Lincecum has a streak of 12 consecutivescoreless innings.
So Bochy will have a tough decision to make when Lincecummakes his next start Tuesday at Washington. The Giants will be coming off atravel day. There wont be any reason to rest Posey.
This looms as a very interesting and sensitive issue, ifsomething less than a full-blown controversy. Even with Matt Cains perfectgame and Melky Cabreras All-Star first half and Pablo Sandovals constantenergy, no two Giants have a national profile to match that of Lincecum andPosey.
Now Lincecum is finally having success -- and its withSanchez behind the dish. In some markets, on some teams, with some pricklier ormore prideful personalities, this could be a very big deal.
Instead, here is what Posey said after Lincecums brilliantouting in their 3-0 victory over the Dodgers:
Give Sanchez a lot of credit. I think he got beat up todayand he hung in there and did a great job.
I asked Posey: Was it important for Bochy to take him asideand explain the plan?
Oh, I think its nice to just have that heads up so I knowIm playing first base, just from a mindset standpoint, he said. And theysure have worked well together the last couple times, havent they?
But Posey said he didnt get the message that Lincecum wouldbe working with Sanchez from now on.
Not at all, Posey said. As of now, I look forward tocatching him the next time. But well see.
What is Bochy saying? Will Sanchez, who already has becomeBarry Zitos regular batterymate, catch Lincecum the next time
Could be, Bochy said. I could put Buster at first base. But I dont want toget caught in whos going to catch who now. Sure, its been two good games.Thats why I did it the last game, to break it up.
Weve got one of the best in the game in Buster. Hes ourcatcher and hell be doing the lions share of the catching.
Lincecums take? It didnt seem to matter who was catching him.His battles were more internal.
Ive just been trying to eliminate any kind of doubt I had,even leading up to whether it would be Sanchez catching or not, he said. Iwas just trying to eliminate negatives and get back to throwing strikes andjust compete out there.
No doubt, Lincecum was energized by that foul pop thatSanchez caught with an incredible, body-thudding grab in the fourth inning.Sanchez got the wind knocked out of him and was dizzy for a bit, but was fineand finished the game. He got whacked on the side of the helmet by a foul ballon Monday, too.
BAGGARLY: Lincecum says 'Enough is enough'
He did an outstanding job back there, Lincecum said. Iknow I threw a lot of balls in the dirt to beat the crap out of him, but hestill stuck with it and stuck with me.
There isnt any talk of moving Posey out from behind theplate for good. But theyve got a talented, 22-year-old switch-hitter anddefender in Sanchez. So its only natural that Poseys position will remain atopic for discussion.
Brandon Crawford was in a 1-for-14 slump that knocked hisOPS down to .584, with some hard outs and line drives mixed in there. Hedecided something needed to change.
So he and Emmanuel Burriss huddled together to choose somenew walk-up music. He wanted something poppy and upbeat. Crawford was thinkingabout Call Me Maybe, but friends dont let friends make decisions like that.
Its never a bad idea to listen to your wife, though. Sowhen Jalynne Crawford suggested Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, thats what wentinto the rotation.
Wouldn't you know it? Her husband got three hits, including a triple. He even hadthe good mojo of getting an infield hit after a ground ball had originally beencalled an error. The official scorer reviewed the play and changed the call.
So Crawford is stuck with Kelly Clarkson now.
Worked so far, he said. Gotta keep it going.
As the Sacramento Bee pointed out, the only Dodger to reachthird base in the entire three-game series was pitcher Chad Billingsley.
Here's a list of the other six times in Giants franchise history that they threw three consecutive shutouts:
July 5-8, 1988: Terry Mulholland and Rick Reuschel beat the Cubs, then Mike LaCoss shut out the Cardinals at Candlestick Park.
May 11-13, 1960: Sam Jones and Jack Sanford shut out the Phillies, then Mike McCormick outdueled the Dodgers' Don Drysdale.
April 24-25, 1954: Marv Grissom beat Robin Roberts, then Sal Maglie and Johnny Antonetti did the rest in a doubleheader sweep.
July 27-29, 1948: Raise your hands if you've heard of Giants pitchers Larry Jansen, Clint Hartung or Dave Koslo. They yielded nothing to a Reds team in a series that included opposing pitchers Johnny Vander Meer (yes, that one), Herm Wehmeier and Ken Roffensberger. That is one Teutonic rotation right there.
April 19 to May 2, 1919: This was the least likely string of three shutouts in franchise history because it came at Philadelphia's old Baker Bowl, which makes Coors Field look like Petco. The scores were 6-0, 15-0 and 6-0.
The Giants have never thrown four consecutive shutouts. Not since 1919, at least. No pressure, Madison Bumgarner.
Not only did the Dodgers fail to score a run in a three-gameseries against their archrivals for the first time in history, let slip solepossession of first place for the first time since April 10 and lose AndreEthier to an oblique ailment in the first inning, but
Their equipment truck broke down on 101 while en route toSFO.