EXTRAS: Sandoval does not fear contact, etc.

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EXTRAS: Sandoval does not fear contact, etc.

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval took exception to John McDonald's non-slide into third base in the eighth inning of Wednesday's loss to Arizona, offering words and a threatening physical approach after his hard tag sent McDonald sprawling -- and out -- to the ground.The benches quickly cleared, although nothing more than words were exchanged, and if it sounds familiar, it's because this isn't the first time Sandoval has raised the emotional investment in a game started by Madison Bumgarner.Just as he said when he bowled over Houston Astros catcher Chris Snyder to score in a 5-1 Giants win back on July 13, "It's part of the game," Sandoval said Tuesday. But the July collision at home plate is part of the game. A benches-clearing scrum after a forceout at third base is not."Pablo felt like he elbowed him in the chest," Bochy clarified. "Tempers flare." Bochy seemed to hit it on the head with that second comment. Sandoval, who was retired on a 1-6-3 putout off the pitcher's glove in the Giants' seventh-inning rally, saw a chance to make his presence felt by the D'backs in another way, and he took it.Sandoval finished the game 0-for-4 after going 7-for-15 with four RBIs in his previous four games, but his strong emotions didn't carry over into the clubhouse, where he met the media unflustered."Moments like this happen," Sandoval said. "You don't think about it. It's part of the game"Although Sandoval claims he was under control at the time, it took his childhood friend from Venezuela Gerardo Parra, who was the most vocal in his attempt to quell Sandoval's emotions, to ease the big third baseman. The bear-hug from third base umpire Greg Gibson didn't hurt either."I was calm," Sandoval said. "I'm not that kind of guy. I don't like fights."Like them or not, it's clear the 240-pound Sandoval won't shy away from contact, and it's clear his team has his back."I was in the clubhouse," Bumgarner said. "Or I would have been out there. I don't know what his intentions were, but yeah."And by the way he said it, you knew he would have been the first one on the field barking.--Madison Bumgarner allowed four earned runs over six and one-third innings and lowered the ERA of the starting rotation since Aug. 28 from 7.88 to 7.51."As a group," Bochy said. "We're not throwing as well."And while he felt Bumgarner's outing was The Giants have been fortunate that their lapse in pitching has coincided with a torrent of offense. But it will be difficult, as Tuesday's starter Trevor Cahill showed, to maintain an offensive output that is nearly two whole runs higher than their 4.39 average runs per game.The Giants starting pitchers, who owned the fifth-best staff ERA in the majors at 3.60 just a week ago, feed off each other. What the Giants need more than anything is a deep and dominant outing -- a vintage outing -- from Tim Lincecum against the Dodgers on Friday.--While the players downplayed the importance of the upcoming three-game home series with Los Angeles, they know it's pivotal. Twenty six games remain for the Giants, and six of those games are against the Dodgers. If the Giants let the Dodgers hang around, it could all come down to the final series of the year -- a three-game set between the Giants and Dodgers in Chavez Ravine.The Dodgers, who lost 4-3 to the Padres and Carlos Quentin's sacrifice fly, remain four and one-half games behind the Giants in the NL West. RELATED: MLB standings"It's a big series," Bochy acknowledged. "Every game is important. It's going to be intense out there. That's why you play the game. That's what you look forward to."
--The Giants didn't do the things a baseball team needs to do to win Tuesday; they were hurt offensively by double plays, and defensively by two-out hits. Five of the Diamondbacks' six runs were knocked in with two outs."Two out hits killed us," Bochy acknowledged.It started with Miguel Montero's two-out single in the first inning that plated the first run of the game. It continued in the fourth when John McDonald's single scored Chris Johnson for the second run of the game. And it didn't stop in the seventh, when Paul Goldschmidt, Montero and Chris Johnson strung three hits together to score another three, all with two outs.On the other side of the ball, the Giants grounded into double plays to end their only run-scoring rally in the seventh, and a potential rally in the eighth.It was a late-inning trend in the losing series to Arizona. In Tuesday's extra-innings loss, the Giants grounded into another two double plays, including Hector Sanchez's 4-6-3, that abruptly ended the eighth inning while the bases were loaded.--The Giants called on their bullpen 21 times over the three-game series with the Diamondbacks. Their day off Thursday will be well-used."Hopefully we get a little bit deeper in the game with our starters," Bochy said. "Get back to getting these quality starts and make it easier on the bullpen.
"We did use a lot of them. There's some tired guys down there.
"I guess you have to look at the silver lining. Some of them are getting some experience out there, getting in a groove. It's not that you want to see 'em out there as much as we've been using them, but they'll benefit from this down the stretch."
As long as the starting rotation recaptures some semblance of its dominant form and keeps the bullpen from burning out, Bochy's silver lining could be dead on.

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Wednesday. Here's what they and their peers are saying.

https://twitter.com/baseballhall/status/821855144681897988


Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame becomes yesterday’s news Friday, as it always does. Three months of buildup, one day to announce the names, one day to castigate the voters for their willfully negligent slights, and then nine months of hibernation.

So much for the concept of “joining the immortals.”

But at least Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez never have to go through this annual pageant of nonsense again.

Barry Bonds does, though, and so does Roger Clemens, and to a lesser extent, so does Curt Schilling. They are the new litmus strips for the Hall, and they will more than replace Raines (voter ignorance division) and Bagwell (presumption of guilt with evidence division) for self-involved debate.

And in that adjusted role from doomed outsiders to serious candidates, Bonds and Clemens – and to a lesser extent again, Schilling – have become invaluable to the Hall, and their eventual election and induction will reduce the Hall’s ability to inflame passions outside the seamhead community.

On a day when Bagwell and Raines finally cleared the 75 percent threshold and Bonds and Clemens moved from 45 percent to 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively, the Hall of Fame Debating And Chowder Society saw the end times for its power as a multi-month debate-churner.

The blatherers are dead, long live the blatherers.

An entire mini-industry of Hall watchers has been spawned, in part by the now-feted Ryan Thibodaux and his exit polling but also by the debates about what the Hall should be and who should get to decide it. It has made days like Wednesday event viewing when it hadn’t been for years. For that, the Hall owes Bonds and Clemens a debt that the powers inside Major League Baseball wishes it didn’t have to pay. But the day they are inducted is the day that PEDs die as a debating point. The answer will have been provided, and there will be no more need for discussion.

Worse yet, the BBWAA’S new voter transparency rules may unfortunately impact our pal Thibodaux, whose seminal work in this understudied area of social science undermined ballot secrecy. In short, if everyone has to fess up, the desperate need to know early returns may dry up.

Oh, there will always be the day of post mortem-ization, as those who didn’t clear the threshold are subject to a few rounds of the popular parlor game, “Who Got Snubbed, And The Tedious And Half-Informed Reasons Why.”

For instance, the big debating point from today’s results will not be about Raines and Guerrero getting in, but what happened to the Bonds and Clemens votes. People have already postulated that a lot of the jump in their respective votes can be directly linked to Bud Selig’s election from the Veterans Committee. Voters who had previously ridden the Hall-as-temple argument suddenly lost their raison d’etre and realized that the PED problem was an industry matter rather than a greedy players’ matter.

In short, they saw Selig getting in as tacit approval that the PED issue was no longer a moral one in baseball but a cynical one, a way to blame labor for management’s culpability. That is an irony whose existence Selig will almost surely deny, but it’s there anyway, and it represents one more non-glacial change in a system that has been nearly immovable for most of its existence.

The next change, of course, may be removing the vote from the BBWAA and turning it over to a more malleable panel of “experts” who may not skew as young and values-neutral as the BBWAA of the future seems to be heading. That course may be hastened if/when Bonds and Clemens are elected, because halls of fame in their more traditional role have been more about rewarding friends and punishing enemies, and a large and shifting electorate makes that harder to accomplish.

The argument against such a course, though, is that the current system of three months of fevered public debate about the same old stuff works for the Hall’s sense of its importance. I mean, MLB Network and its fetish for shrill argument only has so much reach.

By Friday, though, all of this will revert to its typically inert state. Bonds, Clemens (ATALE Schilling), PEDs, morality, practicality, secrecy, old voter/young voter – all of it will fade back into insignificance.

And in a year or two or maybe three, Bonds and Clemens will wipe it all out by being included in the one club that we once knew would never tolerate their presence, and the Hall Of Fame’s Golden Age Of Shrieking Argument will end.

In a weird and largely unpleasant way, it will be missed.