Giants

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.

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

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USATSI

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

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USATSI

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.