Giants notes: Bumgarner draws a crowd in KC; Latest on Posey, Bochy

Giants notes: Bumgarner draws a crowd in KC; Latest on Posey, Bochy

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals do not expect big crowds for this midweek series against a National League team, even if that team is the one that knocked them out in 2014. Madison Bumgarner drew a crowd on Tuesday, though. 

Bumgarner was surrounded by 14 local reporters and cameramen just before batting practice, and he certainly enjoyed looking back at the biggest night of his career. 

"Obviously those are some of the best memories of my career," he said, smiling. "It's a pretty special place to come back to. I love the city, the field, playing those guys. I'm not good at ranking stuff, but if you force me to, I do think (Game 7) has got to be number one for me."

If you missed it, I wrote an oral history of the moment Bumgarner jogged out of the visiting bullpen here. He went out early Tuesday to do some stretching and running, but he stuck to left field, never crossing over to go see the spot where he sat for four innings. 

Bumgarner spent some time talking to Royals players after he did his work, and he'll see another familiar face this week. Whit Merrifield, a 28-year-old infielder, was called up by the Royals. He grew up in North Carolina, playing with and against Bumgarner, who did not remember any specific battles. Merrifield did; he told local reporters that Bumgarner hit him in the head with a pitch when they were 11 years old. 

"I did?" Bumgarner said. "Geez, I don't remember that. I'm sure it was an accident."

--- A couple other "we're back in KC" notes: Hunter Strickland is a bit curious to see what kind of reaction he gets if he pitches. Remember, Strickland had a heated moment with Sal Perez early in the series. He said the two spoke the next day and all was good. Also, Johnny Cueto is back two years after helping them get a title here. He spent a lot of time with Royals on Tuesday. 

--- Ned Yost was not in the mood for questions about the Giants or Bumgarner. "It's just another series," he said. 

--- Buster Posey will likely DH both games, Ron Wotus said. Posey is cleared to catch, however, and he said he feels good and did three or four days after getting hit. 

"I'm very grateful that I felt well as quickly as I did," Posey said. "Obviously, we've seen where something like that lasted longer for certain guys."

--- Here's the latest on Bruce Bochy, who underwent what is being described as a minor heart procedure in San Diego. And here's Ray Ratto with a big-picture look. This is the third heart-related scare for Bochy in three years. 

"We just want him to take care of himself, take his time, and make sure he's cleared," Posey said. "What we do (on the field) is secondary to other things in life."

--- Jeremy Affeldt will make his broadcast debut tonight. He's fired up about it, and he walked around the clubhouse Tuesday saying he now has authority to set the lineup. (He does not.)

 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eight, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants get swept by Mets at home

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets spent the first half of this week in Los Angeles, where they got swept by the Dodgers and outscored 36-11. Their beat writers publicly wrote an end to any thoughts of the postseason. The fan base renewed the calls for manager Terry Collins to be fired. 

That’s where they were. And then they flew to San Francisco. 

AT&T Park continues to be a place where others get healthy, and this weekend it was the Mets. The Giants lost 8-2 on Sunday, getting swept by a similarly disappointing team. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games. 

There’s not much more to be said about it, but I did anyway. Here are five things to know from the day a relief pitcher got an at-bat but it would have been far too cruel to text your friends … 

—- Matt Moore’s line: 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs, three walks, five strikeouts. Through 16 starts, he has a 6.04 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. He ranks last among qualified NL starters in ERA. Only Matt Cain (1.73) has a worse WHIP. Good times. 

—- Mets righty Rafael Montero entered with an 0-4 record and 6.49 ERA. He gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Good times. 

—- With runners on the corners and two outs in the third inning, Brandon Belt strolled to the plate. He leads the team in homers. Hunter Pence tried to steal second for some reason and he was caught, ending the inning and keeping Belt from batting in a two-run game. Good times. 

—- With two on and no outs in the sixth, the Giants sent the runners to make sure Buster Posey didn’t hit into a double play. Posey popped up softly to first and Joe Panik was doubled off of second. Good times. 

—- One last bit of bad news: Austin Slater was removed from the game with a tight right hip flexor.