SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after his bullpen blew yet another lead, Bruce Bochy was able to dream a little bit. Mark Melancon will start a rehab assignment Sunday in Sacramento, and Bochy intends to have Melancon return as the closer after a few rehab innings. That will bump red-hot Sam Dyson to the eighth and Hunter Strickland down to the seventh.
"It's going to give us a better idea of where we're at as we go into the future," Bochy said.
The Giants intended to have a similar setup this season, but Will Smith had Tommy John surgery, Derek Law pitched his way back to Triple-A, and Melancon struggled and then got hurt. Bochy said it's important to see some sort of structure in the back of the bullpen, and the Giants are sketching out a future where it's better than it's been. Smith will return next year and should give them a reliable lefty in the bullpen, and there's another option developing.
Kyle Crick struck out two in the eighth inning of his first game at Dodger Stadium. He has a 1.88 ERA but he has only pitched in one game the Giants have won. Bochy said that will change.
"We're bumping him up each time," Bochy said. "I think he's handled it well and he's commanding his fastball. The thing I like about him is he's getting better with his slider and using his changeup."
The bullpen has given up leads for two straight years, but Bochy sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, that could change. Strickland is a trade chip, Dyson could revert to his earlier Texas form, Melancon's elbow could finally give out, Crick could lose his command. But Bochy is optimistic, and he's hoping that he soon has two months of games to test whether the Giants really are on the way to having this fixed.
--- I wrote yesterday that Tyler Beede's season is almost certainly over. Bochy confirmed the details, and added that the Giants haven't given up hope on Beede returning in late September. The Giants are also hoping to get Austin Slater and Christian Arroyo back over the final couple of weeks.
--- Nick Hundley was originally in today's lineup but he has a headache after taking a wicked foul tip yesterday. So Buster Posey is catching, with Jae-Gyun Hwang at first since Brandon Belt still has a sore wrist. If Hundley does have a concussion, Tim Federowicz is the likely pick. He's ahead of Trevor Brown on Sacramento's depth chart, although he's not on the 40-man roster.
--- Madison Bumgarner will start Sunday night to stay on turn. Matt Cain has been bumped to Monday in Oakland. It'll be a sneaky-big moment for Bumgarner. His reputation took a hit with the accident, but he'll get a chance to pitch in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Baseball.
--- For the weekend crowd, a podcast with top prospect Chris Shaw.