Melky Cabrera surprised to hear Chipper's comments, etc.


Melky Cabrera surprised to hear Chipper's comments, etc.

Programming Note: Giants-Braves coverage begins this morning at 8:30 a.m. with Giants Pregame Live and baseball follows from Atlanta at 9 a.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

ATLANTA -- Melky Cabrera was surprised to hear Chipper Jones' critical comments following Wednesday night's game, saying he got along well with the Braves' franchise star when they were teammates in 2010.

RELATED: Chipper calls out Melky for taunting

Jones took offense at Cabrera's body language Wednesday, especially the pelvis-thrusting gesture that he and Gregor Blanco made after Blanco's three-run home run in the 11th inning of the Giants' 9-4 victory. It's a celebratory move that Cabrera and Blanco have done many times this season.

"It won't be forgotten," Jones said.

Cabrera told me he wasn't trying to show up the Braves. Giants manager Bruce Bochy echoed those sentiments.

"No, I don't think Melky means to ... show up another club," Bochy said. "If you know Melky, he's quiet and goes about his business. I think it's more having fun out there than trying to show 'em up."

Still, Bochy said he'd talk to Cabrera before the first pitch of today's game. It also might be a good idea for Bochy to mention the situation to umpires, ensuring they are up to speed in case right-hander Tim Hudson decides to buzz Cabrera. The Giants' worst-case scenario would be if Hudson gets plunked, warnings are issued, and then Madison Bumgarner either tries to even the score or simply misses with a pitch inside and gets tossed as a result.

Bochy said Cabrera has told him he enjoyed his time in Atlanta under Bobby Cox. That's not the story that others have told, though. Whether bad feelings exist or not, the perception is that they do.

In other pregame news, Bochy evaded a question about what he'd do in a save situation. He did talk to Santiago Casilla after the right-hander blew his fifth save attempt in his last eight opportunities. Casilla got cheddar-happy as Freddie Freeman hit a two-out double and Brian McCann hit a tying home run in the 10th.

"He said he felt great out there," Bochy said. "He's just got to slow it down out there a little bit and get back to pitching."

That means throwing that wicked spike curve of his more often, especially with two strikes.

Translation: Bochy still believes Casilla can get the job done over the second half, even if he might need to take a step back in the short term.

Finally, Buster Posey is in the lineup because he caught just six innings Tuesday night and then caught eight relatively smooth innings Wednesday before a 1-1 game went haywire. Bochy said if he hadn't pinch-ran for Posey in the ninth inning, a move he was able to make because of Eli Whiteside's presence, then Posey probably isn't available to catch for him in Thursday's series finale. So Whiteside's presence definitely helped in more ways than one in this series.

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


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


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.