Giants

Roster advice for Brian Sabean

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Roster advice for Brian Sabean

How do you spell relief? Try S-A-B-E-A-N. Giants GM Brian Sabean knows a thing or two about fortifying a bullpen midseason -- see 2010, when he made the under-the-radar but critical additions of Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. And Im guessing that is once again at the forefront of Sabeans attention, as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.This year is different than the last two. The Giants arent desperate for a big bat to rescue an anemic offense. To be clear, theyre still far from a juggernaut (12th in NL in runs scored, last in home runs). But as we all as know, with that pitching staff, they dont have to be. And hey, their .261 batting average is tied for fourth in the league. More importantly, the lineup just feels more adequate than it has the last couple of seasons.Could it use more thump? Of course. But theyd likely settle for a reasonably-cheap, reasonably-productive, reasonably-right-handed bat. Im talking Chris Denorfia. Or Jonny Gomes. Not Carlos Beltran. That aint happenin this time aroundRELATED: Should Giants acquire a closer?
Adding the right piece to the 'pen, however, could be of critical importance for the stretch run. This team plays a whole lot of one-run games, and Bruce Bochy loves him some bullpen fun. He will channel his inner La Russa all summer long, and playing the matchups works a whole lot better when you have a stable of reliable options at your disposal.Let me be clear: I am not suggesting the Giants need a new closer. Not exactly. I think Santiago Casilla will be just fine. I know hes gone through a rough patch recently, but not many closers dont during the course of a long season. And while its easy to peruse the recent numbers and dwell on those four blown saves in six chances, lets not forget that in two of those games Casilla was pitching through blister problems, and in another he fanned the would-be final out -- only to have the batter reach base and the tying run score from second on a play you might never see again.That said, heres my advice to the man who doesnt need my advice: Hedge your bet. Go get a quality reliever who can close if need be, but wont cost anywhere near as much as a bona fide stopper. There are plenty of those guys out there -- Houstons Brandon Lyon, Minnesotas Jared Burton, Baltimores Luis Ayala, to name a few. All having really nice seasons, all with at least some closing experience. And none of whom will cost anything close to a top prospect.Is the bullpen the Giants biggest weakness? Clearly not. On the contrary, you could argue its their biggest strength. Doesnt mean its not a priority for the guy in charge of making a good team better. Like World Series better. Kinda like two years ago.

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

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Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

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Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.