SAN FRANCISCO The Detroit Tigers deserve to win a Bay Area baseball Mr. Congeniality award.When talking about what they expect from the AT&T Parkcrowd, many Tigers managed to compliment both Giants and As fans in theprocess.Hopefully that Oaklandseries prepared us for this, Austin Jackson said. Just watching the NLCS onTV it was loud, so I cant imagine how its going to be live.ALCS MVP Delmon Young compared the scene in Oakland during the Division Series to aninternational soccer match.If theyre anything like Oakland,its going to be a crazy series because that was the most intense scene Iveever seen. That was like playing in FIFA World Cup soccer. The only thing thatseparates them is a bridge so I think itll be crazy.The noise at AT&T Park during Games 6 and 7forced Fox announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to raise their voices duringthe game broadcast and the auxiliary press box in the third deck would shakeduring big moments. Tigers catcher Gerald Laird is expecting more of the same, or worse, in theWorld Series.We expect the worst. We see how the Bay Area is. Its loud. Oakland was great; it was a great atmosphere.We expect the same here in San Francisco.Laird said he was really impressed while watching the end of Game 7 by the fansthat embraced a strong rain like it was a hot shower.You can tell last night no one left and it was a downpourfor the last out. So we know how much they love their baseball here. But aftergoing through Oakland,we feel like we can play in any stadium because it was probably the loudestwed been in all year.The Giants helped their crowd get loud in Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS becausethey scored early in each game. Marco Scutaro, the NLCS MVP, was a big reasonwhy the fans had something to cheer about early, whether it was the age-oldLets go Giants! chants or the MVP! MVP! encouragement for Buster Poseywhen he came up with ducks on the pond. So how do the Tigers plan on keeping Scutaro, who hit .500 over 28 at-bats inthe NLCS, off base in front of Posey?Its tough; youve got to pitch to your pitchersstrengths, Laird said. We felt like the Cardinals made a lot of mistakes tohim and he didnt miss it. Thats what good hitters do. We have to executepitches to him, weve got to make him feel uncomfortable in the box and I feellike we have the right-handed pitching to do that.Game 1 starter Justin Verlander has been known to quiet opposing crowds withhis electric stuff, but even when he was cruising through the As lineup inGame 5 of the ALDS, the crowd in Oaklandwas relentless.The Giants and their fans will likely still be riding the high from a Game 7win, and the Tigers are well aware of that.Theyre definitely going to have some momentum going into this next game, Jackson said. I thinkits going to be a good matchup. I really think its going to be a tough battlefor both teams.
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.
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.