SAN FRANCISCO – Atlanta Braves left-hander Paul Maholm is holding left-handed hitters to four hits in 49 at-bats this season – numbers that Giants manager Bruce Bochy could only describe with one word:
So Bochy tried a not-so-stupid approach. He loaded Saturday’s lineup with as many right-handed hitters as he could spare – and that includes putting Buster Posey at first base.
It also meant giving Francisco Peguero a start in left field over Andres Torres, who had some wild swings a night earlier.
A little run support could go a long way for Madison Bumgarner, who is 19-5 with a 2.33 ERA over his last 29 starts at AT&T Park, going back to June of 2011. He is coming off a start in which he allowed five runs, though – the first time that’s happened to him at China Basin in nearly two years.
Three of those runs came after Marco Scutaro fumbled a ball at second base that originally was scored an error and was changed to a hit.
The Giants filed an appeal with the league to look at the play and change it back to an error, which would make three of Bumgarner’s runs unearned (and drop his season ERA from 2.31 to 1.73). They haven’t heard back yet – undoubtedly because the league has been a bit occupied with umpire suspensions, replay foibles and the like.
(The league seldom goes over the head of the official scorer, so those earned runs are probably Bumgarner's to keep. But it's always good for players to see that club officials are willing to back them in instances like these. Goodwill gesture and all.)
In other pregame news, Matt Cain said he’s OK one day after taking that hard comebacker off his right hip. Ryan Vogelsong worked intently with pitching coach Dave Righetti in a bullpen session, and they appeared to pay particular attention to grip and finger pressure.
And Santiago Casilla’s knee remains in a bit of a holding pattern, with Bochy acknowledging the right-hander probably wouldn’t be available any earlier than Tuesday in Toronto.