Throughout the last homestand, it seemed like every game would meander along at a pace between “glacial” and “Prius driver in Portland” and I’d look at that giant clock in centerfield. The time would be somewhere around 10 pm, and the game wouldn’t be anywhere near over. Granted, Bruce Bochy tied a Major League record for using as many pitchers as innings played on Tuesday night (11), in a game that took four hours and 19 minutes.
Wednesday night’s series-clincher in Coors went for three and a half hours. Or, just long enough for this:
Except at this point I wonder if the Dodgers are even watching Giants games. I like imagining that the Dodgers have deemed themselves to be, as the kids say, “over it,” and spend their time in the clubhouse watching old Wings episodes. As opposed to new Wings episodes, which are terrible. Just kidding, they aren’t remaking Wings. Yet.
That isn’t a bad idea, actually.
/ Writes Wings pilot as a vehicle for Ashton Kutcher and James Van Der Beek.
// Sends screenplay to every network besides TLC, gets rejected.
Oh well, it was worth a shot since there’s no money like Hollywood money. Then again, Hollywood money doesn’t guarantee Major League wins.
Bochy seems to be going through first auditions with the entire bullpen to gauge what he’ll do during the postseason. That’s what teams do when they build 7-game leads and the team behind them in the standings plays like they’d rather spend September continually passing mono to one another. They start thinking about a future that looks inevitable.
The Magic Number is 13.
So Bochy, with a day off tomorrow and nothing at all settled in terms of the relievers’ roles besides “Sergio Romo or/and Javier Lopez are pitching the 9th,” we’re going to see every bullpen permutation possible. Sure, he made too many pitching changes. But each of the pitchers he used (George Kontos, Jose Mijares, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Guillermo Mota, Lopez, Romo) are the guys who’ll be considered for postseason roles. Maybe you want to throw Clay Hensley into the mix. You wouldn’t get any agreement from me.
The pitching staff is the concern, mostly because besides Pablo Sandoval’s slump the hitting has been superb on the road. Each of the Giants’ starting position players picked up at least one hit, which made up for nobody taking a walk. The RISP doldrums haven’t held the Giants back for quite some time, especially on Wednesday night when they went 6-for-13.
Also, Bochy’s ability to manage a bullpen is exactly why he got so much credit for the Giants’ first World Championship in San Francisco.
– Marco Scutaro will be 37 by the end of October, and I’m always against investing in veterans on a contract year … but Scutaro doesn’t seem like he’s cut from the same corndog as Juan Uribe, or prone to hard living and verbal pilates like Aubrey Huff. If the Giants want to throw a little 2-year overpayment Scutaro’s way I wouldn’t complain. His effect on the lineup, both tangible and influential, is something this team seems to have needed for eons.
– Gregor Blanco got his first start since Xavier Nady was called up during that 11-inning loss to the D-Backs. While Blanco went 0-for-3, he hit deep fly balls to the outfield twice, including a ball to the leftfield warning track. The results weren’t there, but Blanco’s bat was coming to life. Four days later, Blanco got his next start, and he went 2-for-3 against the Dodgers with another deep fly ball to the leftfield wall (this time the ball wasn’t caught, and Blanco got a double). That was the first game of a 5-game hitting streak for Blanco, who is quickly playing his way into the Giants’ future plans (nice catch on Wednesday, too). It’s not like they have a lot of other options, besides surrounding Angel Pagan with awkward corner outfielders.
– Speaking of Pagan, not sure why he pinch-hit and played centerfield on his day off. Part of me wonders if Pagan talks incessantly and Bochy couldn’t take it anymore.
– MVPosey Watch: 2-for-5 with a double, and he played the entire game at first base. Bochy wasn’t taking any chances at Coors on Wednesday night.
– Tim Lincecum has found a way to manage whatever it is that’s gone on with him this season. With this offense, strikeout-heavy quality starts work just fine. That he’s been able to go from “worst pitcher in the NL who’s still guaranteed a rotation spot” to a slightly above average hurler is a good sign. It means a transition back to the old super Freak isn’t impossible, just highly improbable.
– The Giants get a nice day off, which will probably be spent monitoring the vital signs of Aubrey Huff after a raucous plane flight to Phoenix (kidding!). The Dodgers head back home for a 4-game series against the Cardinals, currently the No. 2 Wild Card team and probably the team that the Dodgers have turned their attentions to by this point. The Cardinals are right there — the Giants are several lengths ahead.